of archaeological significance, spanning the 1st to 15th centuries. The city is known for its ''kanafeh'', a popular sweet throughout the Middle East, and soap (Nabulsi soap) industry. History Classical antiquity WikiPedia:Nablus
as ''salanga'' (sun-dried and lightly smoked ''Alestes'' and ''Hydrocynus'') or as ''banda'' (smoked large fish). "Symposium on the evaluation of fishery resources in the development and management of inland fisheries". CIFA Technical Paper No. 2. FAO. 29 November – 1 December 1972. ''Carcaje'' is a popular sweet red tea extracted from hibiscus leaves. Alcoholic beverages, though absent in the north
for breakfast or crumbled over curry for dinner. Chicken, fish, and lamb or mutton are regularly used in dishes. The Omani halwa (Halva) is a very popular sweet, basically consisting of cooked raw sugar with nuts. There are many different flavors, the most popular ones being the black halwa (original) and the saffron halwa. Halwa is considered as a symbol of Omani hospitality, and is traditionally served with coffee.
zn8I4qEew9oC author1 Sarina Singh author2 Lindsay Brow author3 Paul Clammer author4 Rodney Cocks author5 John Mock title Pakistan & the Karakoram Highway year 2008 publisher Lonely Planet accessdate 28 December 2011 isbn 978-1-74104-542-0 page 60,128,376 Commons:Category:Pakistan WikiPedia:Pakistan Dmoz:Regional Asia Pakistan
the cheese melts. '''Zapiekanki''' can be found at numerous roadside stands and bars. In some bars ''placki ziemniaczane'' (polish potato pancakes) are also available. ''Knysza'' is a polish version of hamburger, but it's much (much) bigger and it contains beef, variety of vegetables and sauces. ''Drożdżówka'' is a popular sweet version of food-on-the-go, which is a sweet yeast bread (sometimes in a form of kolach) or a pie filled with stuffing made of: poppy seed mass; vanilla, chocolate, coconut or advocaat pudding; baked apples; cocoa mass; sweet curd cheese or fruits. Poland is also known for two unique cheeses, both made by hand in the Podhale mountain region in the south. '''Oscypek''' is the more famous: a hard, salty cheese, made of unpasteurized sheep milk, and smoked (or not). It goes very well with alcoholic beverages such as beer. The less common is '''bryndza''', a soft cheese, also made with sheep milk (and therefore salty), with a consistency similar to spreadable cheeses. It's usually served on bread, or baked potatoes. Both cheeses are covered by the EU Protected Designation of Origin (like the French Roquefort, or the Italian Parmegiano-Reggiano). Polish bread is sold in bakeries (''Piekarnia'' in Polish) and shops and it's a good idea to ask on what times it can be bought hot (in a bakery). Poles are often very attached to their favourite bread suppliers and don't mind to get up very early in the morning in order to get a fresh loaf. The most common bread ('''Zwykły''') is made of rye or rye and wheat flour with sourdough and is best enjoyed very fresh with butter alone or topped with a slice of ham. Many other varieties of breads and bread rolls can be bought and their names and recipes vary depending on a region. Sweet Challah bread ('''Chałka''' in Polish) is sold in many bakeries. Polish cake shops (''Cukierinia'') are also worth mentioning, as there's a big tradition of eating cakes in Poland. There can be found in every city and quite often sell local specialities. The standard cakes and desserts which can be found in every region of Poland are: cheesecake ('''Sernik'''), applecake ('''Jabłecznik'''), yeast fruit cakes ('''Drożdżówka''') - especially with plums or strawberries, variety of cream cakes ('''Kremówki'''), '''Babka''' which is a plain sweet cake, sometimes with an addition of cocoa, '''Mazurek''', '''Fale dunaju''', '''Metrowiec''', '''Ciasto jogutrowe''' which is a sponge filled with yoghurt mousse, doughnuts ('''Pączki''') which are traditionally filled with wild rose petals marmalade, '''Pszczółka''' - a yeast cake with coconut pudding and many others. Polish sausages ('''Kiełbasy''') are sold in grocery shops or in butcher's shops (''Masarnia''). There are tens of different types of sausages, most of them can be enjoyed without any further preparation. Therefore there are sausages like '''Biała kiełbasa''' (traditionally enjoyed in '''Żurek''' or '''Barszcz biały''' soup) which are raw and need to be boiled, fried or baked before eating. Some sausages are recommended to be fried or roasted over a bonfire (which is probably as popular as barbecuing). Different local sausages can be found in different regions of Poland (like '''Lisiecka''' in Krakow area). Milk