A weekend in Poznan, Poland: Day One

When my friends Anna and Laura suggested doing a spa weekend I was well up for it…until I started looking around and realising it was gonna cost some mega bucks. When I announced I’d booked us a weekend away, complete with overnight stay and massage for just under £65 each they couldn’t believe the value! There was a slight catch though…it was in Poland.

Isn’t England a funny place? It’s cheaper for me to travel 900 miles for a massage than to the spa place 5 miles down the road. Due to Anna having prior commitments on the Friday we flew out from Stansted first thing on Saturday morning, via Ryanair.

Our 8am flight got us to Poznan by 11.30am, from which it was a quick 15 minute bus ride into the centre via the route 59 bus. The bus tickets cost just 4.60pln (about 90p) each. The final stop was our destination, Poznan Glowny.

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Doesn’t it look like this building has a beard?

Arriving into town it was a hub of activity. We’d happened to book our weekend at the same time as the Polish independence day and Poznan was preparing for its parade upon our arrival. Hundreds of people lined the streets but we weaved our way between them to make our way to our lunch destination.

I’d made a reservation at Ptasie Radio, and it was certainly needed as we arrived to a queue and people already vying for our table. The decor of the place was lovely, it was very shabby chic and the drinks were beyond good value. We soon had a litre of prosecco in front of us, which cost us about £6.

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The food was really delicious, I had a pumpkin risotto and my friend and I also shared a plate of pierogi. My risotto cost approximately £3, such amazing value for such a high standard, no wonder the reservation was needed.

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We continued our walk onto our accommodation for the night, the very centrally located Explorer Hostel. I had booked us a triple room, which cost £40 for the night. It had a large bathroom and hallway area and a reasonable sized room. It was perfectly cozy and comfortable.

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We didn’t spend long in the room, more of a bag drop, as we wanted to make the most of our weekend. The previously overcast sky had got darker and soon we were walking around in the rain. That didn’t stop us from enjoying the huge amount of beautiful buildings we were finding.

We found the beautifully coloured former Jesuits college, founded in 1570 as a place from friars to teach young people and now houses the city council.

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The pink facade continued onto the Fara church, another wonderful feature of the city.

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The town square was very busy, possibly due to the independence day celebrations. There was a food fair going on, with the largest vat of soup I’ve ever seen in my life, and even some live music from… erm some singing chefs?

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The highlight of the town square was certainly the town hall itself, a stunning building which was the seat of the local government until 1939. The building has a mechanical clock, which plays at noon, where two mechanical goats butt heads. We were way too late by this point to see that but I’m a HUGE goat lover so I still loved the association.

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Around the town hall also sits a delightful selection of the most beautifully coloured town houses. Despite the poor weather it seemed impossible to get a bad picture of these, their bright colours jumping out everywhere you turned.

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From the town hall we walked past the yellow facade of the Church of St Francis, erected in 1661 after the orignal church was burnt down by the Swedish, and the Royal Castle, which dates from 1249 and was once the largest castle in Poland. Unfortunately most of it was destroyed in World war II but what remains is still impressive.

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As we perused the streets my eyes were drawn to Bubble Waffle, a place selling…well I’m sure you can guess. Although quite busy we managed to get some stools and I bought myself a white kinder bueno bubble waffle, which was super yummy!

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By now it was 5pm and that meant one thing, time for our massage, the whole reason we were in Poland! I had done some research and Thai- Land massages seemed a very well reviewed place. Having never had a Thai massage before and deciding some of the photos looked a bit…scary we opted for an aromatic oil massage which claimed to be more relaxing.

Anna was left in a room downstairs whilst Laura and I were taken to a room upstairs, separated by a curtain and asked to undress into some paper knickers. The knickers were pretty much the only piece of dignity we held onto during the massage. Those ladies sure do get you into some positions!

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I’m saying I enjoyed about 45 minutes of the massage, there was about 15 minutes where I was pretty sure she was going to break me. A week after our trip and Laura still had bruises on her legs! Anyway the service was very friendly (despite the bruises) and afterwards they treated us to a lovely Thai tea.

After heading back to our hostel to shower off the oil we headed back into town for dinner. I had originally wanted to eat at Wiejskie Jadlo, a well reviewed restaurant, but they didn’t respond to my reservation requests and when we turned up it was clear there was no chance of being seated.

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For a while our luck deserted us as restaurant after restaurant turned us away. I’m guessing that, despite being off season, the national holiday had bought extra people out for the night. We soon happened upon Eatalia food and wine, a relatively quiet restaurant that had a nice looking menu.

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Although a bit more expensive than your average dinner the food was truly sensational! Main meals were about £8, although they did have pizza and pasta options that were less than half that! We decided to treat ourselves with some of their more expensive dishes and I cannot tell you how good it was.

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The service was really friendly, the waiter talked us through every dish on the menu but my only criticism was that after they collected our dinner plates we were pretty much forgotten about, meaning we soon ran out of patience on waiting for a dessert and in the end went to find them to collect our bill.

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By this point we were pretty exhausted, our 4am get up was truly catching up with us and we trudged back to the hotel, taking a moment to appreciate the beautiful uplit buildings. It was certainly a wonderful first day for my first trip to Poland!

Steps walked: 16,775

 

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