Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Poland - The Day to Day Stuff

One of the things I like most when you travel is the fact to do anything or go anywhere, you have to walk.  Of course with the length of time here, we could use the bus..however in Slupsk there is no concession made towards the English speaking, so in fact it is much easier in the end, to walk.

This gives rise to seeing much more...of our environment, the people, the buildings, shops, way of life etc.  In some ways this is a real eye on our daily 2k walk to the gym, come rain, snow or shine; our trips to buy groceries; coffee with Lucia and Konrad; to meetings and visiting, we see a lot of how it is here.

 Slupsk is mainly a working class town, light industrial, with a high level of unemployment. Poland has just come thru a very tough, cold winter..people have found it hard and it shows in their faces and demeanor. The town center reflects the occupancy of Germany in it's architecture....slightly more ornamental buildings,some  re-constructed from the original rubble of war.  As you move away, the buildings show the uniformity and lack of originality that is synonymous with communism....  Color is rare, occasionally a splash of something vibrant - purple, red - but mainly it is grey, black, brown.  You may say this is normal for winter and yes it is, but couple it with bleak, grey buildings, a lot in disrepair, it paints a drab picture, and the people wear it.  So when we walk down the road with smiles and  Good mornings , we are an oddity ( it may not help that we stick out like sore thumbs, Tony in his VERY white new gym shoes, and me in 3/4 tights, runners, a winter coat, hat and scarf..I reckon we'd look pretty odd anyway!!!)
Getting ready for gym
We cross over the railway line
to get to the main part of town

Looking from bridge

View looking over the other side- from
the bridge

Lucia and Konrad  helped us hugely in the first few days with groceries, showing us the stores ..ones which were better value etc.  Shopping can be quite fun, as we try and source food which we are used to eating..... Tony was after some sliced turkey for lunch, and we spotted some chicken but couldn't see any turkey.  Of course everything is in Polish so no help there.  In the end he pointed to the chicken and shook his head and then mimed "gobble gobble" and bingo ..there we have it.  It's called Indyki...absolutely nothing to indicate its resemblance to Turkey :)  It was only a few days ago that I found fresh pouring cream, rather than the UHF product I'd been's all trial and error.

  On the whole the food here is great, lots of pork, chicken turkey and fish, less beef and very rarely lamb.  Tho' not fully part of the EU, there are still a lot of products from other European great cheeses, salamis,olives,coffee; Lucia showed us this fantastic F&V shop, which has fresh greens, good quality fresh and dried fruit and an abundance of cake, pastry and bread shops.  The Polish cakes and pastries are light in texture and not as sweet as their more European counterparts;  the bread is awesome, with plenty of varieties to choose from.  I have discovered a partiality for Herrings!!!!   I must own to being very surprised as they one of the most unappetizing things to look at....all rolled up and squished together in their white sliminess :)

On the way to Lucia's - near the town centre
Off for a coffee!!

A street in town center

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