We started our unforgettable Erasmus+ Polish adventure at the check-in of the Split airport. After a short waiting period, we boarded the plane for Vienna on which we enjoyed the beautiful view of Croatian islands and coastline. We arrived at the Vienna airport and took a train to the city center. As soon as we got out of the central station, Vienna left us breathless with its beauty. We admired that beautiful city on our way to the Stephansplatz, the main square, on which the St. Stephen cathedral leaves you speechless. After sightseeing, we sat at the worldwide known “Julius Meinl” café where we enjoyed a Zacher cake and celebrated Ante’s birthday. The two Ivanas and Gordan went for a tour while the others rested, they visited Hard Rock café and the Kartner Straße – the commercial street on which we could see all the most famous brands. We had to speed up to take the metro and get to the airport. We boarded our plane for Krakow and left Austria. On the Krakow airport, we waited for the Portuguese participants and then went for a three-hour ride to Rudniki. At first it was quite uncomfortable, but very soon it became a fun ride with our Portuguese colleagues. Upon our arrival to Rudniki, we were welcomed by our hosts that took us to their homes. It was the beginning of an amazing journey.
Gordan Kragić, 3.E
The second day of our journey was also our first morning in Poland. My host family welcomed me with a great breakfast and a warm tea. After that great breakfast, we went off to the Rudniki school, we met the teachers and the employees that participated in the project. We took part in workshops about employment. We did group tasks and laughed a lot. Unlike our school, theirs is for all ages so it groups the kindergarten, middle school and high school in one building. They also have a canteen in their school so we had lunch there, after the lunch we went to Jasna Gora, the most famous Marianic shrine in Poland and one of the most important in the world. We were guided by a peculiar priest who said he was the next Pope. After visiting the main part of the shrine, we went to see the altar of Mary of Częstochowa where we climbed the bell tower. Climbing it was difficult because of the narrow hall, but the best compliments go to teacher Natalija who climbed it despite her painful knee. Once we arrived at the top, we understood that all those efforts were worth it, the panoramic view of Częstochowa left us speechless. After that we played a game to get to know the city even better, we were separated in groups and visited the most important buildings and sights of the city. We went back to Rudniki each with our hosts, we met again at the school stadium where we played volleyball. The Polish played well but still didn’t stand a chance against us.
Ivana Kaćunić, III.E
I woke up early, my host family made me a “snack to go” which reminded me of my elementary school days. The ride to our first destination, Wadowice, lasted two hours. On the bus, we taught the Polish students some of the most famous Croatian hits, such as the songs of Prljavo Kazalište, Bijelo Dugme, Mišo Kovač and Daleka obala. The first thing that came to our minds when we learned about Poland was the Pope John Paul II. whose name and face we saw everywhere on our trip, even on the menus in restaurants. As there wasn’t a single café in Rudniki, the next destination enhanced our Dalmatian hearts, Krakow. The biggest medieval square, beautiful large streets mixing different architectural styles, the smell of flowers, numerous fountains and street artists. Krakow left us breathless! We were especially intrigued by the statue that shows a dragon spitting fire, the legend says that he was protecting the princess in the nearby castle, young men could only approach her if they beat the dragon. The legend woke up the children in us and we all bought plush dragons and spent the night with them. We share what we were taught about the city around a non-alcoholic cocktail, but the highlight of that day was when we discovered that our hotel was separated from McDonald’s by just one wall! As nobody was sleepy, we went for a pajama walk around the city. We discovered a city full of music and laughter, we loved it. After our little adventure, we went back to the hotel. That day was definitely a highlight of our Erasmus+ journey.
Ivana Jukić, III.C
We began our day by being late for a hotel breakfast. Before departure for Rudniki, we had a little bit of free time left in the center of Krakow. After we bought the souvenirs, as typical Croats, we decided to sit down and have a cup of coffee. At the arranged time we headed for the bus and continued our ride to Wieliczka. While riding on the bus, we were guessing what kind of the mine it will be, but we had no idea that we will actually be mining. First, we received mining equipment; helmet, suit, lamp and oxygen tank in case of a ventilation system malfunction. We used the elevator to reach our destination, which was 135 meters underground. Inside the mine, it was dark and pretty cold. We lightened the path in front of us using our lamps while listening to an older lady with a thick English accent („zee helmet, zee mine“). In the middle of sightseeing, we had an intervention of the first aid team from Marulić when blood started flowing from the nose of one Latvian. We finished our tour in the big hall inside the mine that serves as a chapel. It was decorated with crystal chandeliers and it had a statue of Pope John Paul II. After the chapel, we headed for lunch in a beautiful restaurant that doesn’t even look like it’s placed inside the mine. For lunch, we were served a traditional Polish meal called pierogi, which was the best meal we had throughout our journey. Then we took a bus ride to Rudniki where we had a free afternoon that we spent with our hosts.
