Witamy w Polsce! – Poland on a budget

When I heard that our next destination would be Poland, I had no idea what to expect. We arrived on Wednesday to Modlin Airport (40km from the centre of Warsaw), where we took a bus to Modlin train station and then a train to Warsaw Central. First two days we spent discovering Warsaw and on Friday we headed to Kraków for the weekend.

On our flight to Warsaw from Eindhoven (NL), we watched the movie “Schindler’s List”. For all who haven’t seen it yet, quickly go to watch it!!

What did I personally spend? And then us, a couple?

Travels in total (flights, train, bus) 
20€ / 40€
roundtrip Eindhoven – Warsaw (RyanAir)
60€ / 120€ public transport in Poland

Sleeping for five nights
80,5€ / 161€ Warsaw 2 nights 69€  + Krakow 2 nights 66€  + Warsaw 1 night 26€

Eating outside
64,60€ / 129,15€
3x Lunch & 5x dinner

Besides flights, we used public transport to travel Warsaw – Kraków
: 1 hr Modlin Airport to Warsaw (train + bus) approx. 9€ (38zl) [x2 in total 18€]
: 2.5 hrs from Warsaw to Kraków in Premium Intercity 35€ (150zl) [x2 in total 70€]
: 3.5 hrs from Kraków to Warsaw in normal Intercity 15€ (66zl) [x2 in total 30€]
: Single ticket for public transport approx. 90 cent (4zl) [x2 in total 1,8€]

We stayed with

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Old Town, Warsaw

Warsaw, Old Town Kanonia Hostel & Apartments
+ Location, in Old Town, middle of everything. Easy to reach from Central station of Warsaw by public transport.
+ Pleasant and friendly staff, lots of information and tips available
+ Clean, nice common spaces
– Rather loud, you could hear other people through the walls

Kraków, Welcome In Kraków Staszica
+  Location, 10 minutes walk from Kraków Old Town
+  Very nice apartment, clean and very cute decoration
+  The owners were extremely friendly and we even got some arrival chocolate
– The bed was actually a couch bed not real bed, but that was already informed in booking.com

Warsaw, Dream Loft Central
+ Friendly staff, though, the key was to be picked up from another location
+ Location was good, close to the station but only a short walk to the centre
– The building itself was a bit hidden and it reminded us from of some hounted buildings

Alchemia (Jewish quarters)
Lunch for two
1 x Hummus share-board 5,5€ (24,5zl)
2 x Pad Thai 7,4€ (or 3,7€, 16zl per person)
Local “John Lemon” lemonade 1,4€ (6zl)
Mango shake 1,4€ (6zl)
Total: 15,7€ (7,85€ per person)
Score: 7/10
Review: Food 8, atmosphere 4, price 7 out of 10

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And there we go again

Every time I get mad of not understanding what is happening around me, or someone makes a remark of the effort they are putting to speak English to me… I think of the same question: Why I find it annoying to speak about language matters?

I have put an effort on learning Dutch. I studied half a year in school and took private lessons, however, since I haven’t been learning for a while, my progress has been slower recently. My level in Dutch is high enough that I can’t fully block what is happening around me, but low enough to not to have courage to speak it too much.

No blame for the Dutch, they have treated me well by speaking English all the time and the times they forgot, it doesn’t really matter.  I guess in my home country, it is harder to get people to speak English anyway. Many countries still struggle with shyness of speaking other language, or the lack of learning other languages…

Should I speak English to be polite or Dutch for you to learn? Should she say to me if she wants me to speak English? Should I ask everyone in this table to speak English because she is here? Will I ever be fluent enough that they don’t switch to English? Will they ever know how this feels? Does it stay like that or do I feel 100% like home once?

Annoying to speak about language matters?

First of all. It is annoying because

  1. I still have not figured out, should they speak Dutch for me to learn or English to be polite
  2. It makes me miss my language and how free I feel while speaking it
  3. My English / Finnish vocabulary is not comparable

Besides these, it took a year to figure, but because

Other people have the power to decide for you whether you want to listen, comment, answer or pay attention… How many times have you heard, or said yourself?  “We spoke in English, because it was boring and nothing important to you”... See, there it is. A decision you made, or they made, for them or for you.

Just to clarify, I’m not complaining. More like thinking.

