How to Survive
So, here are some general “getting around” tips for all you new
folks. The main thing to remember is that everything is available here.
Everything. And, by and large, in the same way that one is used to. By
this I mean that you can go to the Ikea, or to the mall, or to the Office
Depot, the dry cleaner, the 24 hour post office, and everything in
between. It is just a matter of knowing where to go.
There are a few quirks, here and there. Kristen mentioned some things
elsewhere on this site. In general, it might be that your particular “Smell-B-Gone”
underarm deodorant is only available in the ‘vanishing solid’ variety
here…and not the ‘gel.’ It is true that lined notebook paper is
scarce. But paper itself is not. There are office supply stores
everywhere, bursting at the seams with gel pens, glue, and school supplies
you never even seen. There’s even the Office Depot if you get real
desperate. So, it’s just a matter of using plain paper, or paper of a
different size. Hardly tragedies.
To be very non-specific, prices are about the same, with food being a
bit cheaper. The only thing that might be more expensive, is stereo
equipment. That sort of thing is perhaps slightly higher than in the US.
Thus, it is not really worth shipping all that much. Again, you’ll
find everything (and more) that you need here. And, in roughly the same
format as back home—amazingly enough.
4 “Z’s,” that is, Zloty, (PLN) is roughly $1 US. 100 grosy in
each. So, 1g is one 100th of 25c.
To use the phone you need a phone card.
Most of the phones use a basic card available anywhere. Generally, the
phones are rectangular and blue. The card is to be had at kiosks, gas
stations, many small grocery stores, the tourist office in the
airport/train station, the post office. These are indispensable, as you
cannot use the phone without it. They’ll run you about 15z’s for 25
“points.” How fast these go varies on where you are calling. Locally,
they last forever, as they also do if you call the AT&T 008001111 11
11 number. Call Warsaw, or elsewhere in Europe, they go fast. Remember to
break the corner off before you use it. Get one (or three—you’ll use
them) as soon as you arrive in the airport, as they are used to dealing
with foreigners there, and will figure out what you need more easily.
There is another, “chip” card, but those phones are rare. Still,
you can get that card at the Aral (a 24 gas station that has the
necessities of any medical student staying up late – caffeine) , and
definitely at the post office.
All of the streets to which I’ll refer are on the map elsewhere on
this website. The directions I give are the simplest, not necessarily the
most direct. There are any number of shortcuts that you’ll pick up as
you go along.
First thing—get a map of Poznan. Everything will make a lot more
sense. They have them at the 24h Aral gas station on Rokietnicka, next to
Eskulap. There’s three ways to get around.
You know how to use them.
You can make it to most places on foot. It’s Europe.
School is 15 minutes.
The Old Town Square is about half an hour. Up Grundwaldska and Bukowska
to where they meet FDR. Then left, and take the first bridge to your right—there’ll
be an underground crossing. Then, keep going straight up Sw. Marcin for
about 10-15 minutes. All sorts of neat stuff along the way. Shops,
restaurants, travel agencies, libraries, museums.
You can also go up Dabrowskiego. It is roughly parallel, so same idea.
Up to FDR, over the bridge, and then straight. If you get lost, look lost
and say “Stare Miasto?”
You call them, and they come. It helps to get the aid of a Polish
speaker. See, you need a phone card already.
They will, obviously, take you anywhere.
96-22, and 96-24 are cheap. Actually, they are all cheap. It is best to
call, however, as there do exist “mafia” taxis.But, these are fairly
easy to spot.
Good taxis will have several features. They will be clearly labeled “Radio
Taxi.”They will have a little sticker on the passenger side back door
with the rates posted. They run anywhere from 1.20z’s to 1.80 per
Keeping that in mind, one should not have any trouble getting a taxi
even from a taxi stand. If the meter is not running, point it out. If it
seems like you have been overcharged, argue. They generally come
So, a trip from the airport should run you no more than about 15 z’s.
Maybe a tad more. A trip to the M1 mall (Ikea, huge hardware store,
and everything in between) runs 16z’s, tops. But don’t forget that it’s
a bit more evenings, weekends, and holidays.
Where you catch these is somewhat self-explanatory, as the various tram
and bus stops are quite visible. The thing to do here is to make sure you
have tickets. For the first few weeks bring a student ID—any fairly
recent student ID. High school, college, doesn’t matter, just to tide
you over until you get the official one from here. This allows you to ride
with an “ulgowy” ticket—student discount. Make sure that you have
some other form of ID to show proof of age. Not that it matters all that
much. One Z (25c) for a ten minute ticket isn’t going to kill anyone—half
off, the “ulgowy” rate, 50g’s, one of the great bargains in this
You buy these things wherever you get the phone cards, kiosks, tram
stops, the post office, everywhere. You can buy them in packs of ten, and
get one free, or individually. Give the kiosk lady a "Z" (again
that's short for Zloty) and say “ulgowy” and you’ve got it.
While you’re at it, pick up a route map too.
