You know how sometimes people say “Just pick up the phone!” when a situation becomes convoluted over email and things aren’t being properly communicated? Well, I can’t really do that, because half of the people that I work with speak very little English, and the only Polish word I’ve pick up and can correctly pronounce is “tak”, which means “ya.” I get pretty excited when I overhear “Tak…tak…” because I get what they’re saying, “Yaaa….yaaaa…of course!” Loads of room for learning here…
After working together with a design agency in Poznań for over a year, I finally had the chance to visit for a quick meeting and brief glimpse at their city. My manager always has these great outfits and praises Poznań for their creative and up and coming designers, so this welcome at the airport had me excited for the next 24 hours.
I spotted Mrs. Marketing Manager (how she is affectionately referred to by colleagues, we’ll call her MMM here for short) immediately in arrivals, because in Poland, you pick up your colleagues from the airport. Polish hospitality is the best.
From there, MMM navigated the streets while I soaked up everything I could from the passenger seat. I refrained from sticking my head out the window for fear of looking like a canine companion, but was pretty close. Nothing in particular surprised me and Poland looked close to what I expected. One noticeable feature is the storybook Polish architecture juxtaposed to communist buildings. MMM let out a disgusted sigh as she pointed this out. It is always so shocking to hear her talk about things like waiting in line for food during the communist rule a mere 25 years ago.
At the hotel, we discussed business over delicious soups and salads. The menu was so creative! This picture is kind of horrible, but you can see the pretty presentation- mushroom and dumpling for me and sweet potato soup for MMM.
Once we wrapped for the day, we walked through Stary Rynek, the old Main Market Square, on the way to Stary Browar Shopping Mall.
Passing the Ratusz (Poznań Town Hall), MMM explained that a display of mechanical fighting goats is played out daily at noon above the clock on the front wall of the building, a big tourist attraction. The ornate town hall, originally built in the 13th century, underwent renovations in the mid 1500s, late 1700s, and a major rebuilding in the mid 1900s. A large refurbishment from 1992–2002 helped to restore the building to its post-1784 appearance, so this building’s seen its fair share of cosmetic work but still maintains its historic bones.
Housed in an old brewery dating from 1844, the Stary Browar Shopping Mall moonlights as an art gallery of sorts and leisure spot. Personally, I’ve found this typical of Polish culture, nothing is simple and everything has multiple purposes or functions and is thought out. MMM made a beeline for our favorite store, Simple.
After trying on half of the fall collection, I dwindled down my want pile down to an asymmetrical black dress (that can be worn short or long, versatile of course) and royal blue sleeveless sweater with which I’m obsessed.
It was no surprise when the retail associate modeled the two ways the sweater can be worn. I know my sisters are giggling, this is what they call “Kelly outfits.” The model wasn’t available for this one, so please excuse the bed head/face.
We were sadly torn out of a Inglot, a Polish cosmetic company with tempting lip glosses, nail polishes and eye shadows. But alas, the head of the design agency and her husband had arrived to pick us up for dinner at SPOT.
In true Polish fashion, the restaurant dubs as a clothing store and the upstairs has a trendy retail section. The food was fantastic, and I had to use serious restraint to resist whipping out my iPhone to take a picture of my PERFECT looking aubergine topped with goat cheese and pomegranate seeds. If food actually existed that looked too good to eat, I would have starved.
The next morning, we drove to the studio for our meeting. On the way, I saw more dreary communist buildings just next to the vibrant, traditional ones.
We were unsurprisingly greeted at the studio with a mouthwatering display of pastries and coffee. My sugar high helped me keep up and catch on to a few more phrases during the bilingual meeting. By the end, I felt totally at home, “Tak, tak!” Before dashing back to the airport, my colleagues insisted on picking up pierogi for me to serve at the party the hubs and I were hosting a few days later. Growing up, my Grams always made pierogi when we visited. These dumplings of unleavened dough traditionally stuffed with cheese, potato filling, ground meat or sauerkraut always remind me of her. So, I left with a bag full of Polish delights wrapped and ready to be checked on the flight back to London. By no means did I fully experience Poznań, but for a quick 24 hours, I squeezed in enough culture, shopping, eating and meeting to justify my passport stamp.