Our Budapest

We arrived to Budapest Airport with not much knowledge of Hungary nor Budapest. Four days later we are in love with the city and I personally wouldn’t mind moving there.

Let’s go through how our Budapest trip was.

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We flew with Transavia  for 54 EUR per person / roundtrip

We stayed with
Friends Hostel & Apartments Budapest
Two people, friday to monday 93 EUR (about 23 EUR / a night)

+ Helpful and very friendly stuff
+ Private apartment, excellent location. On the other side of the road of the Terror House
+ Right next to the Street Cakes where to get traditional the “Chimney cake”, but filled either with ice cream, whipped cream or chocolate sauce or all of those, topped with Kitkat, bounty or whatever is on the counter. Definetely worth of a visit! Two friendly girls running the shop

We ate at

Bro’s Kitchen
First night, hungry and amused by the city, first restaurant where we saw Duck on the menu – that was it. A busy restaurant, good food and nice Hungarian wines. Chili sweet potato fries and blue cheese mayo for starter, and duck potato bed for the main. 3.5/5

Zing Burger
Everywhere you travel – remember to taste a burger in a local restaurant. Since I can’t get enough of blue cheese burgers, I tried Zing’s blue cheese burger. The best burger place is still in Prague and Zing will get 3/5.

Sao Food & Bar
We found our way to this restaurant by accident, but as the dishes came, both of us were surprised and overjoyed. Best Asian restaurant so far! 5/5

Budapest Market Hall
The Lángos at the market is a bit more expensive than in other shops, but to get the full market hall experience, we had to taste it! All in one, the whole market hall is great. 4/5

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Padthai wokbar
Sunday in Budapest did not close only most of the shops, but some of the restaurants as well. First we tried Ramenka, and then Sao – both closed. Padthai wokbar was the first wok place to come across so that was it then! At padthai wokbar you could create your own wok, choosing from many options! Wok was fresh, spicy and budget friendly, and the quality surprised us both!
Hummusbar
Breakfast at Hummusbar. A humus pita with veggies and an egg. Different, delicious and friendly staff. 4/5

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Gelarto Rosa
The most famous ice cream shop of Budapest – As an ice cream lover, I was amazed that with such a “small effort” you can do something so pretty and capturing. I have a ice cream cone tattooed on to my leg, but when I saw the masterpieces of Gelarto Rosa, I thought of taking another one. 5/5

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We had drinks and fun at

Christmas market

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Szimpla Kert

We visited these touristic attractions (and much more…)

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We used this much

The trip (traveling & hostel) = 54 + 46.5 = 100.5 EUR
Dinner for two = 20-25 EUR including 10% tip
Drinks for two (one round) = 5 EUR

Next time we want to do this

  • This time we missed the famous baths, so for the next trip baths will be number one
  • “Ramenka” – a ramen restaurant needs a try! Now when I think of the trip, I know we saw so much but there is still so much more. More restaurants to try, districts to discover, castles to visit, explore the nature, go on the Sziget Festival….

Tips

  • Cash is always good to have – In some of the restaurants you can only pay by cash, and most of the bars accepts only cash
  • Most of the shops are closed on Sundays or have reduced opening hours. Besides the shops, your favourite restaurant might be closed then as well. (That happened to us) Check the opening hours in advance!
  • Don’t forget to tip

3 x Things Dutch people do (and why I care)

This post is not to hurt anyone, and I hope the Dutch friends I have will not walk away after reading it. This list is made out of my own observations and conclusions, and I will free myself from any type of responsibility according to the text. Enjoy!

1 Like every language, also the Dutch have their own nice and original twists in it. In Dutch language, every word usually gets “je” after the actual word. I´m not quite sure is it to make everything cuter or? If someone has an answer for this do tell! Why do I care: Anyway, I cant help it, but every time I hear it, this happens in my mind. Things get smaller.

Have you ever heard a Dutch saying in English “Let’s go for a small beer/ Let’s do a small beer before” Yeaha, this explains it right?

 

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2 They do “Stilte Saunas” – “Always the fuzz about Sauna. “We happen to know best, yes. OK so Silent Sauna. Sauna here is considered as a treat, which doesn’t happen often. Well, to the wellness centers I have gone to Sauna, they have Saunas that are called Finnish Sauna. But 90% of them, are silent. 60% of them, you cant pour water to the fireplace.