bars If you want to eat cheaply, you should visit a milk bar (''bar mleczny''). A milk bar is very basic sort of fast food restaurant that serves cheap Polish fare. Nowadays it has become harder and harder to find one. It was invented by the communist authorities of Poland in mid-1960s as a means to offer cheap meals to people working in companies that had no official canteen. Its name originates from the fact that until late 1980s the meals served there were mostly dairy-made and vegetarian (especially during the martial law period of the beginning of the 1980s, when meat was rationed). The milk bars are usually subsidized by the state. Eating there is a unique experience - it is not uncommon that you will encounter people from various social classes - students, businessmen, university professors, elderly people, sometimes even homeless, all eating side-by-side in a 1970s-like environment. Presumably, it is the quality of food at absolutely unbeatable price (veggie main courses starting from just a few złoty!) that attracts people. However, a cautionary warning needs to be issued - complete nut jobs do dine at milk bars too, so even if you're going to for the food, you'll end up with dinner and a show. Curious as to what the show will entail? Well, each show varies, but most of them will leave you scratching head and require the suspension of reality. thumbnail right Despite their undeserved reputation as vodka-drinkers, Polish people actually drink more beer than any other alcoholized beverage (File:06592 Holiday Folk in Niebieszczany.jpg) Drink Poland is on the border of European "vodka" and "beer culture". Poles enjoy alcoholic drinks but they drink less than the European average. You can buy beer, vodka and wine. Although Poland is known as the birthplace of vodka, local beer seems to have much more appeal to many Poles. Another traditional alcoholic beverage is mead. Polish liqueurs and ''nalewka'' (alcoholic tincture) are a must. Officially, in order to buy alcohol one should be over 18 years old and be able to prove it with a valid ID (which is strictly enforced). Beer Poland's brewery tradition began in the Middle Ages. Today Poland is one of top beer countries in Europe. Although not well known internationally, Poland traditionally sports some of the best pilsner-type lagers worldwide. The most common big brands include: * Żywiec (pronounced ''ZHIV-y-ets'') * Tyskie (pronounced ''TIS-kye'') * Okocim (pronounced ''oh-KO-cheem'') * Lech (pronounced ''LEH'') * Warka (pronounced ''VAR-kah'') * Łomża (pronounced ''Uom-zha'') Micro-breweries and gastro-pubs are on the rise, in particular in the larger cities, and many delicatessen or supermarkets carry smaller brands, including hand-crafted beers of many types. Vodka Common brands are: * '''Żubrówka''' (Zhoo-BROOF-ka) - vodka with flavors derived from Bison Grass, from eastern Poland. * '''Żołądkowa Gorzka''' (Zho-wont-KO-va GOSH-ka) - vodka with "bitter" (''gorzka'') in the name, but sweet in taste. Just like Żubrówka, it's a unique Polish product and definitely a must-try. * '''Wiśniówka''' (Vish-NIOOF-ka) - Cherry vodka (very sweet). * '''Krupnik''' (KROOP-nik) - Honey and spices vodka, a traditional Polish-Lithuanian recipe (very sweet). During winter, many bars sell ''Grzany Krupnik'' (warm Krupnik), where hot water, cinnamon, cloves, and citrus zest or slices are added. * '''Żytnia''' (ZHIT-nea) - rye vodka * '''Wyborowa''' (Vi-bo-RO-va) - One of Poland's most popular rye vodkas. This is also one of the most common exported brands. Strong and pleasant. * '''Luksusowa''' (Look-sus-OH-vah) "Luxurious" - Another popular brand, and a common export along with Wyborowa. * '''Starka''' "Old" - A vodka traditionally aged for years in oak casks. Of Lithuanian origin. Deluxe (more expensive) brands include '''Chopin''' and '''Belvedere'''. Expect to pay about 100 zł a bottle (2007 prices). Most Poles consider these brands to be "export brands", and usually don't drink them. * '''Biała Dama''' (Be-AH-wa DAH-ma) is not actually a vodka but a name given by winos to cheap rectified spirits of dubious origin, best avoided if you like your eyesight the way it is. *'''Sobieski''' - rye vodka, one of the most commonly chosen by Polish people. There are also dozens of flavoured vodkas. Apart form polish traditional flavours like: Żubrówka, Żołądkowa, Wiśniówka and Krupnik, you can easily buy some less obvious flavours like: pineapple, pear, blackcurrant, cranberry, grapefruit, apple, mint, lemon, herbs and others. The availability of different brands can vary in different regions of the country. Wine Poland does