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Monday, 29 January 2018

Karta Krakowska - newly planned discounts for public transport

Dearest sweethearts,
Dear expats living in Krakow,

#DidYouKnow that the Karta Krakowska will allow you to buy tickets, starting this summer, cheaper by up to 20%? The original plan was to make the discount available since May 2017 but there were delays, as you can tell, and this will be available starting summer 2018. The latest updates states this will start with the 1st of July 2018. Karta Krakowska will not only offer discounts up to 20% for the public transport, but also discounts for culture, sports and recreational activities, health, gastronomy and multiple others shops with different profiles (even boot repair or mending clothes). For the beginning though, it was announced that the discounts will be for public transport, for the MPK lines - buses and trams. The discounts will be up to 20% - for example a monthly ticket for all the lines inside Strefa I costs now 89 zloty, with the Karta Krakowska it will be available for 71 zloty. There is not much information on it but the discounts will also be available for museums and galleries, like the National Museum of Krakow - with its numerous branches.
MPK Tram stopping in the bus stop 
On the 23rd of January 2018, president Jacek Majchrowski submitted to the Krakow City Council a project on the introduction and implementation of the program called Karta Krakowska. The program is part of the promotional campaign for the city - it aims to emphasise on consolidating the inhabitants ties with the city, including by increasing the number of inhabitants (making them register their stay), increasing accessibility to public services and also increasing the income of the municipality. The estimations go so far as to say that having a single taxpayer results in an increase in revenue of 2000 zloty. The program aims to make Krakow more attractive to current and future residents. At the same time the program can contribute to the increase in the number of residents using public transport on a daily basis and decreasing the number of car owners - decreasing the pollution emitted as well.
Krakow Public Transport card
In order to have a Karta Krakowska it is enough to be registered for permanent residence in Krakow or to settle the income tax of individuals with the Tax Office as a resident of Krakow, without any income being required. The card will be issued for a period of one year, persons registered for a permanent residence in Krakow will not have to apply for an extension of the validity - they will be renewed automatically. For the persons who are not registered for permanent stay, the cards will be issued and renewed on the basis of the indicated place of residence in the annual PIT declaration. Children up to 18 years will also receive the card. Children up to 6 years will not have cards issued, but they will get discounts through their parents cards. The Karta Krakowska will be issued as a plastic document or in electronic form. The program research estimated that about 300.000 inhabitants will use this card.
Tram in front of the Dominican Church, Krakow, Poland 
Karta Krakowska will be issued at the customer service points inside the city for MPK and in some locations of the Urzad Miasta (City Office) in Krakow.  The cost associated with the implementaton of the program and issuing the cards in 2018 has been estimated at 3,3 million zloty.
Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Krakow 
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Friday, 26 January 2018