Why do I care: This is why I trust no-one.

3 Dutch keep asking questions. I read it somewhere before, the Dutch dont much enjoy being at the center of attention. They prefer to ask questions. Thousands of questions. Not only from foreigners but from everyone. It goes really funny when two Dutch meet for the first time and they both are avoiding being in spotlight. It doesn’t affect me in negative way, but it is still overwhelming to keep up with all the “????”.

Why do I care: More than 10 strangers knows way more than the should about my, from simple queuing, supermarket, bus, train – conversation. Its not that I blame those who ask, maybe I shouldn’t feel too kind and answer.

BurgerBar @ Plein

Saturday and you only had two Food truck-festivals to choose from. Obviously you “can’t” find anything nice and then you get this great idea to go to Subway to get a nice sandwich. When you get to the spot where the Subway supposed to be, you notice na-aa, not today. The Subway is gone, and someone decided to open a BurgerBar here!

Burgers, why not. So I enter, and what do I see?! The most awesome decoration and biiig burgers. It might have something to do, that the subway that used to be there was quite ugly but yeah, BurgerBar is decorated to every single detail.

BurgerBar gives everyone the opportunity of building their own burger. From a long list, anyone can become a burger king and choose what is today’s mood! We started with the basic beef, from Ireland. Then some blue cheese, fried onions and finish it with fries and truffle mayonnaise. Two burgers, friends and the mayonnaise were approx 20€. 

The customer service was on point, and besides that we got to see the burger preparing progress live from weighting the beef to putting it between the buns. BTW, I never had such crispy fries before!!

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Day in Utrecht

I could blame myself for being lazy after I realised that I did not visit Utrecht yet. That happens when you are living in a city that has everything, believe me! The Hague has not betrayed me still.

Since Utrecht is just 40 minutes away, we decided last Saturday to head there and see why everyone is talking how nice the city is.

The speciality of Utrecht is the canal that goes through the centre, and from the photos below you can see how it is in two levels. I could describe it that on the upper level people are in rush, walking fast and on the lower level the world stops and everyone just enjoys the moment. Very magical atmosphere!

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We came across a market in front of Central Station, so it took a while to start looking for a lunch place. At this point we were so hungry, that we took the first place that had space next to the water and was somewhat affordable. Tapaskelder had different tapas-plates from different price categories, and even though we took the cheapest, as you can see, it was a lot! Food was very tasteful and nice. I could recommend this place!

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A wine lover always finds her way to the good wine places. By accident we found Wijncafé Lefebvre which seems to be the Wine-bar of the year as well! The system was nice, from the menu you could see the price category and then more information about the wine and where it comes from. We almost decided to take “bad wine” – wine that wasn’t our taste, but luckily you can taste everything before you make your final decision.

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Carnaval Roosendaal

CARNIVAL IN THE NETHERLANDS!

After some months even the coolest exchange student life will change a bit, slowly into so called normal life. The first months are basically sightseeing, then you kind of forget how it felt to see everything for the first time and usually around this time you start looking for interesting events etc. to remind yourself that it really doesnt have to be only routines.

We wanted to experience our first Carnaval in the Netherlands and because we were really late and didnt know where would be the best party, we just decided to try Roosendaal and lucky enough, we ran into a full carnival. People in Roosendaal really knew how to make best out of the Carnival parade and I’m pretty sure that every single habitant of the city was out during this day.

// Karnivaalia karnivaalin perään. Roosendaalissa oli meno kohillaan.

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8 x Praha

1. Landscapes

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2. Czech hockey and beer

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3. Sint-Vituskathedraal – just because it’s stunning and the name means something funny in Finnish haha

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4. Still the best burgers I’ve ever had – Cafe Palanda

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5. The cars – I will research why Prague had almost better cars than Munich

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6. Street art and underground bars

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7. Coolest trams I have seen so far

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8. Traditional sweet with chocolate

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Obviously the best thing though was the company..

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❝The limits of my language are the limits of my world.❞

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I’ve been on holidays for a bit over month now from school. It may sound that I don’t have anything to learn, but actually I’ve been busy now for quite some time with five different languages and yes, soon my head will explode and I think I need to take a ‘no-speaking’ holiday just to recover my chin and mouth.