make wines around Zielona Góra in Lubuskie, in Małopolskie, in the Beskids and in Świętokrzyskie in central Poland. They used to be only available from the winery or at regional wine festivals, such as in Zielona Góra. But with a new law passed in 2008, this has changed and Polish wines are also available in retail stores. As for imported wine, apart from the usual old and new world standards, there is usually a choice of decent table wines from central and eastern Europe, such as Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, the Balkans, and Georgia. It winter, many Poles drink ''grzaniec'' (mulled wine), made of red wine heated with spices such as cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. A similar drink can be made with beer, although wine is the more popular method. Mead Mead - ''miód pitny'' is a traditional and historical alcohol drink in Poland. Mead is brewed from honey and has excellent unusual taste similar to wine. Original Polish mead contain 13-20% alcohol. Sometimes it can be very sweet. Today Poles have a strange relationship with mead. All of them have heard of it, almost none have ever tried it. Cocktails Poles are very keen on beer and vodka, and you'll find that cocktails are often expensive but can be found in most bars in most major cities. One of the best known native to Poland drinks is ''Szarlotka'' made of ''Żóbrówka'' vodka and apple juice. thumbnail right Polish people traditionally drink tea from glasses, not cups (File:A glass of tea in Poland 845.JPG) Tea and coffee thumbnail right Due to the proximity of the Turkey Ottoman Empire (File:01141 Pischinger (chocolate oblaten cake), Sanok 2011.jpg), with whom Poland used to share a border and fought many wars, the country was one of the first in Europe to take to drinking coffee Throw stereotypes out the door. For Poles, one of the most important staples to quench their thirst is not ''wódka'' or beer, but rather tea and coffee. When ordering a coffee, you'll find that it is treated with respect reminiscent of Vienna, rather than, say, New York. Which is to say: you'll get a fresh cup prepared one serving at a time, with table service that assumes you'll sit down for a while to enjoy it. Mass-produced to-go coffee remains highly unpopular, although chains such as ''Coffee Heaven'' have been making inroads. Curiously, there are still only a few Starbucks shops in the whole country, which are occupied mostly by teenagers. Ordering a tea, on the other hand, will usually get you a cup or kettle of hot water, and a tea bag on the side, so that the customer can put together a tea that's as strong or as weak as they like. This is not uncommon in continental Europe, but may require some adjustment for visitors. Drinking tea with milk is not popular, traditionally Poles add a slice of lemon and sugar, unless they drink flavored tea. Tea houses with large selection of good quality teas and a relaxing atmosphere are gaining popularity. Funnily, drinking tea with milk is commonly believed in Poland to enhance women's breasts. For the most part, a good coffee can be had for 5 - 10 zł a cup, while a cup of tea can be purchased for the same, unless you happen to order a small kettle, in which case you'll probably pay something between 20 - 30 zł. Water Drinking water with a meal is not a Polish tradition; having a tea or coffee afterwards is much more common. If you want water with a meal, you might need to ask for it - and you will usually get a choice of carbonated (''gazowana'') or still (''niegazowana'') bottled water, rather than a glass of tap water. As a result water is never free, and is pretty expensive too compared to the average price of a meal (about 4zl for one glass). Beware that even "still" bottled water, while not visibly bubbly, will still contain some carbon dioxide. Carbonated mineral waters are popular, and several kinds are available. Poland was known for its mineral water health spas (''pijalnia wód'') in the 19th century, and the tradition remains strong - you can find many carbonated waters that are naturally rich in minerals and salts. You can also travel to the spas such as Szczawnica or Krynica, which are still operational. Opinions regarding the safety of tap water vary: odds are its OK, but most residents opt to boil or filter it anyway. thumbnail right You can find accommodation even in the most remote parts of Poland (File:Samotnia noca 01.jpg) Prices Poland is still one of the cheapest countries in the European Union and it's prices for food, beverages and tobacco are amnong the very lowest. Sleep Poland is catching up with Western Europe