“Pokochaj jesień” by Tadeusz Karasiewicz

Posted on 30. Sep, 2015 by in Nature, Poetry

Autumn (jesień) is probably my favorite time of the year…I love warm days, but cooler mornings. Love to sit on the deck and have coffee in the morning, looking at the beautiful  colors of the nature:)


Image by Natalia Brandenburg on http://ddlodz.pl/polska-zlota-jesien-w-lodzkich-parkach-zdjecia/

Fall in Poland is amazing! Colors are beautiful…and it reminds me a lot about home, apple picking ( I grew up on an orchard farm), long walks in the woods, mushroom picking:)

What’s better than that?   Here is a beautiful poem by Tadeusz Karasiewicz about loving fall:)

Pokochaj jesień

Love Autumn

Spróbuj pokochać jesień

z niesamowitymi urokami

spójrz ile piękna niesie

obdarzając cię nowymi dniami.

Try to love autumn

with amazing perks

Look how much beauty it brings

giving you new days.

Kolorowo jak wiosną

barwne liście ostatki zieleni

dadzą chwilę radosną

twą szarość życia mogą odmienić.

Colorful like spring

bright leaves remnants of green

will give a joyful moment

they can change your gray life.

Wieczór szybciej nastaje

słońce też znika wcześniej niż latem

lecz nowe czy nie daje

chwile spokoju, skorzystaj zatem

Evening quickly sets in

the sun also disappears earlier than in summer

but new or does not give

moments of peace, use, therefore,

Tadeusz Karasiewicz

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Driving in Poland

Posted on 28. Sep, 2015 by in Regulations, Transport

Road conditions in Poland (Warunki drogowe w Polsce) differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Poland is provided for general reference only, and may not be completely accurate in a particular location or circumstance. I have to say that driving in Poland is totally different than driving in USA…Although you probably get used to it fairly quick:)


Image found on polandian.wordpress.com

You must have an International Driving Permit (IDP) – Międzynarodowe Prawo Jazdy – obtained prior to departure from the United States and a U.S. driver’s license in order to drive in Poland. A U.S. driver’s license alone is not enough, and U.S. citizens cannot obtain IDPs in Poland. Only two U.S. automobile associations — the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the National Automobile Club (NCA) — have been authorized by the U.S. Department of State to distribute IDPs.

According to Polish law, an international driver’s license is only valid for six months. If you plan to stay for more than six months in Poland, you are required to obtain a Polish Driver’s License. Polish roadside services, while not always at the level of services in the United States, are rapidly improving. The Polish Automobile Association (Polski Związek Motorowy Auto-Tour) has multilingual operators and provides assistance countrywide 24/7. You can reach them by calling (22) 532-8427, or (22) 532-8433. The police emergency number is 997, fire service is 998, ambulance service is 999, and the general emergency number is 112. Seat belts are compulsory in both the front and back seats, and children under the age of 12 are prohibited from riding in the front seat. Children younger than 12 years-old and who are shorter than 4’11” must ride in a child car seat. You must use headlights year round, at all times, day and night (that’s the habit I brought from Poland and I always drive with headlights on here in USA). The use of cellular phones while driving is prohibited except for hands-free models. Making a right turn on a red light is not allowed (Wykonywanie skrętu w prawo na czerwonym świetle nie jest dozwolone) Turning right on red with a green arrow is the equivalent of turning right on red in the United States. Unlike in the United States, the green arrow in that case does NOT give you the right of way. Police will ticket for traffic violations, and fines can be substantial. If you are a non-resident, you are expected to pay fines immediately to the police officer issuing the ticket. You must be prepared to pay in local currency, though in some cases credit cards are accepted.

Road fatalities are high in Poland, placing it among one of the more dangerous places to drive in Europe. There has been a substantial increase in the number of cars on Polish roads and driving, especially after dark, is hazardous. Roads are sometimes narrow, poorly lit, frequently under repair (especially in the summer months), and are often also used by pedestrians and cyclists.

Alcohol consumption is frequently a contributing factor in accidents. Polish law provides virtually zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol (pod wpływem alkoholu), and penalties for doing so (defined as a blood alcohol level of 0.02 or higher) include a fine and probation or imprisonment for up to two years. Penalties for drivers involved in accidents are severe, and can include imprisonment from six months to eight years or, in the case of drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs, up to twelve years.

