What started out as a need to escape my new adult working life and potential boredom at home, ended up in a crazy trip full of insane places, fantastic people and countless memories that I’ll treasure. I spent 10 days in Poznan, Wroclaw and Prague and that little sprinkle of travel magic has kept my dreams alive and scratched my itchy feet for the time being.
For once, I don’t want to tell you about the places I visited, instead I want to describe my experience in them. Bear with me, I’m pretty rusty at this after a 3-month break from blogging.
I was due to fly out to Poznan, Poland, on the afternoon of Saturday 29th December, which fell at the end of a joyous week spent enjoying the festivities with my family. I laughed off all the extra calories (I let myself believe) and had a lovely relaxing time catching up with everyone. I was less prepared for this trip than any others over the past 4 years. Granted, it was a short trip, but I had done next to no research or even considered what I was doing.
What I mean by ‘prepared’, is being mentally prepared. Sure, I had remembered my passport and thermals, but I don’t think I had remembered to get excited for it or think about what lay ahead. I think this is good and bad. I had a marvellous time none-the-less, but I wish I had been readier for it.
I arrived at my lovely hostel in the evening and straight away met a Brazilian girl in my dorm. I’m not sure how I always get so lucky – but here we are. After a peaceful night’s sleep, we headed off for breakfast in a quaint Polish café and devoured our food. We chatted for a few hours about anything that sprung to mind, and by midday, I had still seen nothing of this little city.
Poznan really is a lovely place. It’s small, beautiful and full of character. There’s not much to actually do but there are some pretty places to wander around. We walked all day and stopped for coffee, a late lunch, and, later on, a delicious dinner. Basically, the first day of my trip was not spent getting to know Poland, but instead getting to know a new friend and eating my way through the first city.
It turns out, Poznan packs a punch. The buildings are truly Instagram-perfect, the churches are opulent as ever and the café-culture makes it feel very comfortable and chilled. My second day here was also New Year’s Eve, and as my new friend was heading to Krakow, I was considering how my new year would pan out.
Anyone who I told about my trip spanning over new year would ask me, almost in horror, what the hell was I doing going away, by myself, for new year? Obviously, they made it sound like it was an ‘interesting’ decision, not just a bad one, but I could hear the tone. Honestly, I was saying the same to myself. Why was I going away from all my friends and family over new year’s just so that I can have a little bit longer away before I must get back to work? Am I selfish? Am I stupid? Will I actually just feel sad and lonely when the bells ring at 12am as we enter 2019?
These were the questions running through my head as I wandered around alone on a chilly new year’s eve in the tiny Polish city of Poznan.
You know what? I got lucky again. I went back to the hostel mid afternoon as I started to lose feeling in my extremities and got chatting to someone in the hostel. After a few minutes he invited me to cook dinner with him, his friend and another few people from the hostel and have a little new year’s party. In minutes my new year got a lot better.
He was Dutch, and his friend was Spanish and boy did we cook up a storm. We prepared a big spread of delicious food that we also shared with the people working at the hostel. The party followed this with more food, drink, music and dancing. I got to know some great people that night and ended up spending the next few days with these 2 travellers as we were all heading to Wroclaw.
At 11:30 we ventured out to the main square, where Poznan’s celebrations were in full swing. Live music, fireworks in every direction and a crowd of happy people bringing in the new year together. We counted down to midnight in 4 languages between us and I felt true happiness as the bells rang and the fireworks started up again. The show was magnificent, and I celebrated with 3 new friends whilst on the phone to my boyfriend back home. He would be the only addition to the night to make it perfect.
I realised at this moment that this is what my trip was about. It was about new friends, unfamiliar places and putting myself out of my comfort zone, once again. That’s what it’s all about really, isn’t it?
I’ll be back with tales from Wroclaw shortly.
In the meantime, I hope you all enjoyed the festive period, however you spent it, and I wish you the very best for the New Year. 2019 will be a good one, I’m sure!
PS. It has been OVER 3 MONTHS since I last posted. It’s been a super busy time for me with work, moving flats, having no wifi for 2 months, going home for Christmas and being away for New Year. I even started writing this over a week ago and just haven’t managed to upload.
Never fear – wifi is coming and, with that, so will my letters.