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    • Day 45

      Family time in Katowice, Poland

      April 30, 2023 in Poland ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

      Friday 21/4 - Oslo to Katowice, Poland
      Our short stay in Oslo ended with a quick train trip to the airport, travelling through low hills covered in tidy pretty farm buildings and what looked like freshly cut hay but that seemed a bit odd for being barely into spring. Our Ryanair flight was two hours, completely hassle-free, and Andy met us at Katowice airport. There was no passport control, no officials of any sort that I can recall, hardly any bags (most people just have carry-on), just walked out.

      It was lovely to see the family again after four years, Patryk now 12 ½ and Ellie very nearly 8.

      Through the week it’s been generally quiet, kids have been at school, Andy and Justyna working various hours but we have:
      • Been to a food fair in an old factory-turned event centre, brick, lined with beautifully restored machinery along the walls, lots of space for food and drinks from a few countries and local, as well as seating for maybe a couple of hundred. There was a lot of chocolate and I can vouch for the choc-dipped strawberries BUT not tempted to sample crispy insects (looked a bit like cockroaches) or insect chocolate
      • Eaten lunch with Justyna’s extended family for brother-in-law’s birthday: traditional Silesian roll of beef stuffed with a small sausage and gherkins on a bed of red cabbage; I had the most enormous schnitzel and really nice red onion and gherkin pickles; berry or mango shots; and there was a pretty-near perfect PAVLOVA with fresh berries for dessert.
      • Had an evening out with just Andy to catch up with their friend Jarek, bar manager 27th floor of the Marriott hotel, lovely to see Andy’s oldest Polish friend again (we had first met him in late 2007 on our first trip to Poland, Andy had moved there early that year). Then we went to a bar that serves ONLY a kind of cherry drink, obviously made of cherries with, I think, vodka, quite drinkable though not as more-ish as a cherry liqueur I have had on earlier trips. And we finished with burgers in a really nice, quite small, American-style diner with a quite odd baseball/music/movie star theme, good food, sports on one screen and MTV/sixties and seventies British music videos on the other. Good food and we enjoyed our few hours including the easy train ride to get to the centre of town, which has been cleaned up quite a bit since our last visit four years ago. It’s a city with a major train hub, national conference/performance centre, big sports stadium and a really good coalmining museum which gives the history of the Silesia area and the industry, a bit interactive (no, you don’t have to dig for coal), very interesting.
      • Seen the family of wild boar (boars?) that lives in the bush just across from Andy and Justyna’s gate, I think seven babies with stripes on their backs and two rather large and wary parents digging up the paddock but also keeping a good eye on nosy neighbours. Justyna said they also see foxes, I’d love to have seen them, lots around apparently. Katowice, even though it’s a city, has a huge amount of park and forest land within the city; very obvious when we looked down from the 27th floor bar on Wednesday

      Aslan the cat is beautiful, pretty snobby, dying to go outside but isn’t allowed – has lovely blue eyes except when he’s planning evil, then they turn luminous amber. True story.

      Things I’ve noticed:
      • Polish self-checkout supermarket – I went shopping with Andy, self-checkout, then to get out of the place you had to scan your docket and then a gate would open to let you out. I was amazed by the foresight, considering in Nelson I was standing at Countdown Trafalgar and the manager, Damian, was saying to one of the staff ‘did you see that woman, she just walked out with a trolley full of groceries’. It was a shoplifter and they can’t do anything, he said. Nothing happens like that in Lidl Katowice, so efficient – and the groceries are pretty cheap too but then, the wages are so much lower, so it works out I guess.
      • TV programmes dubbed into Polish only have a male voice, so when you see women speaking it’s a man’s voice that comes out. Hasn’t changed in several years, very odd.
      • School hours are seriously strange. Some days it’s (approximately) 11am – 1.30pm, 8am to midday, other days 9.50am to 2pm……..I take my hat off to Justyna keeping track of it all as she and Andy ferry the kids to and from school which is about 4km away. Grades 1-3 have lunch supplied, 4 – 8 take their own. 8 – 12 is high school with, I think, more regular hours. There is before- and after school care which is good if they need to drop Ellie off with Patryk.
      • Pete had a haircut – asked for a number 3 cut, numbers must be different in Poland because he’s pretty bald! Funny. There was a lot of white hair on the barber’s floor.
      • Polish cocktail prosecco and limoncello must have been double strength, my head was reeling after we had been out for pizza on Friday night

      Sunday 30/4 – and here we are in Billund, Denmark, the whole family having flown over this afternoon for a day at Legoland on Monday, then we’ll be in Copenhagen until Sunday. Denmark reports will be posted……….
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    • Day 2

      Park mit Planetarium

      June 20, 2019 in Poland ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

      Im Park Slaskie gibt es viel zu sehen. Nur leider ist das Planetarium wegen Restaurierung geschlossen..... Aber macht ja nix. Ein toller Spaziergang war es trotzdem und der Park ist ein reines Abenteuer. Erst der Zoo, dann schöne Gewässer und zum Schluß noch eine Flachseilbahnfahrt..... Wirklich witzig hier.Read more

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Wełnowiec-Józefowiec, Welnowiec-Jozefowiec

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