Studying Polish and Enjoying Desk Tennis In Poznan, Poland

by jpc_touring-bicycle

After ending my 6+ month bike tour throughout Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, The Isle of Man, Eire, and the UK, I spent a month residing in Sibiu, Romania after which flew to China and Taiwan for a 2-month-long bicycle touring journey in that nation.

Taiwan was nice, however I wished to get again to Europe to do some work, make some new associates and wait out the winter. In spite of everything that biking and continuous journey in 2014, I used to be prepared for an excellent, lengthy break! So I made plans to spend a full 2.5 months within the stunning metropolis of Poznan, Poland (a metropolis that lately has grow to be my unofficial second house).

With a view to get to Poznan, nonetheless, I needed to first fly from Taiwan to Shanghai, China. I spent an evening in Shanghai, then flew to London, England and spent one other evening there (Whereas in England I used to be egged by a bunch of native teenagers – which was a good way of being welcomed again into a rustic that I don’t actually like that a lot within the first place). Then, on Christmas Eve (2014), I flew to Berlin, Germany and checked right into a hostel, which is the place I spent the next three nights (together with Christmas Day).

For years now I’ve been eager to see the Christmas markets in Berlin, so this was an excellent alternative for me to see what all of the fuss was about. Frankly, I used to be somewhat dissatisfied. Berlin was virtually utterly empty and the Christmas markets had been a little bit of a bore being that I used to be there alone – utterly by myself.

The next 4 images present 1) the view from my resort/hostel window in Berlin on Christmas Day, 2) a piece of the Berlin Wall, 3) Brandenburg Gate on Christmas Eve, and the view from inside certainly one of Berlin’s bigger Christmas markets.

Berlin Wall segment

Brandemburg gate with Christmas tree and segways

Berlin Germany Christmas Market

After three nights in Berlin, I reassembled my bicycle (which I had stored packed away inside its cardboard bike field since leaving Taiwan), and took a three-hour prepare experience to close by Poznan, Poland – the town that will be my house for the following 2.5 months.

I’ve been to Poznan a number of occasions during the last couple years, however I had by no means been there throughout Christmas time, so I took the chance to stroll across the metropolis middle and see what sort of lights and decorations is perhaps in show.

Poznan Poland city square in winter

On New Yr’s Eve I used to be invited to hang around with my pal Ariadna and a few of her associates at their residence earlier than strolling into the town middle to see the fireworks go off because the clock rang within the New Yr and fireworks had been shot off into the air.

Ariadna Majewska and friends in Poznan, Poland

New Years in Poznan, Poland

There’s a big park on the outskirts of Poznan (not removed from the residence I rented on and I made a number of journeys to the park throughout my keep in Poznan. It’s an ideal place to stroll, run and experience bicycles… and this park is an enormous purpose why I like the town of Poznan a lot.

Poznan Poland city square in winter

Throughout most days in Poznan I’d sit in my residence, keep heat and do some much-needed laptop work. At evening I spent a variety of time strolling across the metropolis, taking images and simply watching the native folks go about their day.

Jesuits' college poznan poland

Poznan, Poland Stary Rynek city center

Poznan city hall at night

poznan poland black and white city center stary reynk

Capital City of Pozna?

Despite the fact that I got here to Poland to relaxation from driving my bicycle a lot (and to get a bunch of laptop work carried out on my numerous companies), I additionally managed to find time for a number of lengthy bike rides within the close by forests and to a number of of the close by cities. Whereas there was little or no snow this winter in Poland, the climate was fairly chilly, so I used to be completely satisfied that I used to be nonetheless carrying my winter face-mask. I did, nonetheless, need to buy a brand new set of winter gloves so my fingers wouldn’t freeze after I was out on my rides.

Darren Alff on bike ride on dirt path in poznan poland

My pal Erik Witsoe runs the Bigfoot Espresso Store in Poznan and he’s additionally an unbelievable photographer. After I’m not in Poznan, I watch his Fb web page and am blasted with unbelievable photographs virtually day-after-day from Poznan – a metropolis I now know fairly properly. After seeing so a lot of his images of Poznan, it was tough for me to stroll across the metropolis at occasions and never see the streets of Poznan via his eyes. The next two photographs are my closest makes an attempt at replicating Erik’s distinctive photographic model.

Erik Witsoe inspired photo of Poznan, Poland

Colorful POznan tram stop

One other huge purpose I got here again to Poznan, Poland this yr is as a result of the primary time I used to be right here I began taking ping-pong classes at an area college. Since that point I’ve actually gotten into enjoying desk tennis and I’ve even been carrying a ping-pong paddle round with me – simply in case I occur to discover a place to play throughout my travels (like I did after I was in Taiwan lately).

So I spent a number of nights in Poznan enjoying desk tennis – generally with my outdated teacher, generally with my pal Lukasz (who has his personal ping-pong desk within the basement of his residence), and generally with a brand new table-tennis teacher I started working with throughout my keep within the metropolis this time round.


dark scary streets in poland

After I was in Poznan final summer season (the summer season of 2014), I rented an residence from a younger lady named Karolina. Since that point, Karolina and her boyfriend Marek have invited me over to her home a number of occasions and launched me to a lot of her associates. This winter she invited me over to her home once more to have dinner together with her brother and his girlfriend, Lukasz and Marzena, and a number of other of Karolina’s different shut associates.

