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Poland guide

Poland guide

Poland

Introducing Poland

Welcome to Poland's guide

The goal of this guide is to give you some general view of Poland. We are not aiming at providing you with tones of information about every castle or every town in Poland. What we want is to tell you a few words about what is the best in Poland and in Czestochowa.

Preparation & Arrival

Take it with you

So, you are preparing to have a traineship in AIESEC's ITEP programme. Coming to Poland you should take several things, that you'll need during your visit here. Don't forget to take:

- Valid passport - Without it you won't be able get into out country, or if so - to come back home.
- Valid visa - it is needed if your from some countries, check it!!!
- Insurance coverage - All trainees in Poland must have adequate coverage as a protection in case of illness, disability, accidents, death and liability. As you know your obligation is to specify the insurance company and the number of insurance receipt in the N-5/6 papers otherwise you will not be able to start working.
- Other documents - You should take all AIESEC documents with you. Check in Polish Embassy if you need sth else to come to Poland.
- The International Students Identity Card (ISIC) or Euro<26 Card - It may be useful in some situations. You may obtain reduction of prices or services in some places.
- Few passport size photos - Could be needed for reserve documents.
- Equipment and additional founds which would allow you to experience an unforgettable holidays in Poland - comfortable shoes and clothes ( for hot but also colder days ) ,camera, knick - knacks ( like a sleeping bag ) useful during any expeditions to the country, other cities ...
- Something from your country - Presentations, pictures, material, your national drinks and food, anything that would be connected with your country, culture and nation.
- Good sense of humor - you will need it all time, 48 hours a day and 120 minutes per our.
- Paper copy of this booklet - We'll give one, but it probably won't be colorful. Besides you could need it before we'll meet. Remember to check all documents you need before arrival. Do bring them along.

And check where in Poland is your Embassy (but we should know that).

How to get to Czestochowa?

You will probably get to Warsaw first by you plane. You can get to Czestochowa from Warsaw by:

train - from the Central Warsaw Railway Station to the Main Czestochowa Railway Station - (Czestochowa Glówna) take EX or normal train. You will have to buy a normal price, second class ticket:

Express Train (EX) 45 PLN + 7 reservation
Fast-Train (D) 32 PLN
Passenger-Train (Zug) 15 PLN

You can check the connections to Czestochowa on web-pages:

http://Bahn.hafas.de

Call us or sent a mail to inform us what time you'll be at Czestochowa Main Railroad Station (Czestochowa Glowna). We'll take you from there.

private car - if you have such a possibility, so you are independent and rely on your maps. Contact with our Reception Officer, Exchange Vice President or person responsible for you and settle where you'll meet with him. You can try to get to office if you think you are able (option for adventurers only).

bus - try to find "Polski Express" bus station - it's near Main Warsaw Railway Station. Ticket to Czestochowa will cost you approx. 30 zlotys.

 

Airlines

You can check your airline's connections at web-pages: www.airres.com

Scheduled flights of more than 750 airlines http://flyaow.com

AIRLINES OF THE WEB - thanks to that server you can find links with about 500 air companies www.lastminute.de/last/html/main.htm

Last minute flights http://www.travelpoint.de/

Tickets http://www.mcflight.de/

Tickets www.travel-overland.de/it.html

Tickets www.ticketmaster.com/travel

Tickets / prices, and hotels, car rental, info about cities http://www.discountairfares.com/

cheap tickets and hotels, cruises http://www.travelocity.com/

cheap tickets and hotels, cruises http://www.air-fare.com/

Cheap ways of flying http://www.airtech.org/

campus.net http://www.pctravel.com/

tickets http://www.travelweb.com/

tickets & searching connections, booking campus.net

Cheap ways of flying http://travel.org/index2.html

airlines, cruises, travel agents www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~zone/travel/courier.shtml

Possibilities of traveling as a courier. http://www.airhitch.org/

Cheap ways of travelling http://www.lot.com/ LOT - our national airlines (recommended)

http://www.aerlingus.ie/ Aer Lingus
www.seanet.com/Bazar/Aeroflot.html Aeroflot
http://www.aircanada.ca/ Air Canada
http://www.airfrance.fr/ Air France
http://www.airuk.co.uk/ Air UK
www.amrcorp.com/aa_home/aa_home.htm American Airlines
http://www.aua.co.at/ Austrian Airlines
http://www.british-airways.com/ British Airways
http://www.flycontinental.com/ Continental Airlines
www.com-stock.com/dave/delta.htm Delta Airlines
www.onu.edu/~mparham/uae/emirates.html Emirates
www.interactive.line.com/finland/finair.home.html Finair
www.civeng.carleton.ca/SiSpain/travelli/iberia Iberia Airlines
www.artic.ic/Transport/Icelandair/Icelandair.html Icelandair
www.spin.ad.jp/ja/home-e.html Japan Airlines
www.ib.com:800/business/klm/klm.html KLM