Family Matters in Poland: New Abortion Laws

Dear hearts,

You might have observed on The Guardian or The Independent or even on BBC, that there has been quite a spotlight on Poland and the abortion law proposed in 2016. Abortion in Poland is currently illegal, except in cases of rape or when the women's life is in jeopardy, or if the foetus is damaged beyond repair (that's a bad way to put it, when you are actually talking about a human being...). In 2016, due to the proposed legislation to completely outlaw abortion, over 300.000 women went on strike and marched in the big cities throughout Poland. They protested for their loss of reproductive rights, leading the lawmakers to vote against the new law. Due to the strict rules inside Poland, Polish women often seek abortion in neighbouring countries. Currently in Poland the law states that abortion is banned except in 3 certain circumstances: a) when the women's life/health is endangered by the continuation of pregnancy; b) when the pregnancy is a result of a criminal act; c) when the fetus is seriously malformed. In order to do that, consent of a physician is required for case a) and c), while in case b) the situation must be certified by the prosecutor. Added to that one must take into consideration if the women is a minor, in that case also parental consent is needed. 
Motherhood is both a gift and a test life gives us
#DidYouKnow that until 1932 the abortion acts were banned in Poland without any exception! In 1932 the new Penal Code legalised abortion only when there were medical reasons, and for the first time in Europe, when the pregnancy resulted from a criminal act. Abortion is a controversial topic in Polish politics, and generally in Polish life. The question of an anti-Abortion amendment was one of the reasons for the split in the Law and Justice (PiS) and the creation of Prawica Rzeczypospolitej (led by Marek Jurek). In April 2016, Polish organisations proposed amended legislation to ban abortion in all cases except to save the woman's life. The bill included penalties to abortion providers with up to 5 years of imprisonment! The bill passed and was debated in Sejm, beginning 22 September 2016. The Sejm voted with majority in favour of continuing the work on the bill. If the law would have passed, the abortion law would have mirrored the restrictions present in Malta and Vatican, the 2 countries in Europe that have the hardest restrictions on abortion.
Motherhood means letting a bit of yourself go, so you may develop into something better
When it comes to the public opinion, the latest poll done on the subject of abortion (By the CBOS - Public Opinion Research Center) shows that 69% of Poles view abortion as immoral and unacceptable, 14% are ambivalent towards it and 14% view it as acceptable. Half of the Poles oppose the right to abortion but only 1 in 7 (14%) supports the complete ban. The support for abortion rights when a mother's life is in danger is almost universal: 87%. 78% believe the pregnancy should be terminated if the pregnancy threaten the future mothers health; 78% also support it if it was caused by rape or incest; 60% support it if it is known that the child would be handicapped. At the other end of the scale, about 18% think that abortions should be legal if a women does not want to have the child. 
When it comes to statistics, in Poland, the large number of abortions are illegal. Estimates of illegal abortions per year put the numbers between 10.000 and 150.000, compared to the number of legal abortions 1.000 - 2.000 cases per year. Take into consideration that the law demands the abortion should take place only within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Let me also remind you that the Law and Justice ruling party has a close relationship with the Catholic church. Catholic church still maintains quite a firm hold on Poland, as about 87% of the population declares themselves as of Catholic faith.  Of course the fact that abortions are illegal in Poland will not stop the women from ending their unwanted pregnancies. Be sure that they will travel to Slovakia or Germany to undergo the procedures denied in Poland. 
In Motherhood you grow the love for your child. It does not come as a thunder, it rather creeps upon you bit by bit... surrounding the two of you in light. 
I stand divided over this law...  I do not agree with the idea that the child is a child it when you hear his heart beat or when you deliver him. I don't believe in the idea that some feminists have, that "it's only a bunch of cells" until you hold it out into the light. You cannot dehumanize a developing fetus, a fetus is no less than a child developing and forming to get out in the open. How can a little girl or boy, growing in your womb, be not yet a human being with complete human rights? It's true, it cannot speak and say it's own mind, but he is there - inside of you - growing, developing, forming a connection with yourself! Women who do have abortions mostly suffer from guilt issues, from the "What if?" questions that Mark their life. I am aware of the reproductive rights: men should use condoms, women can use sterilets/pills. There is the choice of getting pregnant or not. Of course all of them are not 100% safe, but if you want to be safe and never have children there is an option for that as well... On the other side... women should have the right to say what happens to their own bodies. A pregnancy is a test for each women and forcing a women to go to term with a pregnancy that would harm her or the baby, or in the case you know for sure the baby is handicapped, in the case where you might have a single mum with low capital and no help... would you let them both struggle further on in their misery? It's a tough choice! One I wish noone would need make. 
Through Motherhood you learn a different type of Joy. Being Joyful through the eyes of your child, experiencing the world with a clean slate...
And just for the reference... according to a 2015 UN report, Poland has among the lowest access to contraceptive methods in Europe! There are less than a half of women using a modern method of contraception! If a lady wants birth control without a long wait, you must pay for an appointment in a private clinic. Not all people have this benefit, as I do - working in a corporate environment - to have both public and private sector coverage. The appointments are not cheap - max 400 zloty + around 120 zloty for a 3 month supply of pills. The new law that came to effect July 2017 is quite ironic... The emergency contraceptive pill ellaOne (the most popular after pill in Poland, that was available over the counter) now requires a prescription VS. Viagra, that has just recently been made available without prescription. Oh, isn't life fair and equal between the 2 sexes! NOT!
Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Life
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Monday, 22 January 2018

