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Good places to live
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Sgt Bilko



Joined: 28 Jul 2006
Posts: 115
Location: POLAND

PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:21 am    Post subject: Good places to live Reply with quote

Reading all the posts on the Bell school topic, I'm wondering how many of the disagreements are because some of the posters are referring specifically to Poznan.

As Dragonpiwo says, the city has a lot of trade fairs which affects costs and possibly customer service. I live in a smaller city, Opole, and shop assistants, bank staff and waiters* are almost invariably pleasant and keen to help.

In the last year, I have renewed my Karta Pobyta, opened a new bank account and changed my UK driving licence to a Polish one. In all three places, service has been friendly, quick and helpful. Everyone was pleasant and patient with my less than perfect Polish.

So, let's be positive. Which towns, maybe lesser known ones, are nice places to live and work?

* Yes, there are disappointments. I won't go back to Pyramida because the service was slow and the food is nothing special. The posher restaurants are overpriced and now, if we go out for food, we'll go where we know we will be happy - Maska on the Rynek if anyone's visiting.
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 780
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have found that the Gdansk/Tricities area is very pleasant.

As you say, shopkeepers are pretty reasonable, the young ones no more disaffected than elsewhere in the world, rents are very reasonable and costs for transport, food and such are fine.

When you live somewhere you figure out where to shop and I have places I would go for coats, where to find comfortable, durable shoes and the locations of my primary and secondary grocery stores.

The good cafes and restaurants are around. Like anywhere, normal people find what they like and build their routines to suit themselves and their friends. There are places for decent to good quality meals ranging from 12zl (quick doner) through burgers and fries (25zl) and on up to 60-70zl for sit-down service and more of an upscale sort of meal. Wines are reasonable depending on what your taste and mood happen to be. Poor quality steak and the damned instant coffees are the only complaints I give any credence to and those balance out with their baked goods IMO. The waiters and waitresses are developing and a LONG way from surly or disinterested. There have been a couple who give me an exasperated look for never having change and some are bewildered that you might wish to order something else from time to time but that happens all over the FSU in far worse degree. Those that complain probably lack experience or also can't believe they don't get valet service at the train station.

I cannot say enough about my apartment. My share of rent is a tad over 1000zl (winter) and 800(summer) and provides plenty of room, excellent location, hygiene, comfort and convenience - all covered. The ambiance of soft church bells, the murmur of the tourist crowds and my choice of bustle or solitude are fantastic. The teachers I know are all pretty happy with their accommodations or shift to better spots after they get an idea of what the available standards are in the area. No different than anywhere else or the dozens of other TEFLers firsthand accounts and blogs. Again, I regard many of the comments as indicative of a lack of experience and sophistication rather than definitive indications of quality.

Trains, buses, ships and trams are available for transportation to major hubs. The beaches are typical beaches. The Baltic is the Baltic, some people must have never looked at a map before ending up here which always baffles me.


Last edited by ecocks on Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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oipivo



Joined: 02 Jan 2012
Posts: 150
Location: Poland

PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have yet to have a problem with anyone in Poznan. Everyone I've dealt with at government offices has been exceedingly friendly and helpful. The shop clerks, waiters, and bartenders are also very nice to me. I would guess that perhaps it's more about the customers attitude than the workers.
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salamiandbacon



Joined: 13 Apr 2012
Posts: 41

PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, Wroclaw has a nice balance. It is big enough to have the airport and all the cultural trappings that you want, but is small enough to walk round and get to know. The huge number of students keeps the place fun, and the talent pool created by the institutions makes the place very attractive to foreign investors. It feels like the place is really developing and "happening".

Certainly among Poles looking to relocate in their own country it does extremely well in surveys. If you look at the last category on the right here http://www.newsweek.pl/bins/media/pictures/f1/f1f3/f1f35b878e0a456ebe848b42107292be.jpg you see that it tops the list of inhabitants who think positively about their city. The people who live there think it's good!

It is possible to make the usual, hardscrabble TEFL existance there, although, like everywhere, wages continue on a downward trend.

For this reason, perhaps less bombastically put than Dragonpiwo , I am working in Saudi and going back to Wroclaw in the breaks. I hope to go back and live in the near future once FI has been reached.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 463
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:25 am    Post subject: yep Reply with quote

I like the Baltic area most. Love the sea.
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 858
Location: Warsaw, Poland

PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:13 am    Post subject: Warsaw Reply with quote

It may not have quite the charm and beauty of Wroclaw, but Warsaw has got a lot to recommend it:

- A larger, more active expat community here means, whatever your interests, you're bound to find a group of like-minded people to meet up with. Want to meet business contacts, practice improv comedy, play poker or chess? There's a group for you here.

- There is a wider selection of restaurants, cinemas, gyms, bars and clubs here.

- There is a pleasant old town and Nowy Swiat street is nice for a walk - though these don't really compare with the old towns in other Polish cities.

- The cost of living, especially rent, isn't much more expensive than other Polish cities, AND

- The amount of zloty you can earn here more than makes up for the slightly higher prices.