Drive safe!

Safety and security while visiting Poland

Posted on 14. Sep, 2015 by in Safety, travel

When you travel to another country, you always think about safety (bezpieczeńtwo). Different things happen in different countries. Here are few tips for you about traveling/staying in Poland.

The terrorism threat (zagrożenie terroryzmem) in Poland is low, however, like other countries in the Schengen zone, Poland’s open borders with its neighbors (otwarte granice z państwami sąsiadującymi) allow for the possibility of terrorist groups to enter/exit the country undetected. Please review the current U.S. Department of State Worldwide Caution for information on international and transnational terrorism operations against U.S. targets.

Poland generally has a low rate of violent crime, the incidence of street crime, which sometimes involves violence, is moderate. Major cities have higher rates of crime against residents and foreign visitors than other areas.


Organized groups of thieves (zorganizowane grupy złodziei) and pick-pockets operate at major tourist destinations, in train stations, and on trains, trams, and buses in major cities. Thieves often target overnight trains. Most pick-pocketing on trains occurs while boarding or disembarking. In a common scenario, a group of well-dressed young men surround you in the narrow aisle of the train, jostling and pick-pocketing you as they supposedly attempt to get around you. You should guard your passport, money, credit cards, and cell phone. The number of car thefts and carjacking has significantly declined over the past several years. Be wary of people indicating you should pull over or signaling that something is wrong with your car. If you pull over, you may find yourself suddenly surrounded by thieves from another vehicle. If you encounter someone indicating that there is trouble with your car, continue driving until you reach a safe spot (a crowded gas station, supermarket, or a police station) to inspect your vehicle. There have been incidents of thieves opening or breaking passenger-side doors and windows in slow or stopped traffic to take purses or briefcases from the passenger seat (siedzenie pasażera). Remember to keep windows closed and doors locked, and use parking garages and anti-theft devices. You should not leave valuables in plain sight inside vehicles, as this increases the opportunity for theft.

Under Polish law, if asked by Polish police, you must verify your identity by presenting a travel document (należy zweryfikować swoją tożsamość poprzez przedstawienie dokumentu podróży), a residence permit card (karta pozwolenia na pobyt), or an identity card issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Recently, the Border Guards (Straż Graniczna) have increased random travel document checks on trains originating from or transiting border countries. Border Guards may appear in plain clothes when requesting passports and other travel documents, which are scanned into a handheld scanner for verification. Tourists are expected to carry their passport with them at all times. Please ensure the security of your passport while traveling to prevent incidents of pick-pocketing or theft. Keep a copy of your passport bio data page (and any pages with valid visas) in a safe place separate from the passport itself; this can help you when applying for a new passport if yours is lost or stolen.

You should change money only at banks or legitimate exchange kiosks (Kantor). A legitimate offer to change money by an unknown person on the street is extremely rare and would almost certainly be a scam. Automated teller machines (ATMs – bankomaty) are widely available throughout major cities in Poland. Most Polish ATMs offer instructions in multiple languages and allow access to U.S. bank accounts.

Try to use machines at more secure or heavily traveled and monitored locations, such as commercial banks, large hotels, shopping malls, and airports. You should notify your bank of all international travel before you leave the United States, and monitor your personal bank account after traveling.

Polish bars and dance clubs are generally safe for the vast majority of visitors. However, as in many cities, people may approach you with offers of illicit drugs or prostitution, which are against the law in Poland. Be mindful that security personnel at nightclubs could respond more forcefully than at similar venues in the United States. Whereas casinos and gaming establishments are government-regulated, some are affiliated with, or have attracted the interest of, organized crime.

VICTIMS OF CRIME (Ofiary przestępstwa): If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. They can:

Replace a stolen passport;
Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of a violent crime, such as assault or rape;
Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities and, if you want us to, we can contact family members or friends; and
Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Poland is 112.

One more tip: There has been a significant influx of asylum seekers into Europe, causing localised disruption to cross-border road and train transport services. Travellers should be aware of the possibility of further disruptions, make appropriate contingency plans and follow the instructions of local authorities.

Safe travels!