Study in Poland: Jagiellonian University Krakow

Dearest sweethearts,

If you are from around the globe and have a craving to learn more about Poland, it's culture and ways of living, lifestyle, then why not think of semester, or even a whole Bachelor / Master degree, done in this fine land? I've always heard wonderful things about the Jagiellonian University, ever since I was in my homeland. There were exchange students coming to Iasi, as there was a linguistic Polish-Romanian department. Here is Krakow, the Jagiellonian University has a really powerful department and they are the ones that have developed here the finest Polish-Romanian-Polish dictionary - it's quite a huge one, vastly explanatory, very thorough; I highly recommend it both for Romanian and Polish people alike. But the Jagiellonian University does not focus only on Romanian language, but also on several others. The University is aware of the incredible value of the internationalisation of the academic community - we live in a world where there are less and less borders, any country is just a few hours away by plane, everyone has access to knowledge and people from all locations and financial background can have access to knowledge. Jagiellonian University expects candidates from abroad and widens it's offer of programs in foreign languages every year! 
Collegium Maius, Krakow, Poland
#DidYouKnow that the Jagiellonian University is the oldest university in Poland and one of the oldest in Europe! It was established in 1364. Today it has 16 faculties (including 3 medical - Medical College) and it provides education to approximately 44.000 students. The Jagiellonian University offers study programs in foreign languages on all education levels: 1st cycle (Bachelor), long and 2nd cycle (Masters), 3rd cycle (Doctoral degree) and non degree post-diploma courses in the field of humanities, social, natural, exact and medical sciences. The studies are available in multiple languages: English, German, Russian, Ukrainian and, of course, Polish. The Jagiellonian University also offers part programs, where some of the studies are completed at partner universities (double diploma programs). The Jagiellonian University also focuses greatly on the research - the university carried out 1.027 research projects, including 47 international projects. In the years 2014-2016, the Jagiellonian University has obtained patent protection for 85 inventions (36 in Poland and 49 abroad). And just so you know, the JU Careers Service conducted a research in which it was shown that nearly 83% of the students are satisfied with the Curriculum of their studies. Also, the Alumni find employment no later than 3 months after graduation.
Regarding the Masters programme at the Jagiellonian University, the ones that are in different languages, they range from Social sciences (18), Natural Sciences and Mathematics (5), Medicine and Health (4), Humanities (3), Business and Management (1), Engineering and Technology (1) to Environmental Studies & Earth Sciences (1). When you start thinking about joining the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, you will most certainly wonder about the housing services provided by UJ.  Well... The students can apply for accommodation in one of the University campuses/halls of residence. The campuses can hold over 3.000 residents! Also... #DidYouKnow that the Jagiellonian University actually had quite a few students that became famous: Pope John Paul 2nd, Nicolaus Copernicus (The astronomer), Wislawa Szymborska (poet and Nobel laureate), Norman Davies (historian - if you are into history books and especially the history of Poland, he has remarkable books on this topic. "God's Playground" is my favourite). Even Marie Curie tried to join the ranks but back then women were not allowed to higher education - that's why she went to Paris. Also... The School of Polish Language and Culture - the oldest and the most prestigious providers of Polish Language and Culture education in Poland, the academic offer contains: summer courses (summer school to learn Polish), summer culture camps (for ages 13-17), intensive 2 week courses, 1 year and 1 semester courses, summer preparatory courses for candidates for studies in Poland, online courses. So... if you want you can speak Polish as well in no time ;)
Lovely signs inside the Collegium Maius courtyard, Krakow, Poland
When it comes to the accommodation, the students can basically rent an apartment or a room in an apartment, or live in a dormitory. The Jagiellonian University does have it's dorms, which are usually the cheapest way to go. The standards are various and you really should check out the dorms before making a choice! The costs usually range around 60-80 EURO monthly for a shared room and 100-150 for a single room. You can also try to pick an apartment or a room in an apartment, in an area of your choosing. Foreign students usually prefer doing that, hiring bigger apartments and sharing them. The costs depend on the city and the location in the city. The average monthly rent can be around 150-200 EURO. You also need to take into consideration that is you rent a flat you usually need to pay at least 3 months in advance + a certain amount as a deposit, in case you destroy/damage anything. There are also companies that actually specialise in helping out foreign students to get accommdation, to find a right fit apartment for their needs. For example Easy Renting does that - they have over 100 apartments in Warsaw and over 100 apartments in Krakow to rent. Their aim is Erasmus students coming to Krakow and Warsaw. Of course you can also do the search by yourself on the Expat groups on Facebook or just by going to local sites like to find what you need - the downside to this kind of sites is that they place the info in Polish (Polish landlords).

