If you tell a Pole you have plans to go to Lodz, they will stare at you with that “why on earth????? My neighbour in the train traveling from Warsaw to Lodz was no exception:
“you will either really like it or… totally dislike it!” she commented mysteriously. And what do you think happened? I arrived in the gloomy station of Lodz Wiczew where the train waited for all outgoing passengers to cross the rails in its front, leaving me with the impression that I arrived at a small countryside station. Strange, considering Lodz is the third largest city in Poland – a country of 38,5 million inhabitants. I found a cab in the freezing darkness – its doors and trunk could not open because of the cold. After we started to drive, we quite immediately entered a scenery of lights and traffic typical for a big city at that time of the day and city girl me was feeling home again.
Like many other speakers, I was hosted at the Arrivia hostel, a B&B owned by a local Toastmasters, where I was comfortably installed in the warmth of my room with a good wifi connection enabling me to review the programme of the following days.
In the morning, I had the pleasure to share breakfast with Lena from Poland a 24 yr old geography student, Jorge Crespo a charming public speaking trainer from Lisbon (“did I tell you that in Lisbon it is warm?” he kept repeating everytime I mentioned some Finnish tradition related to the cold – sauna, winter swimming, etc…) and Klaus Roth a German public speaking trainer. Hard to summarize everything we talked about, it is however striking that our cultural diversity pushed us to be always more talkative about what we do differently but equally successfully in every country.
The OC had foreseen an amazing training programme both in Polish and English.
Not to mention that at this time of the year, temperatures are seriously negative: the cold gets through your clothes and in the evening the freezing cold air makes it hard to breathe. Poland in the winter is cold, freezing cold – but I am living in Finland and I know about cold winters.