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How To... Recognise Tourists In Poland

Monday, September 21, 2015

My dearest travel fans,

Tourists don't know where they've been, travelers don't know where they're going - Paul Theroux

Are you settled down yet with the idea of coming to Poland, or are you frightened of the land of kielbasa (sausage) and vodka? You should not be frightened! You should be thrilled to be able to come to such a warm hearted and welcoming place. The number of travelers going to and through Poland increases each year, and the amount of money spent by the government on improving the cities also is raising.
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I believe the only thing that you may have to worry about will be the amount of tourists.  But from what I could see and what others have also told me, it is not yet crowded. Even Prague has a more tourist like feeling that  Kraków. You can still see the majority of the population on the street being locals. And trust me, you will figure out who is and who isn't local ;) I am here to help you!
The View From The Czestochowa Tower - Poland
So here is what you should look out for:
1. The language - trust me, it's hard to miss! The locals will always speak their mother tongue and you will hear the difference miles away (that does not mean they are loud. Unless they are drunk!). Polish language may seem to you, at the beginning, as parseltongue (if you don't know what that is, pick up a Harry Potter book and start reading!). Get familiar with the sounds and you will know when you have a local around you. All the rest are either expats (like myself) or tourists.
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2. People walking in groups, most of the times being very noisy - you can hear distinctive English / Spanish / German language... Even the main tour companies offer trips in these 3 languages and most probably you bumped into a field trip. Carefully avoid them as they can be extremely noisy and you will want to discover magical Krakow peacefully!
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3. Large group of people with/without beards and side hair, dressed usually in white and black clothing. Boys wear kipa (kippah - dome or covering). You are most likely to bump into them when in Kraków or going to Auschwitz. The Jewish community always has groups of people coming from around the world in pilgrimage.
The Palace of Culture - Iasi - Romania
4. Photography over-use = People that use flash everywhere and make pictures of everything... yup, those are tourists alright! I still wonder if they manage to feel and live anything during their trips. I also wonder what they do after with so many pictures... do they print them? At least some? Or do they make a folder and leave it there... indefinitely!
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5. Unconventional Public Transport - carriages pulled by horses and electric small cars for city tours - yes, they are all a tourist thing ;) I have not seen any locals doing that until now. Exception: sometimes the carriage and horse may be rent for weddings - looks good on the camera, but for sure you will see that on the way to the church ;)
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6. Weird and colorful layering or clothing... yes! Like onions! They are not used to the weather in Poland - turning from windy and rainy to sunny in a few minutes.  They need to be able for everything so be sure they will have a bag/backpack with a raincoat or umbrella inside + the jacket + clothing + scarf (s) - all of different colors and patterns.
Arcade du Cinquantenaire - Brussels - Belgium
7. Boys in shorts in the middle of winter. That's right! I wonder how their body parts don't freeze ans drop... I think the vodka helps here though... Poland is one of the cheapest places one could party and it's just a stone throw away from the United Kingdom. Loads of tourists from there come to Krakow for the weekend, to have fun. And it's easy to tell them apart by the accent and the way they dress.
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8. Regular public transport = people running after trams/buses and looking for even half an hour to figure out when the next bus comes (it may have slipped them in the meanwhile, several times!) + continuously consulting THE Map! This makes me laugh now but I used to be one of them until I discovered this lovely app for Poland, for the main cities, called Jakdojade.pl - you put where you are and where you want to go and it gives you the best options ;) you also can find it as a mobile app and if you have the GPS on it will auto find where you are and you need only input where you wish to go. It's magical! So if you are on a bus stop and people check their phones instead of the notices in the hus stop, it's because of that ;) or they know the schedule by heart and they know that buses here are ALWAYS on time.
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9. People taking ages to pay something with local currency. That's a no brainer! That is why I really should think everyone should use their credit cards instead. Saves time and energy... plus I have seen people after a few days in Poland with pockets filled with coins, barely able to move properly. There are multiple coins: 5 zloty, 2 zloty, 1 zloty, 50 grosz, 20 grosz, 10 grosz and my personal buggers - the 5 and 1 grosz coins - that drive me nuts... But each coin actually is quite a sum in itself. With 5.60 zloty you can buy 2 tickets for 20 minutes - that is a trip (both ways) from city center to the Jewish quarter. Check your pockets and use those coins! Bad side: it will take forever for you to figure the coins out and there will be huge lines forming behind you...
#nofilter Picture taken with a Nokia E51 in Paris, in front of the Louvre Museum - France
10. The enthusiasm!!! It's sometimes overwhelming... They get overexcited from even small little things, like a piece of the Old City wall, an artist on the street, the flocks of pigeons (by the way, mostly tourists are feeding them, even though there are more and more posters stating clearly "DO NOT Feed The Pigeons!")... Everything is new and interesting. Everything is worth to be explored & at the same time dozen of pictures must be taken from all angles. That is nice, seeing so many people interested but this interest fades when they see the next best thing :/ You will see/hear them miles away!

Embrace the subject and read one of the articles below - How To...
  1. Do Shopping In Poland - Currency
  2. Pick The Best Time To Visit Poland
  3. Get To Poland - Transit
  4. Eat Like The Locals 
  5. Spend One Day In Krakow 
  6. Be Prepared For Coming To Poland
  7. Recognize Tourists In Poland - today's post :)
If you feel you would like me to treat a specific subject, please feel free to Contact Me :) But also be not afraid to share your experience with us. Sharing is caring and knowledge is wisdom!

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves to help travelers out there