A few of members of my team work out of our Poznan office, and although we manage to function as a team using email, phones and video conferencing there is nothing like meeting face to face. So the start of this week I will be spending my time in Poznan. The flights from Luton were a bit inconvenient, the flight there would be reasonable being at 0800 but the flight back would have meant a start at 0300 to catch the feeding flight of the 0800 out of Luton, I would prefer to avoid that. So I settled on flights from and to London Stansted, the flight out was at1235 then I would return late afternoon on the Wednesday.
i was in the office by 0730 to get two and a half hours in before having to leave for the airport. Unfortunately I could not get started straight away as there was a networking issue and I was the only person in to resolve it, I may have been better off working from home. The drive to the airport was pretty uneventful (around the M25 was clear) I did see a lorry on fire on the M11, there were flames and smoke and a driver stood well back on his mobile. I guess I may have been fortunate as there was the potential that the fire brigade would have shit the motorway due to the dark smoke.
I had pre book Mid-term parking which came with the fast track service through security, which was good but did not save me much time as the queues were quite short. Air side was very crowded so they clearly shift a lot of people through so the low queues suggest to me that the airport is well run. The signs and queuing at the gate were a bit confusing and one queue were told to face the other way as they were the end not the front of the queue. Boarding was pretty smooth even though only the front door was being used to board us passengers.
The flight was pretty straight forward I used the time to catch up with emails and type up a few documents. At the other end we were quickly through security. I got the impression that Poznan is not a busy airport as there were not many people about. The taxi driver had a sign with my name on it, which is the first time I have had that, it made me feel more important than I am. It was a short drive to the Platinum Palace Residence my abode for the next two nights. The name is interesting as I could imagine that a marketing department or brand management company did some brain storming and came up with the three works and just strung them together. Platinum a rare metal so think exclusive, Palace is where monarchy live in luxury, and Residence is what they call posh hotels. The hotel was modern and all shiny inside with a big light fitting that draped down in reception. My room was very different, the door was the only black one on the first floor, and when you entered there was a shiny purple wall in front of you, with a 1m corridor down each site to the far end of the room where the bed was under the window. So essentially the room had a room within it like a Russian doll. The internal room consisted of a shower cubicle with glass doors an a W.C. with a glass door, beyond the glass doors there was a mirrored wall. The corridor around the inner and outer room was about 1m wide.
The evenings are light so I took the opportunity to walk into the centre f the city, but not before catching up with my emails and reconciling a report. Walking into town took about 40 minutes the weather was sunny but I needed a light coat. I was heading for the old town but missed it and ended up at the river where not much happens so I turned around and headed towards to the old town using Google maps. The main square in the old town is full or bars/cafes/restaurants but there were also lots of stalls as a festival was going on. Complete with a singer and band on a stage.
I wandered around the square taking in the sites, and took the opportunity to take some hand held panorama sets, you may see the results here if they work out OK. I could not decide what are where to eat as Poland is not that vegetarian friendly, but then I spotted a restaurant that was selling Pizzas so I stopped for pizza and a beer. Suitable replete I walked back the hotel but took a different but parallel route so as to take I more of the sights.
I was in bed pretty early 09:00 I found I kept of getting woken up quite a bit as the hotel was near a main road and tram line and the trams are quite noisy as their solid steel wheels ground along the solid steel tracks. The room however although weird in its layout had air conditioning which worked so the temperature was just as I wanted it. I was up at 07:00 to give me time to have breakfast before the taxi arrived, to take me to the office in Rokietnica.
It was the first time in Poland so I was paraded around the offices and introduced to everyone before I could get a chance for a coffee. Once that was over I got down to some work with the team, the aim was fact finding and to find out what good stuff they do which could be shared across out division and suggest some of the good stuff we do in GB and Ireland that might be appropriate in Poland. The factory is in a fairly rural location and the IT guys office looks out on to a wheat filed and a scrubby but f land, I was pleasantly surprised when I spotted a Marsh Harrier quartering the scrub. Things are very civilised in Poland I was well looked after, for example in the UK if I visit a site someone will usually arrange a sandwich for lunch, in Poland you get a menu and a hot meal is delivered, on the Tuesday I had salmon and potatoes with a salad and on the Wednesday I had grilled trout and potatoes and salad, all delivered by a local company.
The guys had agreed they would take me out and show me the sights in the evening and they picked me up from the hotel and took me to an Italian restaurant that also did contemporary Polish food. I had spinach for a starter with Parmesan, followed by steamed Perch-Pike with apple and cabbage and spinach dumplings which was very nice. For dessert I has proper baked cheese cake. The guys suggested a special beer for me which contained honey in the brewing process, it was very nice. After the meal they wanted to go and try traditional vodka but I was not keen as I find it is very easy to get hangovers so I really do limit my alcohol consumption. Instead they took me a walk showing me some of the sites unfortunately I had seen most of what they showed me, although it was great to know what it was I had seen the day before, and nice to know that by just following my nose I had managed to see a lot of the things worth seeing. They insisted that we at least have one more beer and we ended up in a pool hall where we had a couple of rounds of pool. We eventually left the establishment and I was back at my hotel before midnight (just). I hope this does not become a regular thing when I got to Poland as I am not good at staying up late on school nights especially in a hotel where trams trundle by in the night.
The next morning the taxi was early and I was ready so I ended up at the office in good time 08:15 (or 07:15 UK time), my flight was at 16:05 so would have to leave at 14:00, but that would give me a chance to meet up with a couple of people in Finance and finish going through the things we had on our list, and have my chosen lunch of grill trout. The queues at the airport were reasonable long but moved long, and they opened a third x-ray machine as I got to the front of the queue. I was right about Poznan not being a busy airport there were none of the crowds that I had encountered at Stansted, there was plenty of room for everyone. Looking at the departure board there was only one screen of flights (15) between 15:30 and 22:15 which is not many.
The flight departed on time, once at cruising altitude I got out the Polish looking custard like pasty I had purchased which was very once and quickly consumed, then I settled in to the flight reading some articles I had downloaded before I departed the office, and caught up with a few emails. We used the Stansted shuttle to get back to the terminal once landed, which was interesting the shuttles are line horizontal list they arrive the doors open you get in the doors close then open again when you get to the terminal all without a driver.
The drive home was about an hour so all in all the flying and travelling was not too bad.