How to Survive in Poznan 

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.

First, some basics

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.

Getting around

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.

WALK

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?” 

 

Taxi

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 kilometer.

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 around. 

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. 

 

Tram/Bus

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 city.

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 Grundwaldska, 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 Bukowska, between 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 surcharge.

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.

 

Where to eat?  

There are a few non-fancy places that are actually pretty good and keep you from starving the first few days.   

Kebab Grill—On 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 minutes.
  • 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! 
McDonald’s—On Dabrowskiego. 
  • 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 ~15Z. 
Piccolo Spaghetti Bar—Just before McDonalds.
  • Three kinds of spaghetti sauce, and that’s it. 4Z’s for a thing of spaghetti. You can order a double for double the price. 
  • Amazingly good for the money.
Pizza Hut—On FDR Drive.
  • Keep going up Grundwaldska on to where it, and Bukowska, become one. 
  • 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.  
Donatello’s—on Przybyszewskiego
  • 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 Bukowska.

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 cleanerLimba. 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!

 


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