The fifth day began by making lollipops and candies. After the workers at the factory explained the procedure to us, it was our turn. We were able to choose shapes and colors by ourselves, but it turned out that all of us, as we planed it, decided to go for the most simple shape – red circle. We took those hard-earned art pieces with us as a reminder that not everyone is made to be an artist. Next on the schedule were our cooking skills, but the food was left unnoticed next to the flower pattern cooking hats and aprons which guys from our team presented in the best possible light. After lunch, we noticed empty sunbeds outside that woke up Dalmatians in us, so while our Polish friends were waiting on their feet, we chose the line of less resistance soaking up every sun ray. Given that there were no coffee shops in Rudniki, our hosts took us to their favorite place to hang out in nature. We had a lot of fun there playing football, volleyball and board games. In the evening we had an introduction to Polish culture and tradition, which was followed by a disco in the school gym. When Halid Bešlić started playing even our professors joined us on the dance floor and we are confident that Poles enjoyed it as well. Time flew by quickly in good company so soon we all headed to houses.
The sixth day in Poland, already a bit tired, we began just the way every student loves – with chemistry class. You can imagine the enthusiasm on our faces when we found out about it, but we ended up being quite surprised. It was everything but the regular chemistry class. First, we met one peculiar professor who was actually not Polish but British. The experiments he showed us were spiced up with a lot of characteristic British humor. He showed us how to set the bill on fire without damaging it and it was also very interesting naming all the elements of the periodic table in a rhythm of Offenbach`s Can-Can. After school, we headed to the building of local authorities which was placed in a town called Redziny. We got to know how Rudniki, which was our home for the past six days, looks from up close. After lunch at a local tavern, we didn’t have any time to rest as we were already on our way to Ogrozdieniec. There we had to wait for a guide who speaks English and we Croatians, unlike the others, decided to spend that time on having fun. Within the castle, there was a small amusement park where we bought tickets to a car ride down the sheep path. Just like all children, insatiable when it comes to fun, we asked our professor for another ride. In the meantime, the guide had arrived. He led us through five and a half centuries old castle and told us the whole history of that very important piece of Poland`s heritage. Sightseeing of the castle was followed by what we all barely awaited – joint sausage baking on the fire. Before returning to Rudniki we had half an hour of free time which we spent, how else than resting in a coffee shop. While resting, we lost track of time so everyone was once again waiting for the Croats, but we hope nobody resented us for that. On our last day in Poland, before returning to Croatia, our hosts organized a joint barbecue. After the meal, once again, we showed the Poles our Mediterranean carelessness when we led a party train through the neighborhood and persuaded them to teach us the traditional Polish dance. It was a great farewell from our, not only colleagues or hosts form Poland, but friends from Poland.
After six unforgettable days, the end of our trip was approaching. We packed our things, said goodbye to our hosts and early in the morning gathered in front of the school. We headed to Krakow by a minivan. While we were waiting for the plane to take off, we used that time to buy souvenirs and refresh ourselves. We boarded the plane and took off towards Croatia. On our way to Zagreb, we stopped in Frankfurt, which is known to be one of the biggest airports in Europe. After arriving in Zagreb, we took a cab to the center of the town and had dinner at McDonalds.
However, one of us had experienced an unexpected accident – while having dinner, our colleague had realized that her wallet was missing. Luckily, we had already made a deal with that same cab driver to take us back to the airport so the wallet was quickly found and we were ready to head to Split where our families were waiting for us. We had a great time in Poland and our professors organized everything perfectly. Our hosts tried very hard to provide us with everything we needed and we had a lot of fun together. They introduced us to many beautiful places and we also learned a lot. However, after traveling for seven days, we were thrilled to finally be home.
This publication has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Commission under the Erasmus+ programme. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. Publication free of charge.