Five different languages. Finnish as a language to speak on the phone and to confuse my mind, also the language of the source I read news. English as a first communication language so as studying and job-interview language. Swedish, because of this mandatory course I need to take online to finish my degree. On top of these, German is constantly confusing me since it is somehow related to Dutch which is the language I’m spending most time to learn and also I hear/read all the time around me.

To explain why I feel this confusing and head-exploding, I decided to write the same text with all of those five different languages for you to show how much grammar I have in my head but also to prove how far my first aka mother tongue is from all of those languages. First, for warm-up..

Very simple. Number 77.

English = seventyseven,
german = siebenundsiebzig,
dutch = zevenenzeventig,
swedish = sjuttiosju
and finnish = seitsemänkymmentäseitsemän.

Now, sorry Swedish, but I’m gonna drop you out since I still need to write an essey and 10 assignment in Swedish which is more than enough for the rest of my life.

My name is Riia. I come from Finland and I am twentyone years old. I live now in the Netherlands. I have lived here for five months. I speak English, Finnish, German and now Im learning Dutch. I study in the Hague University of Applied Sciences. In August I will start my internship here. My family is me and my mom. I have one sister, she is thirtynine years old and she has two kids.

Mijn naam is Riia. Ik kom uit Finland en ik ben eenentwintig jaar oud. Ik woon nu in Nederland. Ik heb hier vijf maanden gewoond. Ik spreek Engels, Fins en Duits en nu leer ik Nederlands. Ik studeer aan de Haagse Hogeschool. In augustus begin ik aan mijn stage hier. Mijn familie bestaat uit mijn mamma en ik. Ik heb ook een zus, zij is negenendertig jaar oud en heeft twee kinderen.

Mein Name ist Riia. Ich komme aus Finnland und ich bin einundzwanzig Jahre alt. Ich lebe jetzt in Niederlande. Ich habe hier seit fünf Monate gelebt. Ich spreche Englisch, Finnisch, Deutsch und jetzt studiere ich Niederländisch. Ich studiere in der Fachhochschule in Den Haag. Im August werde ich ein Praktikum beginnen. Zu meiner Familie gehören meine Mutter und ich. Ich habe auch eine Schwester, die neununddreißig Jahre alt ist, und sie hat zwei Kinder.

Minun nimeni on Riia. Tulen Suomesta ja olen kaksikymmentäyksivuotias. Tällä hetkellä asun Alankomaissa. Olen asunut täällä viisi kuukautta. Puhun englantia, suomea ja saksaa, ja nyt opiskelen myös hollantia. Opiskelen ammattikorkeakoulussa Haagissa. Elokuussa aloitan täällä työharjoittelun. Perheeseeni kuuluu minä ja äitini. Minulla on sisko joka on kolmekymmentäyhdeksänvuotias ja hänella on kaksi lasta.

This is how I would give an answer to the question how are you.. Obviously easiest thing when learning a new language is to speak about yourself and it can be seen also in the texts above. Not too much sweet (free-time) – Back to studying now!

Amazing Estonia

Tere! After Christmas, 26st of December our group of 9 started our trip to Estonia by train at 6 am. From the very beginning, we were laughing our eyes off. In Finland, making noise sometimes impacts to other people that way, that they start to stare at you. Yes again that happened. Luckily, our group is really good at ignoring other people and their weird looks. We just focused on having fun and enjoying our time!

We traveled with Eckerö Line and stayed in Nordic Forum Hotel in Tallinn 26.-28.12.

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First day, we spent walking around, doing some shopping and then spending a lovely evening in Beer House, Tallinn. The Beer House offered us good selection of beers, delicious food and entertainment by live music. Highly recommended by all of us, even the teenagers fell in love with the place!

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Second day, we decided to do something very different and contacted The Escape Room Tallinn. After walking around and finding amazing restaurant for the evening, 6.15pm we arrived to Escape Room -office and soon started our escape which happened girls vs. boys. Slaughter room and prison break.. Girls got closer to the great escape, but both teams couldn’t escape the room on time. After that, we end the day in Texas themed restaurant. Such an amazing service, delicious food and quite cheap prices. Definitely, worth a visit if you travel to Tallinn.

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All in one, the romantic and absolutely adorable Tallinn didn’t let us down.

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