They go by time, ten minutes each (you can get longer ones, but that’s
for later). There are small, inconspicuous boxes on the hand-holds where
you punch them. Do so. It’s no fun to get busted. They do random checks.
Schedules are posted in the stops. They also list all the stops a
particular tram will make—so you can divine the route from that—if you
have a map.
To get you started, the 13 Tram takes you straight up
turns left, then right, and over the bridge and straight beyond down Sw.
Martin. Once it makes another sharp left turn, get off, you’re close to
the old town. It makes a big loop, and returns on the extension of
Dabrowskiego parallel to Sw. Martin.
Bus A goes to the M1 mall. You catch it on
Przybyszewskiego and Polna on the dorm side of the street. This bus is an
express, so it takes about 3-4 ten minute tickets, plus one extra—express
Bus 69 is on the same street, but on the other side, and closer to
Polna. It is a regular bus, and a ten minute ticket will take you to Piotr
I Pawel—the mega grocery supermarket.
There are a few non-fancy places that are
actually pretty good and keep you from starving the first few days.
Grundwaldska, towards Anatomicum.
- Go left out of Eskulap up
Prybyszewskiego. Across Marcelinska. Turn left onto Grundwaldska (you’ll see the
tram stop in front of you, across the street). Walk maybe five
- You’ll pass quite a few stores, then some grocery stores,
and it will be on your left
- Decent food of the grilled
variety. Dinner plate for 15PL, tops. ($3.50)
Milk Bar—Intersection of
Mtejki and Grundwaldska.
- Like going to Kebab. But go 5 min further to the major
intersection. There will be a tram stop, a crosswalk, an
internet café. Cross the street to your right, towards—and
past—the tram stop that is in the middle of the street. Then
bear left past the little kiosk and across the street again.
It will be directly in front of you.
- Polish food of every and any sort. Great quantities. Cheap.
Helps if you speak Polish, but not imperative. The menu is
confusing as they have, apparently, everything. But you can
simply ask if they have what you want, say, chicken, rice, and
sauce. They will tell you, and there you go!
Piccolo Spaghetti Bar—Just
- Up Rokietnicka from the dorms to
Polna. All the way to the
end of Polna. Take a right. A bit up, on the right, past the
open air market.
- It will take 20 minutes. Two Big Macs, fries and a Coke are
Pizza Hut—On FDR Drive.
- Three kinds of spaghetti sauce, and that’s it. 4Z’s for
a thing of spaghetti. You can order a double for double the
- Amazingly good for the money.
- Keep going up Grundwaldska on to where it, and
- You’ll only be able to go left or right. Go right. About 4
minutes on your right.
- Also, the 13 tram, which leaves from the tram stop I
mentioned in the Kebab entry, will stop at that intersection
before turning left on to the Old Town.
- It is right next to Kebab Grill and it's a five
minutes walk .
- Italian pizza joint. Not bad at all.
Otherwise, keep your eyes open. Restaurants, and other purveyors of
foodstuffs, literally abound. If you are desperate, these people deliver—though
it helps if a Polish speaker calls.
|Where to buy
food, and other stuff
When in doubt, there’s always the 24 hour Aral station next to Eskulap.
They have, amazingly enough, just about everything. But, being more
reasonable, there are a number of smallish, though amazingly well stocked
grocery stores in the area.
Above, I mentioned The M1 Mall. It is truly a one-stop-shop. It
contains countless clothing stores, as well as an electronics mega store.
It also contains what can be best described as a super Wal-Mart. It is a
supermarket combined with everything else. You can buy tuna fish, in cans,
and a flat screen TV.
In the same mall, there is a Praktiker. This is a large,
warehouse-style, hardware store. Like a Home Depot.
I’ve mentioned the Ikea that is in the same complex. Also nearby
is a Jumbo. This is a…well…jumbo supermarket. The Peter and
Paul (Piotr i Pawel) supermarket mentioned above is a bit closer,
though. Those are best for major, volumetrically serious shopping
excursions. Take public transportation there, and a taxi back.
Locally, there is Magnat Market, and another store right after
it—on Grundwaldska, just before Kebab.
A similar store is right behind the bus stop on
Also, behind there is a small office supply store, a store that sells
spare parts to home appliances, two odd kiosk/fruitstand/grocery stores, a
nice coffee shop (don’t mind the graffiti), and the local post office.
Up Polna, past Bukowska, on the left heading away from the dorms, is a dry
cleaner—Limba. Keep going up that way, and you’ll pass lots
of small odd shops. Up all the way, up on Dabrowskiego, you’ll find an
astounding array of shops—not just the McDonald’s I mentioned above.
It is possible to find most anything you desire, although it does take a
bit of effort. Shopping at M1 is a bit easier, as it is all consolidated.
Straight at the end of Polna, across
Dabrowskiego, is a carpet store
called Mercury. Also, there are several stores there with a
bewildering array of lighting options for your room.
Hopefully, all of this will be somewhat helpful in easing the first few
days of your stay here in Poznan. I have left many things out, of course.
But with a little initial orientation, it is easy to get around in this
city. You all should have no problems.
See y’all soon!