when it comes to availability and standards of lodging. After Euro 2012 championships, the situation in Euro host cities in particular is now comparable to most other cities in Northern and Western Europe. Many smaller towns and locations less frequented by tourists still offer very little choice of accommodation and the existing providers make use of it rather by offering low standards than charging extortionate prices. In large cities, both in hotels and hostels, you can expect staff to have reasonable command of English, and often other foreign languages. In less frequented locations, the language barrier may be a problem. Prices Lodging prices are no longer the bargain they used to be several years ago; now they're comparable to standard European prices. For the bargain hunter, standard tactics apply: if hotel prices are too much, look on the Internet for private rooms, pensions, or apartments for rent, which can sometimes be found for a very reasonable price. Best deals are usually offered off-season. thumbnail right Sofitel Grand in Sopot (File:Sopot-grandhotel.jpg) Hotels thumbnail right Intercontinental in Warsaw (File:Intercontinental Warszawa.JPG), the tallest hotel in Poland Only one major hotel chain has a decent coverage of the entirety of the country, and this is Accor, who have taken over the former state-owned provider Orbis (and still operate several hotels by that name as of 2013). A selection of hotels ranging from the affordable ''ibis'' through business-oriented ''Novotel'' and ''Mercure'' and prestigious ''Sofitels'' can be found throughout the country. Do note that while almost all ibis-hotels have been purpose-built in the 2000s, Novotels and Mercures are often converted old Orbis hotels and may not be the best hotels those brands have to offer in Europe. Please note than even Accor has gaps in coverage in less tourist-frequented areas. The most popular global hotel chains (Intercontinental, Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, Carlson) have some presence in Poland, but none can really boast full coverage of even the most important cities. There is a number of Best Western-affiliated hotels, but they do not cover the entire country as well. Of particular note of the motorized travellers on a budget is the presence of another French chain, Campanile. Hostels Hostels affiliated with the national hosteling association are often horrid options for backpackers because of imposed curfews. Additionally, Hosteling International (HI) affiliated hostels are frequently used by large school groups, which means young children may very well be screaming their heads off and running around the halls. Some private hostels are clean and welcoming, but others can be worse than HI hostels. Stay safe The European '''unified emergency number 112''' is being deployed in Poland. By now, it certainly works for all mobile-phone calls and most land-line calls. There are also three "old" emergency numbers that are still in use. These are: * Ambulance: 999 ('''Pogotowie, ''dziewięć-dziewięć-dziewięć''''') * Firefighters: 998 ('''Straż Pożarna, ''dziewięć-dziewięć-osiem''''') * Police: 997 ('''Policja, ''dziewięć-dziewięć-siedem''''') * Municipal Guards: 986 ('''Straż Miejska, ''dziewięć-osiem-sześć''''') it is a kind of auxiliary Police force found only in large cities. They are not armed and their role is primarily to cope with parking offenses and minor cases of unsocial behavior. thumbnail right When in trouble, report immediately to the police (''Policja'') (File:2014 Logo Policji Mońki.jpg) Theft Poland is generally a safe country. In fact, you are much less likely to experience crime in places like Warsaw or Kraków than in Paris or Rome. Overall, just use common sense and be aware of what you're doing. In cities, follow standard city travel rules: don't leave valuables in the car in plain sight; don't display money or expensive things needlessly; know where you're going; be suspicious of strangers asking for money or trying to sell you something. Pickpockets operate, pay attention to your belongings in crowds, at stations, in crowded trains buses, and clubs. In any case, do not be afraid to seek help or advice from the Police (''Policja'') or the Municipal Guards (''Straż Miejska''). Train Awareness Be astute on sleeper trains, as bag robberies happen between major stations. Ask for ID from anyone who asks to take your ticket or passport and lock backpacks to the luggage racks. Keep valuables on you, maintain common sense. Violence Violent behavior is relatively rare and if it occurs it is most likely alcohol-related. While pubs and clubs