So... what do you think? Is it worthwhile to come study in Krakow at the Jagiellonian University? Would you consider it or did I frighten you away with the talk about accommodation? I would love to help if you had any questions :) so feel free to bug me - on Facebook I reply the quickest!
Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Krakow
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Friday, 19 January 2018

Family Matters in Poland: Dzialki

Dearest sweethearts,

Did you ever hear about "dzialki" in Poland? Have you ever seen one or been inside one? Maybe your family even owns one! I know there are plenty of "dzialki" around the neighbourhood I am living in, but before I head off deeper in the post let me tell you what they are. "Dzialki" are allotment gardens given from the land of the state to its citizen. When asking away friends that live in and around Krakow the constant answer I had from them was the fact that they did not know a single member of the family, especially the elderly ones, that don't have a "dzialki". These pieces of land give the right to the "owners" to grow their own food, have their own vegetable garden, be out in the Nature and grow their own organic food - especially for the little ones. Now for the larger pieces of land split in multiple "dzialki" there are allotment associations who own the freehold and make sure that certain things don't happen while they are around. The power over the allotment gardens used to belong to the unions, PZD (Polish Association of Gardens), but it was taken away and given to the "gminy" (local government). 
These type of "social gardens" can be found throughout the cities in Poland and can be viewed as a quirk. The "dzialki ogrodowe" are not actually owned by the people that take care of them, that farm the land, but by the local government. Yet people do pay taxes for using the land, as if it were their own! The persons that work the land, that make use of It, own a sort of lease that allows them to use the plot with certain restrictions. You even can raise a small abode, a small summer "house", a room with a kitchen where you can go out and do a grill - but there are strict laws on how the building should look like and how big it should be. There are almost a million of such allotments - forming a total of 300+ square meters - and they are spread throughout Poland.  Some of them are established more than a hundred years ago, given to "excellent citizens" (people with exemplary behaviour in the society)! And some of them are currently in some fine locations, ripe for development. Altogether, the land that sits now in the possesson of the allotment holders amounts to 43.000 hectares! Just imagine!
I have never heard of "dzialki" until 3 years back, when I first realised what it means... the area I live in (Krowodza Gorka area in Krakow) has many such places - some are along the tram lines, some are in between blocks and some take the shape of a circle and the inner part of the circle, enclosed, is a wonderful public park. A park that you would not know was there, as there is no sign, you would think it all private property... The "dzialki" are hermetically closed with fences and locked gates and even small summer houses - probably just one small room and  a kitchen/toilet. #DidYouKnow that the PZD (Polish Association of Gardens) is one of the very few organisations that managed to get out of the Communist Regime in one piece?! Also, in 2012, some of the laws related to "dzialki" were found unconstitutional by the Polish court - right now we are in 2018 and there are still not any clear laws about the future of PZD nor of the "dzialki". I did find an article that was saying that there are multiple types of "dzialki" - Family Garden (Rodzinny Ogrod Dzialkowy), Workers Garden (Pracownyczych Ogrod Dzialkowy) or the one for retired veterans. Inside the big cities, like here in Krakow, they do seem like small villages inside the big cities, little gated communities that do have access to water and electricity. Some even have mailboxes!
Having a walk with the Little One in the park surrounded by "Dzialki" - they do keep all the noise away and you feel as if you were no longer in the city :)
Before '89 people do share stories about raising chicken and pigs there, but nowdays mostly propel just use it for gardening and relaxing. In the summertime they enjoy doing a picnic surrounded by greenery, without having anyone shout at you for the noise or the pagan smell ;) it's an oasis in the big city.  Nowdays, as far as I can see the ocasional adds placed in the areas with "dzialki", the transactions are done on a person to person basis. If you want a piece of land like that you need to scout out and try to find someone willing to sell it to you. There is of course no standard price and I could say this might generate some "black market"... but if you do manage to somehow buy a "dzialka" you need to be prepared! You will have to join PZD and take a 3 day course: one on flowers, one on fruit trees and one day with legal matters - like cutting your grass regularly, making trees and other plants don' go on the other side of the fence, to your neighbours, and so on. "Dzialki" are a privilege and one should be very much honoured to be part of the group that has such an amazing place to spend some time in the Nature's bosom ;) how about you, your family, friends... do they own one? Would love to hear your stories!