http://www.laudaair.com/ Lauda Air
http://www.lufthansa.co.uk/ Lufthansa
www.sino.net/asean/malaysia.html Malaysia Airlines
www.mexicana.com/ Mexicana
www.anzac.com/qantas/qantas.com Qantas Airlines
ee.wpi.edu/~zakharia/saudi-communications.html Saudia Airlines
www.technet.sg/infoWEB/communications/industry Singapore Airlines
www.saa.co.za/saa South African Airlines
http://www.royalairmaroc.co.uk/ Royal Air Maroc
http://www.alitalia.com/ Alitalia - Linee Aeree Italiane

Timetable can be changed so check it out before you come (and maybe book a seat earlier, if necessary).

EMERGENCIES

If you have a problem use the free emergency numbers to call for help. Please note - there are not many English speaking operators.
POLICE 997, FIRE BRIGADE 998, AMBULANCE 999. When using a mobile phone dial - 112.

CURRENCY

1 ZŁOTY (PLN - zł) = 100 GROSZ (gr).
Coins: 1 gr, 2 gr, 5 gr, 10 gr, 20 gr, 50 gr, 1 zł, 2 zł, 5 zł.
Notes: 10 zł, 20 zł, 50 zł, 100 zł, 200 zł.

All European currencies can be exchanged at Banks or Exchange bureaus called 'KANTOR'. Usually no commission is charged. Ask the rate before you change your money. Most supermarkets accept EURO. The exchange rate is presented at the cashier. Note that change will be given in Polish currency.

ELECTRICITY

230 Volts AC, 50 Hertz. European type connections, sockets/plugs are used.

TELECOMMUNICATION

Public telephones can be found throughout the city and most operate with phone cards that can be purchased at kiosks or post offices. The Kraków city code is 12, country code is 48.
If you want to call a local number proceed with: +48 12 (number) if you call from a foreign mobile; 12 (number) if you call from a Polish mobile; 012 (number) if you call from a local phone unit.

SHOP OPENING HOURS

Most shops are open on weekdays from around 10.00 and close at 19.00. On Saturdays they usually close at 14.00. Most supermarkets and galleries are open 7 days a week usually from 09.00 till 22.00, on weekends till 21.00.

TAXES

Most goods/services are subject to 22% Value Added Tax. There is also a 7% charge for some goods. Look for the Tax Free Shopping sign on shop windows. If you follow the procedures (the paper work) properly and spend more than 200 zł your VAT will be refunded when you leave Poland. But give yourself time at the frontier to get the money back. (Does not apply to EU citizens any more).

TOILETS

Still 'quiet a problem' in Poland as public toilets are not easy to find. Some of them are marked on our city tour maps. We advise you to use restaurant or hotel toilets. There is usually a charge of about 2 zł. When following our sightseeing routes you will find blue WC pictograms on the maps referring to public toilets. That's all we can do to help you.

POSTAL SERVICES

Most post offices (Poczta) are open from 08.00 till 20.00. The 24h post office is at 4 Lubicz St. (close to the railway station) with all postal services available.

ALL YOU WANT TO KNOW!

10 FEATURES
Acting reasonably and following basic hygiene rules with some basic common sense should happily limit most travel problems. If something happens though it is worth knowing now what to do then. If nothing very serious happens that requires immediate help the priority here is to contact your insurance company at their call centre. They will tell you what to do, they will call help if you need it, they will tell you which
doctor you should to go. It is advisable to be assisted medically by a doctor who has been recognized and authorized by your insurance company. That goes for hospitals and clinics too. This will facilitate any refunding of money paid by you at the time of the medical assistance. If something serious happens and there is no time but call help, remember these two toll free phone numbers:
999 Ambulance, 112 general emergency.

If you shop at bazaars, open air markets or farms try bargaining. Accepting the first price is not a good idea there, but remember that price negotiations in Poland are far from bargaining as done in Arabic countries. With a little common sense and good humor you can still have a lot of fun. Official prices presented in regular shops are not negotiable but if you are doing a lot of shopping in one place (clothing or electronic products for example) ask for a discount or something added even if it is a regular shop. There is no harm in trying. Drinking alcohol (including beer) is forbidden in public places except special areas in restaurant summer gardens. The fine for
drinking alcohol in a bus is 100 zł and is higher in other public places if you are apprehended. If you are very drunk, violent or disturbing the peace and are arrested by the police you will be
fined and put in a cell to sleep off your drunkenness. This will not save you a night in a hotel as this police service is rather expensive and you will be charged for your night in police custody. Drinking is strictly prohibited in parks, the surroundings of night shops and railways stations. We advise you strongly to respect these regulations.