are generally very safe, the nearby streets may be scenes of brawls, especially late at night. Try to avoid confrontations. Women and girls are generally less likely to be confronted or harassed since the Polish code of conduct strictly prohibits any type of violence (physical or verbal) against women. By the same token, in case of a fight between mixed gender travelers, Polish men are likely to intervene on the side of the woman, regardless of the context. thumbnail Polish people tend to approach foreigners from far corners of the globe with friendly curiosity. One sign of openness to ethnic diversity is the election of John Godson, born in Nigeria, as a member of the Polish parliament (File:John Godson (10073201384).jpg) Racism Poland is a quite homogeneous society today, except for some national minorities like Ukrainians, Belorussians, Germans and ethnic minorities like Silesians, Cashubians, Lemkos, and Jews who have been a part of Poland for years and a small wave of migrants from Africa and East Asia, including Vietnam, who have settled in the larger cities in recent years. A lot of villages in Poland rarely have any foreign visitors, so most African or Asian people would get curious looks there - generally not because of racism, but only from pure curiosity. Of course, there are some people who don't accept foreigners, like the relatively small numbers of Neo-Nazis or football hooligans, nationalists or chauvinists. Except for the radical views of those kinds of people who you can meet almost anywhere, Poles are generally a polite and tolerant nation. As a traveller you will likely be treated in a friendly way here (see "polska gościnność" - Polish hospitality). A common Polish adage says: "gość w dom, Bóg w dom" - guest at home: God at home. thumbnail right EuroPride in Warsaw (File:EuroPride 2010 Warsaw Poland 23.jpg) LGBT LGBT issues remain very controversial, still very much taboo (although decreasingly so), and routinely exploited by conservative politicians. Polish culture also has a long tradition of chivalry and strong, traditional gender roles. That said, in larger cosmopolitan areas, gays and lesbians shouldn't have a hard time fitting in, although trans visitors will immediately attract attention. Driving Conditions Poles can be reckless and impatient drivers, and even at night time, driving can be dangerous. Drivers attack their act with a mix of both aggressiveness and incompetence. Guidelines and Lax, in practice are rarely followed. Roads are of varying quality, from very narrow, to very good, but traffic density is usually very high. Due to this, add 1 3 to half time to your usual average travel time. Quality of surface is usually (ca. 70%) "good" or "satisfactory"However, even national roads are often also used by pedestrians and cyclists. Children '''younger than 12 years old''' and who are shorter than 150 cm (4’11”) must ride in a child car seat. You must use headlights year round, at all times, day and night. The use of cellular phones while driving is prohibited except for hands-free models. Alcohol consumption is frequently a contributing factor in accidents. Polish laws provide virtually '''zero tolerance''' for driving under the influence of alcohol (defined as above 0.2‰ of alcohol in blood), and penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol are extremely severe. Note that your driver's license can also be confiscated when you are drunk without driving (e.g. bicycling). Cars are allowed to be parked on pavements if road signs don't restrict it. Therefore you should make sure there's 1,5 meter passage left for pedestrians and always check if the car is at least 10 meters away from any pedestrian, railway or roads crossing. If you don't apply to the rules you may find your car towed away. In a junction where's no signs specifying who should give way you should stick to the rule of right hand (''reguła prawej ręki''), which means that the vehicle on the right has the right of way. Polish drivers also like to warn each other over CB radios about any traffic obstructions and police speed controls. Single front lights flash from a car coming from the opposite direction means that there's police speed control on the way. Respect Etiquette Some men, particularly older men, may kiss a woman's hand when greeting or saying goodbye. Kissing a woman's hand is considered to be chivalrous by some, but is more and more often seen as outdated. Handshakes are acceptable; however, it is very important to remember that men should not offer their hand to a woman - a handshake is only considered polite if the woman offers her