This is Poland: From Waka, waka, to koko, koko

"Metro" EXCLUSIVE for foreigners: UNIQUE, non-tourist guidebook of Poland. The main facts about The Meat Hedgehog or why you must try Zakąski Przekąski and what you have to know about public transport

The facts about Polish politics and society worth understanding Don't you grasp what they are talking about here in Poland? This quick manual will help you understand. The opening of the A2 motorway - that's the news which has been expected in Warsaw for ages. A2 connects Polish capital city with German's one. The main road is already completed but there are still some details that have to be finished in nearest future. We were almost sure that the builders wouldn't be able to finish it before Euro 2012 and we were worried that getting to Warsaw will be quite challenging for foreign drivers. But it turned out that we were too pessimistic this time. If you look through Polish newspapers and websites from last days you'll find many feature articles about opening the A2 motorway. It's top news, because the lack of modern and safe roads was our main state disadvantage for years. Nowadays due to opening the A2 motorway the problem has disappeared. The second line of the underground in construction - if you come to Warsaw and wonder why the city centre looks like a huge construction site, you should know that it's all because of the second line of the underground which has been under construction for about a year now. Although citizens badly need the second route, they're on the verge of loosing their patience - a few central roads are closed and the movement of vehicles in the centre is highly limited so everywhere else there're heavy traffic snarl-ups during rush hours. The best thing we can do now is to choose the public transport, cycle or walk on foot. Even if it's sometimes inconvenient and takes more time we try not to complain too much. Most of us understand that the second line will improve the standard of living in Warsaw and finally connect the left and right bank of the river Wisła. Demonstrations of "Solidarni 2010" association - every 10-th day of each month members of this associations as well as the voters of political party PiS (The Law and Justice - the main opposition party in Poland) gather at Krakowskie Przedmieście street in Warsaw to commemorate Polish president Lech Kaczyński and 95 other people who died in a plane crash in Smoleńsk on April 10th 2010. Some of the protesters claim that it wasn't an accident but political assassination about which you can hear and read from protesters' posters during demonstrations. They often bring Catholic crosses, sing religious songs and sometimes bring torches with themselves. The nearest protest of Solidarni 2010 is expected on Sunday. Top features from Polish Internet and pop art Every country has its own charts of the most watched You Tube videos, which usually differ from each other. Nevertheless web users have something in common - they prefer senseless, irrational and ludicrous jokes. Do you remember, for example, the UK's list from the previous year with a video about a dog with human voice revealing joys of eating steak? Why was it actually funny?

