The Tri-Cities

The tri-cities of Poland consist of Gdansk, Sopot, and Gdynia, and are three coastal cities backing onto the Baltic Sea. They are also cities that I would highly recommend any one visits if they come to Poland! The main purpose of this trip was to celebrate one of my beautiful friends, Adelaide, 18th birthday, so while we did see some of the sights, our objectives were much more birthday like. However, as there were only 4 of us we did manage to see quite a bit.

We stayed in a strange little hostel close to the river, a last minute option as our booking to another hostel hadn’t been made properly. All in all this hostel suited us quite well as we were able to walk along the river to get to the Old Town and nightlife areas. The first day we hit the Solidarity Museum which documents the Solidarity movement and Poland’s struggle to move away from communism. The museum takes you through from the Shipyard strikes to the removal of communism, and is a real eye opener regarding the struggles that Poland has had to go through even after the war. The museum its self is really well designed, ticket prices include an audio guide, and each exhibit is interactive. One of the most notable pieces for me was sitting in the back of a police truck and watching real footage of martial law in action.
We stayed in Gdansk but hit all three cities in one day, granted we didn’t see all each had to off but to me simply walking by the seaside was the highlight of the weekend! We started out at wharf in Gdansk where we all admired the sea for the first time in a long while (except for Addie who is lucky enough to live in this beautiful city), we also ran down to the shore to dip our fingers in the icy water in typical tourist style. And the water certainly was icy. We then walked the 5 or so kilometres from Gdansk to Sopot along a path that followed the coast line. It was really beautiful and the weather was amazing. Sopot was absolutely gorgeous, we walked along the Sopot Pier which is the longest wooden pier in Europe, and totally worth the walk (even if your feet are dying after 5 kilometres of walking in completely unsupportive shoes).

We caught the train to Gdynia where we went to an amazing pierogi restaurant Pierozekon the wharf which was amazing! I ordered chicken and rice pierogi baked in tomato sauce with mozzarella as well as a raspberry and ginger tea. Both were delicious and very reasonably priced! Once again we wandered around the wharf and saw a number of different ships, as well as some monuments and statues. A very beautiful city but not as big as the other two.

Nightlife:
As I said it was an 18th birthday celebration meaning we most certainly hit the clubs on Saturday night (more precisely Sunday morning as her birthday was on Sunday). We started out at a bar called Red Light Bar (quite literally it was a bar with red lights, not the other red light kind). We then moved onto a club called Parliament which was where we remained until 5:30am. It was a multi storey club with good drinks (and prices) and a great dance floor with fun music. Both are located around the Old Town. There are also heaps of other places to choose from, pick up the ‘Gdansk Fun Guide’ and it will give you heaps of ideas!

So the was my weekend! I also changed host families on Sunday however that will be another post for another time. Hope you are all enjoying life back home! Xx
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Poznan!

So this past weekend I traveled to the city of Poznan with my host family. This trip was different to previous trips as instead of staying in hostels I was actually seeing the city from a ‘family’ point of view. I was doing things that people who know the city do more so than a tourist. I stayed with my host family at their Grandparent’s house. The ‘house’ was actually a tiny, communist-style flat with two bedrooms, a living room, bathroom and kitchen. It would probably fit into my living room at home! Simply staying here was a great experience as it showed me another way of life for Polish people. I spent the majority of the weekend hanging out with my host sisters as it was also my last weekend with this host family (I change families this coming Sunday but am in Gdansk for the weekend). We hung out at the park, went to get ice cream, and strolled through the forest. It was all very relaxing and enjoyable.
I did, of course, still manage to get a tourist’s view of the city and visited the Stary Ryneck (Old Town) on Saturday, which was also the first day of spring. The Old Town was gorgeous, there were these ‘Fish Sellers Houses’ which were basically colourful houses but they were super cute. As it was the first day of spring there was some kind of market and celebration so the Old Town was bustling with people doing all sorts of things, it was also a relatively small Old Town compared to others I have seen. I also went to the Poznan Military Museum which was really interesting. Unfortunately the majority was in Polish so I understood very little, and I wasn’t going to force Melanie (my host sister) to translate everything. Both of us thoroughly enjoyed the bottom level which was a replica of the trenches during the war (I suspect WWII). We went through the museum twice! The best thing was it is free on Saturdays! I definitely recommend.