hand to the man first. For a more heartfelt greeting or goodbye, close friends of opposite sex or two women will hug and kiss three times, alternating cheeks. A fairly common practice is for people to greet each other with a ''dzień dobry'' (good day) when entering elevators, or at the very least, saying ''do widzenia'' (good bye) when exiting the elevator. It is usual to bring a gift when invited to someone's home. Flowers are always a good choice. Florists' kiosks are ubiquitous; be sure to get an odd number of flowers, as an even number is associated with funerals. Poles will often bring vodka or whisky, but this depends on the level of familiarity, so tread carefully. It is customary to hold doors and chairs for women. Poles are generally old-fashioned about gender etiquette. Men should not wear hats indoors, in particular when entering a church. Most restaurants, museums, and other public buildings have a cloakroom, and people are expected to leave bags and outerwear there. The practice of placing one foot on a chair while reading or studying something is very much frowned upon. It is advisable to refer to Poland (as well as to some other countries like Czech Republic, Slovakia, or Hungary) as Central Europe, and not Eastern Europe. Although not very offensive, if used, it may reflect foreigners' ignorance and a certain disrespect of the history and clearly Latin cultural heritage of the countries from the region. Poles themselves refer to the "old" EU west of its borders as "Zachód" (West) and to the states created after the break-up of the USSR as "Wschód" (East). Geographically this is borne out by drawing a line from the tip of Norway to Greece and from the Urals to the coast of Portugal. For better or worse, Poland remains at the cross-roads of Europe, right in the continent's center. In global terms, politically, culturally and historically, Poland belongs to "the West". Another small faux pas involves confusing Polish language with Russian or German. Poles value their language highly as it was kept at a high price during a longer period of oppressive depolonisation during the partitions and WWII. For example this means not saying 'spasibo' or 'danke' for 'thank you' just because you thought it was Polish or you didn't care. If you're not sure if your 'Polish' words are indeed Polish or not it would be seen as extra polite to ask. Religion The Poles may well be the most devoutly Catholic people in Europe. The late Pope John Paul II in particular is adored here, and the Church is held in generally high esteem. Bear this in mind if religion is brought up in conversation with a Pole. Also be sure to dress modestly if you enter a church, especially during services. The Holocaust The Holocaust was the genocide of European Jewry. It was a particularly painful time for Poland. Among the victims, 3 million were Polish Jews. Additionally, over 3 million non-Jewish Poles were also murdered, mostly by the Germans, and many others were enslaved. Many members of minority groups, the intelligentsia, Roman Catholic priests, and political opponents of the Nazis were among the dead. Between the census of 1939 and the census of 1945, the population of Poland had been reduced by over 30% from 35 million to 23 million. Nevertheless, unfortunately there are some small-minded right-wing groups that persist, and one may still shockingly encounter anti-Semitic graffiti in most town and cities. Bear in mind that using phrases such as "Polish death camps" or "Polish concentration camps" is an ultimate faux pas while having a conversation about history. Any reference made to Polish involvement in the Holocaust as well as belittling the number of Polish victims is pretty much walking on a very, very thin ice. Connect Mobile phones There are four mobile phone operators in Poland: Plus (''code 260 01''), T-Mobile (formerly ERA) (''260 02''), Orange (''260 03'') and Play (''260 06''). About 98% of the country is covered by the standard European GSM 900 1800 MHz network, the remaining 2% are wildlife reserves or high mountains. 