Table full of friends having dinner

Polish dinner party friends

Along with spending time with Karolina and Marek, I spent much more time with Lukasz and Marzena. I performed table-tennis with Lukasz a number of occasions every week, was invited over to play board video games with Marzena’s cousins from Jap Poland one evening, was taken to Lukasz’s work at on one event, and even acquired a tour of the College the place Marzena works as a part-time instructor.

poland board game girls

2.5 months appears like a very long time, however the days in Poznan glided by so extremely quick. I’d work in the course of the day, stroll round and take images at evening (or each time I wanted to take a break), after which return to my residence and work late into the night earlier than ultimately falling asleep. After months of sleeping in my tent and always touring about, it was good to easily be inside and heat, to have the ability to take a bathe every day, to by no means have to fret about discovering an Web connection, and by no means having to cope with the opposite numerous challenges that come about when you’re always on the transfer.





Je?yce Poznan Poland tram stop

old Je?yce poland railroads

Poznan POland street crossings

Someday Karolina known as and invited me to go on a stroll within the forest together with her and her pal Kaska. I really like getting out into nature, so I couldn’t say no! After our stroll within the woods, we went to a small cafe close by and loved some scrumptious Polish meals.

Kaska and Karolina walking in Poland forest in wintertime

Polish girls walking in the snow

I went out to breakfast with Karolina, Marzena and Kaska on a number of events throughout my keep in Poznan. Strolling up earlier than 11 AM was a bit tough for me, however it was value it to spend time with my new associates.

A couple of month earlier than leaving Poznan I made a decision to get some new Ortlieb panniers for my touring bicycle. I’ve had the identical set of crimson Ortlieb Bike-Packer and Sport-Packer panniers on my bicycle for the final 7 years or so… and whereas they had been in nice situation contemplating all I’ve thrown at them over time, I used to be prepared for a change. So I ordered a brand new set of the exact same panniers – however this time in blue as a substitute of crimson. I actually love these panniers and would really helpful them above all others!

blue Ortlieb bike packer and sport packer plus panniers

slate blue ortlieb panniers and handlebar bag

One weekend, my pal Karol got here from close by Wroclaw, Poland (the place he lives along with his girlfriend) and stayed with me in Poznan for 2 brief nights. Whereas he was right here we went out to a number of native eating places, frolicked with my pal Ariadna, talked lots about Web advertising and marketing (one thing we each do for a residing), and I took him on two lengthy bike rides across the metropolis. It was nice to see Karol once more after two full years – and to speak to somebody who’s life and work is so just like my very own.


One evening I went out for drinks and dessert with my pal Pawel who lives right here in Poznan. We went to this little cafe known as Swietlica that’s hidden away on the second story of the fortress that sits in the midst of Poznan. Ass quickly as I walked into the place, I heard somebody calling my identify (which is a wierd factor to occur if you’re touring alone in another country). Seems that the proprietor of the cafe acknowledged me because the “Bicycle Touring Professional” and was completely satisfied to provide me my tea/dessert without cost! How superior is that!?


Along with being acknowledged by the Swietlica cafe proprietor, I used to be additionally noticed on the streets of Poznan by a younger man named Przemek who later despatched me an e mail and recommended we meet up.

The truth is, we did meet up only a few days later… and we went on a motorcycle experience to a close-by forest the place a bunch of meteorites long-ago crashed into the native panorama, leaving a bunch of small holes/ponds within the floor there. After our bike experience, we went over to Przemek’s residence, the place I met his girlfriend (Julia) and spoke with the couple about their lives in Poland and my unusual way of life – always on the transfer.


Throughout my final week in Poznan, I started to arrange my physique, my thoughts, and my bicycle for the following main leg of my journey – an 850 km / 530 mi bike tour from Poland to Romania by means of Western Ukraine.

I purchased a brand new bike tube, some new USB rechargeable bike lights, some new winter goggles, and some different small gadgets. I put my new Ortlieb panniers on my bike and took my “new” touring rig for a spin across the metropolis.





I had hoped to get a bunch of labor carried out whereas I used to be in Poznan throughout these two-and-a-half months…. and I had hoped that I’d be practically fluent after a lot time within the metropolis. However ultimately, I didn’t get as a lot work carried out as I’d have favored… and regardless that I did be taught a variety of Polish, I’m nowhere even near being fluent (or actually even in a position to maintain a primary dialog). I did, nonetheless, reach that I spent a good period of time making associates. And that’s actually the principle purpose I got here again to Poznan within the first place!

As a result of I’ve spent a lot time touring by myself during the last 15 years, I wished to return to part of the world the place I knew I had not less than just a few associates, and the place I felt it is perhaps potential to make some new associates as properly. So whereas I didn’t get as a lot work carried out as I’d have favored throughout my keep in Poznan this time round, I do really feel like I succeeded in one other essential space of my life. And for that, I’d think about my time in Poznan a hit!


Now it’s time for the following a part of my journey. Ukraine and Romania – HERE… I… COME!!!

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