I can’t comment on the nightlife as I didn’t experience it, but by all accounts it has one of the best nightlife’s in Poland! I will update this if I return (which I plan on doing). Next on the agenda is Gdansk, Paris, and Amsterdam! Stay tuned lovelies Xx
Panorama of the area I stayed in Poznan!

Teaching in Poland!

What my 4’s know about Australia!

So considering it has been almost 2 months since I arrived in Poland I think it is fair time for me to actually write about what I have been doing: teaching! I think I have written a bit about my school adventures so far (locking students in classrooms etc) but I haven’t really written much about what I do. The school I am at is a Private Catholic School for Girls (it accepted its first class of boys this year), and is called the Cecylia Plater- Zyberk Schools, but students and teachers simply call it ‘Platerki’. The school itself is housed in an old building which has an extensive history, I’m told it was used as a hospital during the war! It is also very centrally located about a 20 minute walk to Centrum (central train station).

A gift from a student

The kids start school when they are 6 years old, until possibly this year they started at 7 years old. I teach mainly the younger children aged 6 to about 14 (I think). In the younger classes (0, 1, 2, 3) I tend to take on more of an assistive role, simply acting as a native speaker or extra set of hands. These kids are full of energy and often learning is the least of their priorities compared to running around like crazy! I really admire the teachers who take these classes as they are so patient and organised. The kids are really cute though and it is common for at least on of them to run up to me in the hallways and give me a big hug. Whenever I walk into the room I am greeted with a loud ‘Hello’, or ‘Good morning/afternoon’ which always brings a smile to my face.

Front of the school!

Jonathan (partner volunteer) and I have more recently begun to run classes with the older students (4, 5, 6). We are often called in to sub different classes when the English teachers are sick or on school trips. I have had to quickly get used to preparing lessons at a moment’s notice and learning how to adapt ideas to different classes. It has happened that I have come to school prepared for one class and found out that I would be teaching an entirely different one! Games are often a good option as the students work so hard that they appreciate a bit of fun! Hot seat, hangman, and 2 truths and 1 lie are all super popular.

So far the students seem to like me which is a huge plus! Just the other day I got given a bookmark by one of my 4’s saying ‘You are Hero’ accompanied by a floating cape, legs, and head. Not sure what happened to my body but it’s cute all the same! On student’s name days or birthdays they bring in sweets and always rush to give me one. Little things like this really make my day. So that’s an over view of my teaching life!

Wonderful Wroclaw

To start with, Wroclaw is pronounced Vroswav. I am beginning to think that if anyone ever presents me with a word that starts with ‘W’ from here on in I will pronounce it as a ‘V’. I came here to teach English yet I think I am losing my ability to speak English. Oh well, back to the point, this weekend was our second trip exploring Poland. I absolutely adored this city. There was such an eclectic mix of architecture gives this city a truly unique look and culture. Walking through Rynek (market square) on the cobble stone streets made me feel as though I was in another world. At points I thought that it could be possible that I was walking through a doll’s world of sorts. There was an abundance of different colours which created a cheery atmosphere. One of the street acts was a man creating massive bubbles, which just added to the surreal feel, and had as all running around having a ball!

To the people who thought I was drunk when I said I was going Gnome hunting, sorry to disappoint you but I wasn’t. One of Wroclaw’s most well-known attractions are the 200+ gnomes/dwarves that are hidden all around the city. I, for one, have a great time running up to ever gnome that I saw to take a photo and/or selfie with them! Gotta embrace being a tourist!

We also visited the Panorama of Raclawice Battle. This is a huge painting (15 x 144 metres) depicts the Raclawice Battle. The Raclawice Battle was one of the most significant victories for Polish independence during the Polish Kosciuszko Uprising (which ultimately failed) in the 1700s. According to the audio, it is looked on as a great example of Polish strength and resilience. It is presented in a circular room and complemented by a ‘real’ landscape that is so careful crafted that it is at times hard to determine painting from reality. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me.

Any way here are some pictures!