3G is available in almost every town. LTE networks were recently deployed by Plus and Cyfrowy Polsat Due to the introduction of virtual brands, some operators now have two names for their prepaid services: Plus has ''Sami Swoi'' and ''Simplus'', T-Mobile has ''Heyah'' and ''Tak Tak'', while Orange operates ''Pop'' and ''Orange Go''. Domestic call rates are roughly the same across all services. Prepaid starter kits with SIM card (called starter in Polish) are widely available in reasonable prices (PLN5-20, most of which is available for calls), in most of the shops, supermarkets and news agents. Ask for starter and be sure to name the network you want. Accounts are valid for outgoing calls for few days, so it is good to fill them up for, lets say, PLN20 ("doładowanie" do-wa-do-vanye in Polish, be sure to give the value you want). Just about every shopping centre has at least one independent cellphone shop, the guys who run them are usually knowledgeable and have a range of cheap handsets which you can use as a local travel phone. This may be a good option since juggling SIM cards is always a pain. Polish telephone numbers All telephone numbers in Poland are 9 digits long, and never start with '''0''' — although they used to do so. Sometimes numbers are written ''the old way'', that is often only the last 7 digits are listed, in which case you need to prefix the now obligatory area code (e.g. 22 — Warsaw, 61 — Poznań, 12 — Kraków) OR a '''0''' is included in the beginning, in which case it must be skipped. As of yet, it does not matter whether you call from a land-line or a mobile. There are some special numbers, notably: * ''800 xxxxxx'' — toll–free call from a land-line phone and from a phone booth, but may still cost something from a mobile phone * ''801 xxxxxx'' — reduced fare, costs as much as a local call from a landline phone at most (but will cost more from a mobile phone) * ''70x xxxxxx'' — premium fare, can be very expensive — read the fine print in that advert you've got the number from :) On the other hand, cheap international calls can often be made through special numbers beginning with 708. Also, texting ( sending SMSes) to: * ''7xyy(y)'' and ''9xxyy(y)'' — Premium SMS, x is cost in Złoty plus 23% tax, e.g. 72yy costs 2.46 zł, 70yy is 0.50 zł + 23% VAT 0.62 zł, 910yy 12.30. * ''8xxx'' — is toll–free When calling abroad, use '''00''', or '''+''', and then country code. thumbnail right Hallo, Copenhagen (File:Adolphe Bitard - Téléphone cropped1-2.JPG)? International calls To call abroad from Poland: * From a landline phone: ''00'' ''Your Country Code'' The Number Abroad * From a mobile phone: ''+'' ''Your Country Code'' The Number Abroad To call to Poland from abroad, dial the Polish country code,''48'', then the number '''without''' the leading ''0'', as if calling from a domestic mobile phone. International and roaming calls are expensive. To reduce your bill you can: * buy "phone cards" for international calls * activate a Polish pre-paid account to make or receive calls (the cost can be as little as 20 zł) * talk over the Internet Internet If you're bringing a laptop, Wireless LAN Hot-Spots are available in distinct places, sometimes free, otherwise not very cheap. Best chances of finding one are at airports, railway stations, in cafés, shopping malls and universities. You can ask in your hotel, but be prepared to pay. For those who need to connect at an Internet-cafe, fear not, because Poland's major cities have Internet-cafes. Most coffee shops and restaurants have wi-fi available for customers - usually password-protected. Residential estates are of course full of wi-fi, a lot of it open, but there is anecdotal evidence of cyber crime so, as ever, best to be careful. With your mobile phone you can use: CSD, HSCSD, GPRS or EDGE, but the cost may be unattractive. UMTS HSPA is available in almost every big and mid-size cities. If your phone is not SIM-locked, you may consider purchasing a pre-paid SIM card designed for data access. Every mobile operator offering his own pre-paid internet offer. You may purchase Era Blueconnect Starter, iPlus Simdata, Orange Free na kartę or Play Online na kartę. Internet service from Era, Plus and Orange covers all country area with GPRS EDGE technology. In almost every big, medium and some small size cities it's possible to receive 3G 3.5G signal. If you have an internet-enable device that is not a phone but which has full audio capabilities (such as an iPod touch) you can of course use Skype etc. in a wifi spot. * '''T-Mobile''' - Blueconnect Starter - cost: PLN25 - 2GB data included - PLN0.30 1MB '''Plus''' - iPlus simdata - cost: PLN15 - 1GB data included - PLN0.03 1MB * '''Orange''' - Orange free na kartę - cost: PLN20 - 1GB data included - PLN0.10 1MB '''Play''' - Play Online na kartę - cost: PLN19 - 1GB data included - PLN0.03 1MB NOTE: Play network does NOT cover the entire country. You can use internet service only in cities listed on this map Be aware that in Poland the comma is used as a decimal point, and the space to group numbers. So, for example, '''''10 500,46 zł''' is ten thousand five hundred złoty and 46 groszy''. That said, the period