P.S. The people who now I'm seeing around in the "dzialki" are usually 50+ years. Up to this moment I have never seen youngsters or grown ups my age in any of the parcels. Not even in the summertime... I guess they rather would travel and spend time elsewhere... I guess that also makes "dzialki" an old-school place to be, totally not hip and fashionable :/

Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves "Family Matters in Poland" ;)))
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Monday, 15 January 2018

Family Matters in Poland: The Children

Dearest sweethearts,

There is no such thing as a "broken family." Family is family, and is not determined by marriage certificates, divorce papers, and adoption documents. Families are made in the heart. The only time family becomes null is when those ties in the heart are cut. If you cut those ties, those people are not your family. If you make those ties, those people are your family. And if you hate those ties, those people will still be your family because whatever you hate will always be with you.
C. JoyBell C.

Family is what matters the most in life. If you come to think of ones daily schedule you will see we spend 1/3 of our time, life, at work + 1/3 at home (and sometimes stuck in traffic... in transit) + 1/3 sleeping (or at least we should, but whom nowdays sleeps 8 hours?!). That would lead us thinking that at least a third of our life should be spent with the ones we love, doing the things that make us happy. Dunno how life treated you or what your values are, and I do respect your decisions and opinions, but for me Family does come first. The ones whom I love matter the most for me. Family is important both in my home country (Romania) but also in my adoptive home (Poland). I tend to be subjective on my writings, so please don' throw any stones if you feel you do not fit what I am saying :) 
The Three Kings festivity, Krakow, Poland - January 2018
If I am to talk about "Family Matters in Poland" I must also speak about the religious life - Romania is mostly Christian orthodox country as Poland is Catholic. You will find a church every couple of meters and you will find people do go there often, maybe even more regular here in Poland (than in Romania). Religion for sure is not gone! Let's just think about World Youth Day in Krakow in 2016, and the great enthusiasm and the large number of participants that came throughout the world (reaching a peak in the tourism industry, peak that has not dropped ever since!). Of course Catholic church is against abortion and against using protecting as well, so that does make religious familis have many children. Of course, children are a blessing, don't get me wrong; but looking at the generation of my age (people in their 25-30s) you can see the number of children dropping. I also observed that people of my generation are more liberal in their way of thinking, they do want to have kids - maybe 2, maximum 3! - but they also want to make sure that they have a life of their own, that they can travel and develop themselves not only personally but also professionally. Let's face it, mothers can take maternity leave for 6-12 months and that cuts them away from the work environment. Research shows that the capacity of a woman, up to one year after birth, lowers by 10%! Of course it does come back with exercise, but hey! Your brain no longer thinks of Lean, Six Sigma, Process Excellence, KPIs, SLAs or whatever... It's too busy thinking how to stay alive and not get crazy, how to keep alive and well fed and protected and satisfied another human being, that is totally dependent to yourself!
The joys of childhood - January 2018, Krakow, Poland 
Of course, both parents are entitled to the leave. It can be a paternity leave as well and the father can stay home with the little one, but if you are breastfeeding I don't think that's doable at all... I mean from all my friends here in Poland not one tried paternity leave, and I would say at least 80% of my friends stayed the full year with their babies. When I come to think of the fact that in the States you can stay only max 3 months, I find that so hard to do... but in comparison with Romania where you can stay at home 2 years! Oh, that's a privilege! Also, in Poland, the first year after you come back from maternity, you can choose to work only half