Needless to say, I love to travel. That said, I sometimes equate “travel” with bigger trips to more exotic places. But I live in Berlin, and so many fantastic cities and places are really only a short train trip away. No need to spend a ton on air flight or hop in the car when you have Deutsche Bahn and Flixbus! This year I promised myself I would start taking little trips to inexpensive, nearby destinations. I finally made good on that promise with a little three day trip to Poznan, Poland.
I used to be a huge Poland fan. I’ve been to Krakow several times as well as Warsaw and Kielce, a provisional town where my former, high-school era penpal once lived. But Krakow is an eight hour train ride from Berlin and I was never all that crazy about Warsaw, so it’s been a while since I visited the country. Through word of mouth, I heard that Poznan was a really pretty city and only three hours from Berlin, which made it perfect for a tiny trip to take with my daughters and a friend.
Or so we thought…
We had a train disaster the afternoon we left. Our first train was canceled fifteen minutes before it was supposed to leave. I went to the information desk and the woman told me all trains between Berlin and Poznan had been canceled, but not to worry, our train would leave from Frankfurt Oder, a German city on the border to Poland about an hour a way. All we had to do is take the regional express train to Frankfurt Oder in 20 minutes. We went back to the track. Ten minutes later it says this train has also been canceled because of a “police incident” (yikes!). We then got bad advice that took us to the other side of Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof station, about two football fields away. When we finally figured it out, the woman told us “Run, or you’ll miss your train!”
Luckily everything went smoothly from Frankfurt Oder, but we were already wrecks by this time. The delay also cut into our time in the city, which was unfortunate for such a short trip. When I told people about our train disaster, they said this is sadly typical for Deutsche Bahn these days. So much for the stereotype of German efficiency. The prices at Deutsche Bahn are generally reasonable and kids ride free, which is a big plus, but it seems you need to be prepared for possible chaos if you choose to travel with them.
Eighty percent of Poznan’s old town square was destroyed during the war, but it’s been lovingly restored. We tried to guess which buildings were the originals, but were absolutely stumped. I’m not crazy about sites and cities crawling with tourists, and Poznan’s old town square certainly is, but the area is truly beautiful and many of the market stands sold unique local goods along with the usual touristy knick knacks like in the picture above. As is always the case in places, the many restaurants lining the square are overpriced and the food is not great. Still, it’s nice to sit outside on their patios, so we ate elsewhere and had drinks at one of the places later to enjoy the ambience.
I have to admit I’m not the biggest fan of Polish cuisine. Bigos is good in the winter, but it’s not really much of a summer meal. Pierogi dumplings are ok once of twice, but not something I want to eat very often. Luckily, Polish beer is great, especially if you like light pils like I do.
However, we did have one fantastic meal at Manekin, a restaurant a little off the tourist track that serves both sweet and savoury pancakes and crepes. The bill for five large meals and drinks for each person came to around 100 zlotys, which is roughly 25 euros. Yeah for exchange rates in my favour! 😉
All in all, Poznan is definitely a great place to visit for a couple of days. Although I’d like to go back someday, Wrocław is the next Polish city on my list for now.
ul. Kwiatowa 3, Poznan 61-881, Poland