is increasingly often used as the decimal point, especially on price tags and bills. Occasionally a dot is also used as a grouping character. * It is illegal to drink alcoholic beverages in public, though it's often done by the locals, especially in parks, on some buses, and some of the more congested city streets. Doing it puts you at risk of a small fine (from 50 to 100 zł), being scoffed at by the City Guards, and losing your booze. * It is illegal to be drunk in public. If you are drunk and disorderly, you may be taken to special place (''izba wytrzeźwień'') to sober up. If you are taken there, you will be treated as an alcoholic and won't be released until sober. And you'll have to pay 250 zł for the experience. * Possession of drugs is illegal and a criminal offense. ''ANY'' amount. * Since 2010, it is forbidden to smoke in bars and restaurants and generally in public buildings. It is also forbidden to smoke at or near bus stops. This rule, made to protect non-smokers, doesn't apply to smoking rooms. If you break the rule, you may have to pay 500 zł! Toilets The situation is not much different from other European Union countries. In large cities, particularly centres, one should have no problem finding accessible public toilets. It can become tougher in smaller towns and away from tourist destinations. While standards may vary in terms of quality and age of fittings and cleanliness, there is always a sit-down flush toilet (squat toilets, prevalent in many post-Soviet countries, are almost unheard of in Poland), a sink with running water, toilet paper, soap hand detergent and something to dry your hands with (paper towels and or electric dryers). Do note that in some places with extremely heavy traffic or little maintenance supplies may run out - it is best to have a pack of tissues handy, as any prudent traveller would. Some public toilets require a small fee, 1 or 2 złoty, but more publicly accessible toilets are free than in some other European countries. Relatively few toilets would have an attendant collecting the payment, which is the norm in some Western European countries. There are toilets at larger train stations and bus terminals (but not very small ones, so beware), but they are often not very clean, in poor condition and, despite all that, will generally charge fees for use. Toilets at airports are generally free, both air- and landside, and in much better condition than at train or bus stations. Toilets can be found on board all long-distance and some modern local trains, as well as on board of some long-distance buses, e.g. those operated by Polski Bus. In older train cars, toilets have often not been modernized since the cars went into use, but provide an acceptable experience (and toilet paper, soap and paper towels, except for very long routes when the train can run out of them before the staff gets a chance to restock at the end of the line). All gastronomic outlets are required to provide a toilet for their patrons, and most do so without any extra charges. While signs usually clearly indicate those are for (paying) customers only, the staff would usually make no problems if you inquired politely if you could use it without ordering anything. In some popular places, like McDonald's, you may need a key or a code to access the toilet. Ask the staff for either (in fast food outlets, the code is often at the bottom of your bill). There are also free public toilets in large shopping centres and hypermarkets, but smaller establishments (supermarkets, street-level shops) do not provide such facilities at all. In case of larger events, organizers provide so called '''Toi-Toi''' portable toilets (from one of companies that service them). They are narrow plastic booths, usually blue, not very comfortable, often not very clean, and hardly ever with water or paper. There are also toilets at all but the smallest gas stations. Whether they are paid or free, as well as their standards may vary greatly, but on the road those may be your only option. There are relatively few free-standing public toilets in cities, unlike in many other European countries. It is a better bet to look for any of the above establishments than for a free-standing public toilet. Toilets for women are marked with a circle on the door, and toilets for men are marked with a triangle. The polish word for "toilet" is ''toaleta'' (t'o-ah-let-ah), and most people would understand the word "toilet" anyway. WikiPedia:Poland Commons:Category:Poland Dmoz:Regional Europe Poland
. The largest tributary of the Syas is the Tikhvinka River (right). '''Viktoria Yevgenyevna Volchkova''' (