- Work is plentiful here and most qualified teachers have no problem filling up their schedules with blocks of well-paying lessons.

- Warsaw is the best option to travel Europe. There are cheap flights (Wizzair, Ryanair) out of Warsaw to other major cities. What's more, the money you earn here means you can afford to travel often, as opposed to a teacher just making ends meet in Gdansk, Poznan or Wroclaw.

- Warsaw is not the middle-east.

People often overlook the Polish capital because it's not as picturesque as other cities, but, all things considered, it's probably the most sensible choice in Poland. This is especially true for more experienced teachers.
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scottie1113



Joined: 25 Oct 2004
Posts: 334
Location: Gdansk

PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gdansk
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 448
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krakow, of course.
Just depends on the job.
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 780
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I wasn't particularly interested in living in Krakow.

Pretty enough certainly and the proximity to the mountains will draw some. However, individuals will always be exercising their preferences whether it be money, scenery, anonymity, career development, quality of life, whatever.

For me, it was culture, the seashore, business opportunity, quality of life and a couple of new friends that made Gdansk my choice.

A buddy in SE Asia was asking about things here the other day and we went over the various locations. Oddly, he was interested in Poznan in terms of geography so we were discussing some of the comments and also looking at the over-all situation. Maybe he'll try there, maybe not. His other option was Spain but he was still debating when we finished our Skype session.

It struck me that it's a shame that Warsaw doesn't have a bit more of a unique soul. I know Shake and some others enjoys it but it really seems sort of "copied" (closest term I could think of) to me. Krakow struck me as "too busy" and more than a bit distracting. He's pretty independent but I doubt he'd enjoy the really small, out-of-the-way places like Budgoyscz (sp?) or Bialystock.

Anyway, I'd still like to hear from those who are actually living and working in the other cities as to what led them there and how it is panning out.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 463
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:51 pm    Post subject: Torun Reply with quote

Torun's a nice place.
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stonethecrow



Joined: 04 Jun 2013
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krakow is a nice city if you know where to go to avoid the crowds. This is especially handy to avoid drinking in the same places as the stag parties.
It's got a lot to do and see but maybe I'm too familiar with it because I wouldn't go any further than saying it's 'nice'. I remember I was awestruck by Rynek and it's surroundings when I first arrived.
I've never been around in the summer though, so I can't comment on what it's like then, only from Oct-May.

The one major downside of Krakow is the pollution which you can notice about this time of year. Ideally the taste of coal in the air should be reserved for nostalgic occasions only, like outside countryside pubs or in quaint villages.

I'm in Myslenice, a town of about 50,000, which is 40km South of Krakow. It's been OK living here, it's a wealthy town with a lot of different shops and Krakow's nearby for nights/days out. Also, it's position near the Tatras was a draw for me.

I've only been to one other major Polish city (well, two but there's no point mentioning much about Katowice on this thread!) and Wroclaw was very entertaining. Lovely looking and a lot to do. I probably prefer it to Krakow, just Krakow is in a better location.
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 780
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You find it easy to get into Krakow from 40km out? Tram probably doesn't run that far but maybe you have something like SKM to run into town?
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 858
Location: Warsaw, Poland

PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So Gdansk, Krakow, Poznan, Torun, and Wroclaw are the nice places to live in Poland.

I like Warsaw, but agree that it does feel kind of soulless compared to the others.

Anyone have some smaller towns they think are something special? Kazimierz Dolny is a pretty little town near Warsaw that's great for a weekend trip.
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Sgt Bilko



Joined: 28 Jul 2006
Posts: 115
Location: POLAND

PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree about Kazimierz. Zamość is really nice but a long way from anywhere.

From here in Opole, if we want to go somewhere nice for a long weekend, we seem to end up in Czech. Znojmo, Mikulov, Kutna Hora, Tabor, Cesky Krumlov and our favourite, Olomouc. Teplice/Adrspach beats Kudowa Zdroj / Karłów for 'rock cities' (although as Dragonpiwo said, the area south of Dresden is possibly even better. We camped at Bad Schandau for a few days one summer and had a great time).

One other town I loved although it was tiny was Tykocin up by the Narew/Biebrz but you wouldn't go there unless you were in the area.

Somehow, Poland's smaller towns don't seem so interesting although I haven't seen Sandomierz. As my wife says, Czech just seems to look after places better but I guess the war had a lot to do with that.

Poland's great for nature. Mazury, Pieniny, Bieszczady, Suwałki - although some places get horribly crowded - Walking to Morskie Oko during the May break was like walking down Oxford Street during the Boxing Day sales and when we got to the cable car to Kasprowy Wierch, we were told the waiting time was aout seven hours! However, having decided against waiting, it was easy to find an almost deserted valley to walk in.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 463
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:37 am    Post subject: Bilko Reply with quote

My first gig abroad way back when was in Decin a piss hole of a town surrounded by beautiful forests, hills and rock cities including the famous stone arch just south of Bad Schandau. That stretch of the Elbe is really pretty.

I survived in Decin by quaffing Radegast nightly with the lovely 'locals'. Otherwise it was a dump and Czech cuisine was dreadful.
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