We were staying at the Hotel Gromada, which was situated in a pretty central location in the city. I met Emily one of my house mates from the Washington D.C. area.
We had our first meeting as a group at a local coffee shop and Piotrek gave an introduction to the logistics of the program. Some important information...
1) Polish people converse in public at a noise level of 4 (out of 10).
2) It is not typical to accept a drink from a stranger at a bar.
3) In a typical apartment you will find the washer in the bathroom. A dryer doesn't exist.
Time to wash clothes: 2 hours. Time to dry clothes: days.
4) "NEVER take a taxi that just says 'taxi,' because most likely it's a 'mafia taxi' (and they'll definitely rip you off)."
Afterwards, we went to a traditional Polish restaurant called Chlopskie Jadlo. Roughly translated the name meant "Peasant's Fare," and although the atmosphere was very inviting, the food was not. A platter of assorted traditional culinary delights such as golonka (jellied pig's knuckles) and various other mystery meats, soon appeared after our arrival. Seated directly in front of the platter, I could only force down a few pierogies, before succumbing to a spoiled appetite. I was not the only one who couldn't stomach the meal, because I found out later that Jack was a vegetarian. I had a lot to get use to....