Remember!
The sale of cigarettes and alcohol to under 18 year old people is strictly forbidden. A blood alcohol level of 0,2 parts per thousand is the permitted upper limit for driving. Take note that one beer and you are over
the limit. Driving when under the influence of alcohol is a criminal offence. So Don't Drink and Drive!
ACCIDENTS
BARGAINING
DRINKING

Apart from marginal problems, as can be found across Europe, Polish food services are safe, with hygiene at EU standards. The only thing you might have problems with is... overeating! A sin is to dine in fast-food chain bars whilst travelling in Poland instead of enjoying Polish cuisine. Poland is one of the last European countries where most of the fruits and vegetables, meats and or bakery products are based on naturally produced raw materials which are not highly industrialized in their production or contain pesticides. You will be able to experience this quality and taste, real butter, the freshness and colour of the eggs, the unforgettable
taste of homemade bread and meats. So enjoy the taste of good Polish food whilst here. You won't find it anywhere else!
Any change in your everyday eating habits may upset your stomach. If the symptoms are light take some general medication for this problem. If they develop into something more serious see a doctor. Please refer to our health section. Unfortunately not very good news here. Polish cities in their architectonical respect are a challenge for handicapped people moving around in wheelchairs. One good aspect today is that all new or renovated buildings and all the new ones being built correspond to the norms and regulations for access for handicapped people. If a handicapped person plans on coming to Poland they must be aware that they will need assistance from another person and that they cannot travel alone.

Any, even the most fantastic trip, can be spoilt by unexpected illness, contusions, pain or stomach disorders. The most common problem during long distance trips is jet lag and stomach problems caused by change of life style, cuisine and often just a change of water. For the first few days after arrival try to avoid alcohol or strong coffee. Let your body adapt to the new environment and the challenge of the stress it was put to and adjust to a new food and daily schedule. Any stomach disorders that last not longer that one day requires just a little diet. You can always try a dose of Carbo Medicinalis or Smecta (consult your doctor!). If you feel strange or if the problem might be more serious, go to the doctor immediately.
Remember that when travelling you might not have the possibility and conditions to take care of hygiene. Take note that while travelling you are in an environment where there may be many different bacteria and viruses carried by fellow travelers. Travelling is a time for snacks of eating 'unusual' food at 'unusual' times perhaps in 'unusual' places. Remember to wash your hands always before eating! If no water is available be prepared and have special antibacterial wipes or liquid, all available in pharmacies and travelling shops. It's also worth considering buying paper covers for toilet seats. They might be necessary during the trip and will protect you
from unhygienic toilets in railways stations, hotels, restaurants.
There are no required vaccinations when coming to Poland. All the vaccinations you had at home when children are enough to protect you from any illnesses you might be exposed to here. Jaundice - All travelers should be vaccinated against jaundice no matter where they go. This dirty hands illness of type A that can be transmitted through food or type B that is transmitted through blood (sexual contact, haircut, dentist etc.) may be avoided by a simple but important vaccination at home. The vaccine can protect you for 10 years, so this long term investment in your travel health seems a smart idea! Meningitis - In the Polish geographical zone there are no serious or tropical sicknesses that can be spread by insects. There is however a special condition which can be caused by the bite of the tick insect that lives in the trees and in tall grasses and drops on animals or people. It is very rare that when bitten the virus actually attacks the human system. If you think that the insect attached to your body is a tick do not pull it off if you are not told how to do it safely.
Go to the nearest pharmacy, or doctor and they will remove it. HIV/AIDS - Poland is considered to be a country of low HIV/AIDS indicator in Europe. Considering these statistics you must be aware though that AIDS is present in Poland. Sexual education in Poland is perhaps not as widespread and good as in the west so these statistics have to be viewed with a little caution. Condoms are available in most shops, all kiosks and drugstores and petrol stations. Remember there is no such a thing as a safe sex with strangers, you may make it safer but never 100% safe. Traveling across Poland you will find many possibilities of connections to the internet. Almost all the above three star hotels offer free internet in their rooms (it may be cable or wireless). Unfortunately some of the hotels will require a fee for the connection but this is becoming rare and free internet access is standard nearly everywhere. If there is no cable or wireless connection but you are in a room equipped with a phone you can get connected via a modem. The national internet number is 020 21 22. The user name and password is ppp. The cost per a 3 minute impulse is the same as a local conversation. But note! In some hotels the cost of one telephone impulse may be higher and sometimes too high to be acceptable, So ask the reception staff before starting up the connection. ForFor tourists coming to Poland from the West, Poland is a relatively inexpensive country. The prices of food, hotel rooms, and domestic communication are not high when compared with prices in The Netherlands or Great Britain, for example. On the other hand in big cities the rental prices for houses or offices have already reached European levels making these rents rather expensive for the average Polish household. However, even with these rising prices which will eventually reach those of western Europe, Poland will remain for some time yet a good quality and attractive, from the point of view of value for money, place to visit. It is not possible to say that Poland is a safer country for visitors or for doing business in than any of the other UE countries. It seems that in today's world there are few places, havens of peace, where a traveler can feel completely safe but still there is no real guarantee that in the most tranquil place in the world something dangerous or unpredictable may happen. However we can say that in general this is not the case in Poland. This is not a dangerous country and it is not unsafe for tourists than any other countries in Europe. There are just a few of the simple, straightforward common sense rules which if followed will reduce the risk of problems arising for
travelers. Just be that little bit more careful, be aware, be prepared and most of all, enjoy.

