Monday, May 15, 2006
This week I'm on assignment in Poland, working in the city of Łódź.
Getting here yesterday was a bit of an adventure, starting with a rather nightmarish experience 'queuing' at Stansted (it wasn't like any queue I've ever seen and seemed to take forever to move). The flight was actually OK, but the landing was more than a little scary: we came down in a rain storm, which meant that the plane was lurching around all over the place and people were screaming. We did all give the pilot a round of applause when he landed safely, though.
Finding my hotel was more difficult than expected: the taxi driver had to stop and ask for directions. It is a pleasant and obviously quite modern place and my room is spotless and well-appointed. It is situated a little unfortunately, however: right next door to a gigantic (ex?) power station (complete with huge cooling towers
) and on a main road (complete with regular trams).
I went for a long walk yesterday evening, travelling almost the full length of the city's renowned Piotrkowska
street (at 4km, the longest commercial street in Europe, apparently) and back again, stopping for a rather disappointing pizza on the way. My first impressions were shaped by the rather utilitarian
buildings closer to the hotel, but I soon encountered some spectacular churches, old
, as well as beautiful facades
on several other buildings. These were, however, made all the more conspicuous by being situated alongside buildings every bit as decrepit
as they are glorious.
I finished the day feeling a little footsore (having walked 5 or 6 miles) and a bit disconcerted by my first experience of Poland, but I'm pleased to say that I feel a lot more cheerful today. My colleagues at Teleca Poland (who I'm here to train) are a friendly bunch and with their help and advice I had a nice lunch (cheese and potato dumplings, with a carrot and cabbage salad). I look forward to the rest of the week.