The same question can be asked about Polish charts and our favourite funny vids. Koko Euro Spoko The official song of Polish football team for Euro2012 chosen by TV and radio audience. This is a hit from repertoire of the folk group Jarzębina (The Rowan) whose members are eight elderly women from a small village in eastern Poland. It was a total surprise for everyone when the audience decided that Jarzębina should be the group that is going to sing for our football players before kick-off. The surprise was so big not only because the song was very modest but also because Jarzębina, unknown band, defeated famous pop stars. As it often occurs in our country, the national debate has begun. Poles have divided into fans and opponents of the Koko Euro Spoko anthem. Those who dislike it claim that the song seems to be trashy while the enthusiasts are convinced that it's very Polish, frank and melodious. Jarzębina group has inspired Internet users as well - they've remixed the song with the international hit Somebody that I used to know so that everyone can listen to Gotye's music with Koko Euro Spoko lyrics. Meat hedgehog (Polish: Mięsny jeż) Scene from Polish semi-documentary TV series Pamiętniki z wakacji (Holiday Travel Diaries). We watch how a young woman Beatka treats her future parents-in-law with various range of cold meats, which she calls The Meat Hedgehog. Although the dish is greasy and unappetizing, Beatka's fiancé Henio says that this is his favourite meal, served only on special occasions. He reveals that whenever they treat their guests with The Meat Hedgehog they amuse themselves with singing their own-created song which goes: "You will eat, you will eat the meat hedgehog, the meat hedgehog". Polish Internet users love absurd and senseless jokes and that's the reason why The Meat Hedgehog is considered to be funny. If you want to compare your sense of humour with Polish users' humor, find the scene on the Internet by typing the phrase The Meat Hedgehog or Mięsny Jeż in search engine. And then, every time you will try to chat with Polish youngsters you can start with this You Tube hit. Before parties and after parties - where to go, what to do (in Warsaw) Morning: - For breakfast we recommend capital milk- bars - small and modest, designed to resemble communist cafeterias. Beloved by students and older citizens, treat customers with cost-effective, healthy, traditional Polish cuisine. Try delicious sweet pancakes with curd cheese, cream and sugar which taste great with chocolate-milk drink kakao. If you prefer to eat heavy meals, nothing would be better that scrambled eggs fried on butter or flaki (a bowl of hot tripe soup) with aromatic marjoram on its surface. It always goes with fresh roll so don't forget to ask for one at a counter. Before the kick-off: - Between a breakfast and a football match you may explore the right bank of the river Wisła. You'll find there nice sandy beaches, where you can rest on a blanket and drink cold beer. The best are bottled ones. Our Metro expert on food and drinks recommend the long-brewed cloudy beers from the smaller Polish breweries. If you feel better among people than on your own, the best place for you will be Cud nad Wisłą (The Miracle at Vistula) - on a brink of the river, nearby the National Stadium, or Miasto Cypel (The town of Cypel) where you'll find the range of bars, alternative music and barbecue with Polish meats like for example kaszanka (blood pudding) or slice of pork. You can rest there as well or get tired on a open air playground. Late evening: - You should definitely follow local partygoers who most often finish their parties in one of the popular bars informally called Przekąski zakąski (appetizers and snacks). The origin of this nick name comes form the name of the first bar like this which is situated at Krakowskie Przedmieście street. Each and every has pleasant spirit and clear rules: all drinks cost 4 PLN (about 1 euro), snacks cost 8 PLN. If it wouldn't be enough for you, try Charlotte or Plan B - these are bars which are situated on Plac Zbawieciela. Beyond any doubt they're on vogue - you will meet there posh youngsters as well as our local celebrities. Transport, exchange, taxi If you are planning to travel mainly by bus, tram and metro - buy short-term ticket - it's the most cost-effective way of commuting. One day travelcard costs 12 PLN and 3-days one costs 24 PLN. Those entitle to as many journeys as you want during its validity period. During the first journey the ticket should be validated immediately after boarding the vehicle. For a single trip you can use single fare ticket (3,60 PLN) or time-limit ticket: 20-minutes (2,60 PLN), 40-minutes (3,60 PLN) and 60-minutes (5,20 PLN). Night buses. The buses terminus for the night bus lines in Warsaw is located at the crossing area of Al. Jerozolimskie, Al. Jana Pawła II and Chałubińskiego St. Till 2 a.m. buses will run with an increased frequency - every 15-20 minutes on average. Taxi. Be aware of dishonest taxi drivers, who may try to deceive you. Check the fare for 1 km, which is provided on the back door window of a taxi. Maximum initial charge in Warsaw is 8 PLN. Day fare (within city) is 3 PLN/km, night fare: 4,50 PLN/km.

Common Vocabulary: siema, elo - hallo na razie, nara, narka - bye piątka! - High five zajebongo! ale czad! - great! szacun - respect spoko, spoko luz - OK wyluzuj - relax melanż - party with a large amounts of alcohol wypas - cool, nice, sweet ziom - dude, chap kwadrat - a square but also an apartment or home czaić bazę, kumać - to understand laska - nice chick ciacho - cute guy Most popular songs of polish football fans: Polska! Biało-czerwoni! - Poland! Whites and Reds! Nic się nie stało, Polacy, nic się nie stało! - No big deal, it's OK, Poles! No big deal, it's OK! (after the defeat) Exchange rates 1 EUR - 4,34 PLN* 1 GBP - 5,37 PLN 1 RUB - 0,10 PLN 1 UAH - 0,43 PLN 1 DKK - 0,58 PLN 1 CZK - 0,17 PLN 1 HRK - 0,57 PLN * Mid-rates by National Bank of Poland (yesterdays rates)


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