Basic personal security: take special care of yourself and your belongings in crowded places such as railway stations, popular museums, popular tourist buses or trams. Watch your luggage and keep all valuables and documents in inner pockets. . be careful when paying for tickets in railway stations or museums. These are high risk pick pocketing moments. . do not keep all your money, credit cards or documents in one place. . do not manifest your cosmically super-duper new camera to people who might be interested in acquiring it when it is obvious you do not really want to part with it. . avoid offensive groups of young people. If you see a group of people coming towards you, if they are loud and probably drunk, avoid them by crossing to the other side of the street. It's not a cowardly solution, it's just wise. . do not go out at night alone. . do not take all your money and credit cards with you when going out. Leave some in the hotel safe. . do not become too intimate with strangers you meet in a bar or disco. Do not tell everybody which hotel you are staying in. Be modest when talking about money and your financial status. . think twice before inviting a stranger to your hotel room. . try not to travel alone in a train compartment. If it is possible join a compartment where people are already present. . note the address and telephone number of your Embassy. Be sure you know where to go or who to contact in case of an accident or any other problem. Theft and accidents should be reported to the police and the hotel
management if the incident takes place in a hotel. Have proper insurance cover for all events and make sure the paper work for any loss or accident is correctly completed to be able to claim for damages when you return home. Prior to leaving on a trip make sure you understand how and what your insurance covers. Today in the larger Polish cities a certain respect for different preferences has been acknowledged. There is a gay community and practically no one objects. There are occasional campaigns organized to explain and to make people aware of the minorities situation and rights they want and need to get. Most people have
heard of the annual Equality Parade in Warsaw (June) and the counter demonstration which brings out people to protest sometimes rather aggressively against the gay parade. But every year the numbers of pro gay supporters, themselves not necessarily gay, increases. They join the ranks of the gay and tolerance party to show their willingness to support gay people in their fight for their
rights. But let us not exaggerate. There's no gay bashing in this country. Do not be afraid of visiting Poland because you are gay. Just bear in mind when you are here that you are not in
The Netherlands and the situation in Polish cities cannot be compared to that found in London's Soho or Madrid's Chueca.
It is forbidden to smoke in public places such as railway stations, airports, department stores, shops, any forms of public transportation, cinemas, waiting rooms, bus stops (nobody respects that), banks and all places of a similar public nature. Any violation of the above restrictions can lead to a fine or ejection from the premises by security, or both. Smoking is allowed in restaurants, summer gardens,
pubs and clubs if not marked no smoking zone.
The quality and taste of tap water in Poland is not very good. When boiled, no problem, but drunk directly from the tap it's often quite strange in taste and sometimes not very good for you. Just have a bottle of mineral water with you all the time. The good news is that you can buy mineral water almost everywhere, including small kiosks, so don't worry you won't dry out. It has changed a lot since the good old bad days when everything
had to be tipped. Today it is understood that you tip because the service was good, or you want to tip. So if you were satisfied with the service leave a tip. However you have to bear in mind that catering staff, restaurants, clubs, etc are paid a very minimum wage. So if you think it was worth it, add 10% to the bill as a tip and try to pay it cash to your waiter or waitress. If the service and atmosphere has been very good you can even add more. A tip for handling your luggage, taking it up to your room etc, or any other small service in a 2, 3 star hotel is 5 zł. In a 5 star hotel you can tip 10 zł. And the rules are the same, no effort no tip. When paying for a taxi, round up the bill. Generally taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped. So if you do the driver will be surprised, and happy.

More information:

Cracow

Warsaw

Wroclaw


Dubai


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