At this time of the year sun sets around 20:30.
The currency in Poland is POLISH ZLOTY (PLN) – not Euro! 1PLN equals 0,23€ or 0,25$. If you don't have sense of the prices it's good to go to FX-net webpage. This is a good currency converter. If you click on 'CALCULATOR' bookmark and write the price in PLN it will convert it to all possible currencies. I always use this page when I travel abroad.
Compared to other European countries travelling in Poland is relatively cheap. To you give a sense of prices 1l of juice costs around 4PLN (~0,9€ or 1$). 1,5 l of mineral water is about half this price.
Nowadays in Poland bank cards are widely in use. Pretty much the only places where you can't pay with a card are street stands and some taxies. Be warned however that not all cards are accepted. If you have VISA or MasterCard there's no problem. If you have anything else it's highly possible that it won't work. I know for fact that UnionPay cards can't be used in shops. What to do in that case? Go to the Euronet ATM (there are a lot of them in the city centre) . From there you can withdraw money from any card.
Official language in Poland is Polish. If you need any help try asking people who are in their twenties or thirties. Over 80% of them should be able to speak English. Those who are over 40 not necessary. That is because the older generation went to school during times when Poland was ruled by communists. The second language they had to learn at school was Russian. Nowadays every Polish kid has to study English as a second language.
5. PUBLIC TRANSPORT
If you've registered for WYD you'll get an ID card. When you have it you'll be able to use public transport in Krakow for free until 1st August. That's why make sure to always have the card with you (in case there's a ticket control in the bus). With this ID you can use city buses, trams and a train that goes to Wieliczka (where the Misericordia Campus is). Unfortunately the train that goes to the airport isn't included – meaning you have to but a ticket if you want to ride it.
Trams have numbers with single or double digits: ex. 4 or 18.
Buses have numbers with 3 digits:
- starting with no. 1, 4 or 5 are buses that run in the city: ex. 139, 152, 482, 502.
- starting with no. 2 or 3 are buses that go to the outskirts of the city and surrounding villages: ex. 269, 304.
- starting with no. 6 are night buses (they usually run once an hour): ex. 605, 662.
You can search for timetables and bus routes on the official MPK (City Public Transport) page.
You have to be warned about one thing. During main events of WYD no vehicles will be allowed in the surrounding zone. It means that you'll still have to walk some distance (up to a few kilometres) from the bus or tram to the event's site. Bicycles won't be allowed in the zone either.
In case of emergency call 112 (the operator will connect you with a hospital, police or firefighters depending on the case). Probably you'll be able to make a call in English but can't guarantee it.
In case you lost your passport, are in need of medical help or road assistance but you are not sure whom to contact, try calling Tourist Emergency Helpline (operates June – Sep from 8am to 8pm in Polish, English, German and Russian):
+48 22 278 77 77 or +48 608 599 999
Currently Poland is considered to be one of the safest countries in the world. Having said that it doesn't mean that nothing might happen so try not to forget common sense. Keep an eye on your belongings (especially during big events where there's going to be a crowd) and don't wander alone in secluded places at night.
8. BEHAVIOUR and CUSTOMS
People in Poland are in general welcoming, generous and curious about foreign guests but they are also conservative (especially in the villages or small towns). Since each country have different culture some behaviour might cause misunderstandings. That is why it's good to know what you should avoid.
Some of you will stay with host families. Please remember that you should address people older than you as Mr or Ms (unless they let you call them by name). Otherwise calling someone older than you by name would be seen as extremely rude.
When you talk to someone don't do it while chewing gum or wearing earplugs. When you talk to older person also don't keep your hands in your pockets. Those behaviours as well would be perceived as extremely rude.
Polish people have a custom of taking of the shoes before going into the house. Please do that as well (unless the host says there's no need). It's highly possible that the host will offer you slippers to wear.
In public places (buses, restaurants) try not to speak too loud.
In public transport if it's crowded it is customary to give your seat to a pregnant woman or an older person (so someone who might have problems standing for a long time). It's also customary to open the door for women and let them go first.
WYD is a religious event so in general people coming here shouldn't need those warnings but to be thorough I'm placing them too.
- Distributing and possession of drugs (including marijuana) is illegal. So if you come from the Netherlands don't bring pot or you'll be considered a smuggler and arrested as such.
- To buy alcohol or cigarettes you have to be 18. Even if that age is younger in your home country (like it is in France) in Poland you won't be able to buy it if you're not 18.
- Drinking alcohol in public places (like parks, squares, buses and mass events) is forbidden.
- Smoking in any public place (bus stops included) is forbidden.
WELCOME TO KRAKOW!