term (4 hours per day) for a year and they can't refuse you or fire you, so keep that in mind ;) Anyway, what I was trying to say here is that Family and Faith are central pillars in the Polish community. It's very important for the child to be baptised (they can be baptised, as far as I remember, even up to the age of 1 year). It's important for the family to go to church on a regular basis, in their finest clothes, and behave properly throughout their lives. The First Communion is almost celebrated like a small family wedding and the child gets expensive gifts from his/hers godfather and godmother. It's all about the confirmation of joining the Catholic church sacrament.
Losing Your Color - January 2018, Krakow, Poland
The "500+" program - Law and Justice ruling party in Poland recently introduced this program in Poland. For every second and next child under 18 years of age a family receives 500 PLN per month (approximately 110 EUROS). This money is given to the family in order to better raise the children, to help them out financially. I think it's a brilliant idea, though it may have some downsides to it as well... I mean in a way this may increase the birthrate, but experts still can't tell how much :/ some believe this might be an incentive to leave the labor market and entice women to just pop out children like a conveyor belt... I find that very unlikely, especially when we speak of people in the big cities that are focused on a different way of living and a different quality of life. But when we look at the countryside I still think that is possible and probable at the same time - where people mostly work in the field, in agriculture, and still have a very "rural" way of thinking. There family is even more important, and the survival of the family comes from the father that ploughs the field, plants potatoes and takes care of the apple trees VS. the wife, the Mother, who's supposed to cook and clean and make babies and take care of the family. All wrapped up with at least a weekly visit on every Sunday afternoon, at church, in the finest clothes, to praise The Lord for the blessings that they have. It's sometimes a piece of fairytale to see that still happening; nowdays when it's all about speed and information and depersonalising everything...
First Communion - 2016, Krakow, Poland 
I would say that about 95% of the Poles still identify themselves as Catholic, but if you take a closer look that figure is slowly shrinking, especially amongst the youth - who love to challenge everything that they hear or see. Church going is still popular both in the countryside (a lot!) But also in the big cities. The Polish people also love saying that the Church helped them survive through Communist times. It is still a social pressure to be there, in the Catholic community, but I also see it as a good thing, as it brings up the Children in the Light. It helps them understand from an early age the difference between wrong and right, between the light and the darkness. I firmly believe it's never too early to teach your child about that, and about the fact that there needs to be a balance in this world. I also believe that Children should be encouraged to think and speak up their own mind, less watching of TV and computer games, more reading books and playing outside - and I love to say that this is the tendency that I see here in Poland. Everyday I was talking my little Ladybug Baby Girl out for a walk in the park, while I was on maternity leave - for a year, I would see groups of children from kindergardens and schools, going in the park and doing activities outside - tracking competitions, orientation contests, gathering leaves and chestnuts to do manual things... I remember doing that when I was small, I remember being happy and bonding with others, for sure I want my Baby Girl to have that as well. In the end, as parents, don't we all want the most to have our children healthy and happy?! Well I think that's totally doable in Poland, maybe even more than in other countries where one has to worry about a roof over ones head or about being shot in the streets, in broad daylight. Thank God for Peace!
Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Poland and Her Family (Especially Her Little Ladybug Baby Girl)
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Thursday, 11 January 2018

