Tag Archives: fish

Poland’s Seaside

As Ian has returned from holidays, he has passed the holiday baton to me, as I have been partaking of the few first days of my two weeks off work. Last year my wife and I went to Italy by car – this time we decided to hit the Polish seaside, namely Ustka in Pomorskie. Below are some observations.

Gradual road improvement

A definite positive to come from the European Championships being held here was the push for infrastructural improvement in order to facilitate travel between venues. This was highlighted on our way from the south to the north, with two experiences showing the past/present against the present/future. The town of Włocławek seemed to be one big set of road-works, with most roads being dug up and the remaining ones being an obstacle course in pothole-avoidance. However, not long after the A1 highway began, bypassing Toruń before continuing about 200 kilometres to meet the edge of Gdańsk. From leaving originally to reaching Gdańsk, it took us about 6.5 hours, which seemed faster than expected. Now, it was a Sunday morning when we did most of the driving, and if there was any traffic, most of it seemed to be travelling against us, back to the south or centre of Poland. However the road improvements look like hitting home, although with the Euros finished, the impetus to continue might not be there.

Cold as Ice

When Polish friends and colleagues asked where I was about to go for holidays and I said “the Polish seaside”, the immediate response was almost always, “The water is sooo cold there”. I have to say that I have not felt the extremity of the coldness that everyone was warning me about. For example, yesterday the air temperature was 23 degrees, while the water temperature was 18 degrees. Of course, the water is not exactly warm at that temperature either, but considering that it’s the Baltic Sea, and perhaps factoring in the small difference in air and sea temperature, it did not feel too bad. Perhaps it would be different in the peak of summer in July, with a day of sun and temperatures of 30+ degrees.

Here fishy, fishy

Fresh fish can be seen as a luxury, at least in the south of Poland. There is an understanding in Kraków that if you want to sample the best of the ‘fruits of the sea’, then you have to order fish on Thursday evenings, Fridays or Saturdays, as fresh fish only arrives in town on Thursday. The closer you get to the sea, this luxury becomes a bounty. The past few days have seen menus of dorsz (cod), fląder (flounder), łosoś (salmon), pstrąg (trout) and halibut presented to us, all caught within the previous 24 hours. It almost makes me think twice about being a devout meat-eater. Almost…

Nostalgia – it ain’t what it used to be

The Polish seaside retains a certain charm about it, although more and more Poles will find themselves choosing between going abroad or staying at home for their summer holidays. The seaside has personal historical significance for many Poles as it would have been the main options for holidays when they were growing up.  This would be true even down to the locations which people would visit. My wife told me the story of how she was discussing the Polish seaside with two colleagues from work and found that the three of them all went to the same little town north of Gdynia, even though they come from three different locations in central and southern Poland and would have travelled to the seaside in different years, based on age differences.

The heady mixture of salt air, fresh fish, sand between your toes and the sound of the lapping waves builds memories worth holding onto, which shows why large numbers of the fellow tourists we encountered tended to be Polish families with small children (usually infants younger than school-going age). The only requirements for a successful holiday for them would be a bucket, spade, bathing suits, sun-tan lotion and plenty of gofry and ice-cream. Thus for Poles the sea will always maintain that mystical nostalgia which will continue to bring people back.

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Is it a bird? Is it a fish? Co to jest?

Here’s a quick quiz for all Polandian readers. Living in the suburbs of Kraków, you can’t go too far without seeing one of the ‘Wielka Płyta’ (literal translation: great plate) housing blocks. Some people find them quite depressing, so efforts have been made to jazz them up with a bit of colour or other adornments, in order to try and divert the eye from the 10 solid stories of grey block.

In one block near where I live, they have used an interesting twist on this approach by adding a 1.5 metre high image of an animal near each entrance point along the block. Presumably, the principle is to try to get the name of the animal associated with each of the blocks to foster a higher sense of belonging. To me, they just look weird.

The aim of the game thus, is to try to guess which animal is represented in each image. Please note, there are no wrong answers, as I also don’t really know what each animal is – so your guess is as good as mine. My guesses follow the images.

Image #1 ˅˅˅˅˅˅:

Decoy says: “Looks like a woodpecker”

Image #2 ˅˅˅˅˅˅:

Decoy says: “Polish Piranha”

Image #3 ˅˅˅˅˅˅:

Decoy says: “A smiling dog”

Image #4 ˅˅˅˅˅˅:

Decoy says: “The Faceless Panther”

Image #5 ˅˅˅˅˅˅:

Decoy says: “I’m seeing double! 4 disappointed dingos”

Image #6 ˅˅˅˅˅˅:

Decoy says: “The oft-spotted housecat”

Image #7 ˅˅˅˅˅˅:

Decoy says: “The lesser spotted flying shark (Now with extra wings!)”

Image #8 ˅˅˅˅˅˅:

Decoy says: “A Polish turkey. Still alive thanks to all the carp!”

Image #9 ˅˅˅˅˅˅:

Decoy says: “A humpless camel, presumably from the Błędów desert

Image #10 ˅˅˅˅˅˅:

Decoy says: “A bottle opener”

Image #11 ˅˅˅˅˅˅:

Decoy says: “Hmmm… Wings, 3 legs and a bird head. It’s probably a platypus”

Image #12 ˅˅˅˅˅˅:

Decoy says: “The wide eyes suggest drug-addicted duck”

Image #13 ˅˅˅˅˅˅:

Decoy says: “Two smiling faces connected by a random blob… I have no idea…”

Image #14 ˅˅˅˅˅˅:

Decoy says: “A horse looking into a mirror”

Image #15 ˅˅˅˅˅˅:

Decoy says: “The structural damage means the turtle is done for”

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