After a 3-week hiatus from travelling, it was time to hit the road again. This time, with the company of 5 of my juniors. Poland has always been one of my favourite go-to countries due to their rich history, cheap prices, and lovely people. This trip was intended to be a staycation, staying at a 4-star hotel for the night (I booked it during the Black Friday sale). In order to make full use of our time in Poznan (and to reduce the expenditure as much as possible), we took an early morning flight to Poznan, and a night flight back to London the next day.
Leaving at 5.55am, we arrived at roughly 9am in Poznan. Immigration clearance took slightly longer than usual, but we still managed to get pass immigration in about 20 minutes. We initially thought of taking Uber to the city centre, but the well connectedness of Poznan’s airport, as well as the surge pricing in Uber made us take the public transport instead. Priced at about 1 pound for a 1-way ticket, the prices were quite similar to that of Singapore.
As the time for check in was at 3PM, we had about 5 hours to explore Poznan before returning to our hotel. Slightly famished, we had breakfast at Ptasie Radio. What impressed me (time and again) was the hospitality of the Polish towards us. From the start to end, they would always ask us how our breakfast was, and even offered to give us another cup of hot chocolate because they felt that the previous one was not hot enough. After a delicious (and relatively cheap) breakfast, we took a short walk to the imperial castle (which we briefly scoured through), followed by the old market square.
At the heart of the square is Poznan’s town hall, topped by three turrets and a clock tower in the middle.
Old Town Square
As the time inched towards noon, two iron billy goats glide out and face each other. This has been a tradition since 1551, and the goats will butt heads twelve times to strike the midday hour. Curious to find out the origin of such a tradition, I searched it up online on Wikipedia. It turns out that the legend behind the original addition of the goats to the clock mechanism states that a cook, while preparing a banquet for the voivode and other dignitaries, had burnt a roast deer, and attempted to replace it by stealing two goats from a nearby meadow. The goats escaped and ran up the town hall tower, where they attracted the attention of the townspeople when they began to butt each other (according to some versions, this drew attention to a fire which might otherwise have done significant damage). Because of the entertainment provided, the voivode pardoned both the cook and the goats, and ordered that two mechanical goats be incorporated into the new clock being made for the building.
After the quirky clocktower display we witnessed, we entered a nearby military museum (it seemed like the entry for all museums were free on that day), where we spent about 20 minutes looking through the various weapons, swords and armour worn by the Polish in the many wars that they fought. I was quite surprised we actually went through the whole expedition given that almost everything was written in Polish.
Following the military museum, we went to the national museum of Poznan, which displayed a fine collection of art pieces, both modern and contemporary. Not being a great fan of art, I saw myself trying my very best to understand the underlying meaning of each art piece but to no avail. It turned out that the art piece that I understood the most was the evacuation map. After an hour of being an uncultured swine, I proceeded with the rest to the croissant museum, which provided a guided tour of the history of croissant, and how to make them. The guides were terribly entertaining, ensuring that almost everyone who wanted to participate had a chance to join in the fun of making croissants.
After an entertaining hour of watching my juniors make croissants and answering some questions, it was almost 3 pm. Being a short 15-minute walk away from the museum, we decided to walk back to our accommodations at IBB Andersia.
As almost all my previous accommodations have been in apartments or aparthotels, I was quite impressed by the facilities the hotel provided. Ranging from 2 toilets in a room, to a swimming pool, sauna and complimentary drinks, I knew I would definitely be enjoying my night here.
After about an hour of settling down, we went for a bit of shopping at the nearby shopping mall, before going to Pyra Bar for some cheap Polish cuisine. Having been to Eastern European countries so many times, I knew what to expect, and thus ordered food that was fitting to my palette (such as BBQ pork ribs, I really love those). The last time I tried beef tartar, I sure was disappointed.
We returned to our hotels, and I immediately changed into my swimming wear (together with Ari and Joshua), and headed straight for the pools. The swim was relaxing, but what was better was the sleep alongside the pool that came after.
Having not had a good sleep for almost 36 hours, the serenity and the ambience quickly overcame me and I dozed off. After an hour (or two?), we headed back to our rooms to shower, before heading out again (yes it was a very long day) for supper at a nearby Japanese restaurant. Despite having 3 dollar signs on Google maps, it was actually quite affordable, costing us less than 10 pounds each for a very decent meal.
After a lengthy conversation, we finally decided it was time to sleep, and we headed to bed.
We got up to a late morning, having a delicious breakfast at 10 before checking out at 12. Having covered most of Poznan on our first day, we headed to the Poznan Cathedral to check it out. The Poznan Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Poland and the oldest Polish cathedral, dating from the 10th century. Standing on the island of Ostrow Trumski, it was one of the main political centres in the early Polish state. Having been to many cathedrals before, I felt that the architecture of this cathedral did not differ much from many others around Europe.
Poznan Cathedral in the background
After the Cathedral, we headed to a nearby modern museum of Polish history. Having been to a similar museum back in my time at Warsaw and Krakow, I decided to do something more exciting, and so I got Joshua to accompany me to go go-karting. At the go-kart arena, we found out that the Laser tag prices were really cheap as well, and thus we proceeded to go for a 20 minutes round with 4 other random Polish people. I was surprised at how army training really benefitted me at laser tag, with results much better than I expected.
Laser Tag with the Poles
After waving the Poles goodbye, we headed next door to the racing track, where we raced with more Poles. Being the first time go-karting with protective gear, I was slightly nervous at the initial speed of the kart, but soon got used to it. After a series of aggressive overtaking, dangerous driving, and almost dislocating my shoulder, I managed to get a few good laps. Nonetheless, my speed could not be compared with that of one of the Poles, who clearly had better control of the kart than me.
After two rounds of exhilarating races, it was time for dinner and finally our flight back home. We had some traditional Polish dumplings for dinner (not really my favourite, but it was their speciality), we Ubered to the airport and boarded the flight back home.
All in all, it was a really fun (and really cheap!) trip, costing less than 100 pounds in totality. Coming up next week, Riga!
Streets of Poznan