10 Things You Should Know About Krakow Business Park

Dearest hearts,

So sorry for the week long absence from the written blog, I tend to be a bit hectic at the beginning of the new year and this year more than usual as I've just started a new position in the corporation I'm working. So do be kind and gentle and bare with me while I wake up like Sleeping Beauty from her long slumber :) Now I've been working inside Krakow Business Park for more than 4 years now and as much as I would have wanted to see any changes, any great developments I could not see much. Zabierzow is not Krakow - it's far away... Zabierzow is a village located in southern Poland in the Krakow metropolitan area. On it's main website about Krakow Business Park you will find that it presents itself as "one of the most modern office centres not only in Poland, but also in Europe" - now that might have been true, many years ago, when it was built (in 1997) but now, over 20 years fast forwarded, I can tell you for sure that there are many more modern and suitable places in Krakow to call "Business Park" than this one! But hey, that's my personal opinion, so don't throw any stones my way, I'm here to present you 10 Things You Should Know About Krakow Business Park:
1) Krakow Business Park is not in Krakow - to be more precise, it's less than 13 km away from the centre of Krakow. Now you might not think that as much, but the traffic combined with the public transport and the renovation work on the railway system might make you have a very long transit time (getting to and from work) especially during rush hours. 
2) Krakow Business Park boasts of "four A class buildings", office areas ranging from 500 metres to modules consisting of entire floors, even up to 2700 metres. Nowdays there is plenty of space free in the Krakow Business Park as many of the big companies/corporation, due to the fact mentioned above (transit) decided to move inside Krakow, to the newest Business Parks created inside the city perimeters.
Interior Z1 building, KBP, Poland
3) Krakow Business Park has one big plus: great location in connection with the Krakow Airport (John Paul the 2nd) and a perfect connection with the A4 motorway. That is a huge plus if you have your own car or if you call a cab/taxi - it's about 5-10 min drive. But if you need to rely on the public transport... you are doomed!
4) Krakow Business Park has parking spaces for car drivers. Actually each of the 4 buildings has an underground parking lot, with dedicated spaces and access for the employees of the companies residing in that particular building. There are nice places around the buildings as well and there is also this huuuuge parking lot but that's always a horror during wintertime or when it rains, as it is actually not paved and it gets extremely muddy (loads of lakes, rather than puddles...). Nowdays it' quite deserted as there are fewer and fewer companies working in KBP. I remember 4 years ago if you would come to work after 9 am you would have an issue finding a free spot anywhere!
Train stop for Krakow Business Park, Krakow, Poland
5) Krakow Business Park had a great advantage by having it's own private train station and train ticket office - it still has that but now the trains are not as frequent as they used to be due to the fact that there are renovation works on the tracks. Poland is very good with obtaining European Union funds and using them correctly, to its citizen benefit. There were 2 tracks - one for each way - but now only one is open at a time. They are changing it for better trains (speed trains) and working on the ground to get it stabilised. It' a long process that will make the line going to Wieliczka and Oswiecim (Auschwitz) better and faster and more reliable. But that also means that a couple of year there will be ok limited traffic, a limited amount of trains coming that way and an even more restricted number or those that will actually stop at the KBP station. If you are lucky now, they come maybe once per hour and even then they are late...
6) Krakow Business Park does have 1 ATM machine from which you can extract money and but what you need - for example yummy food from the Food Trucks. I never caught it out of order or out of money and never caught a line when I tried to get money out. The ATM is located in the first building next to the public transport bus stop, KBP 200 (not the Z1 building!), on the ground floor - as you enter the revolving doors, to your right.
View to the parking lot, coming from KBP800, KBP
7) Krakow Business Park has 3 "push-the-tray" food places (the KBP site calls them "three restaurants" but I would not venture to call them that highly...). If you didn't bring and food and if you are very hungry and just want something warm to eat, canteen like - old school - not very yummy but filling food. There are 3 options: the best one of the 3, in my opinion, is "Blackberry", located in Z1, ground floor as you are going to the train tracks - decent, warm food, mainly Polish cooking. Then there is "Krakowskie Przedmiejsce" - "Dollar" (hope I wrote that right...) and it's located on the side of KBP 200. It's Polish food and here the food is portioned (in "Blackberry" you take a plate and put into it as much as you want from any dish). You can also take just half a portion and pay for half, if you don't want it all. The 3rd option is called "Cent" and it's at the ground floor of KBP1000. It's plus, since a week now, is the fact that daily after 1 pm there is a salad buffet and "Italian dishes" - must try that once and see how that is... don't have high expectations!
8) Krakow Business Park has another plus: Manufaktura Zdrowia Fitness & Gym. I used to love this place! I was going there 3 times a week for Pilates classes at 7 am. It would open up at 6:30 am and I would be there, running a bit, then doing the Pilates and finally relaxing with some half a hour of sauna. It was perfect and I would start work at 8:30-9:00 am with a positive attitude. I stopped when I came back from maternity leave as the trains, as I have said, have horrific train schedules + I choose to spend my morning time with my little Ladybug Baby Girl. But just FYI, this is a great place to spend time before/after work. Very nice people that speak English and you can use the Multisport Card here ;) They also do, from time to time, at the company/people request, stretching classes that last 15-30 min. Great for when you are being stuck in a chair for 8.5+ hours daily!
Your Healthy Jar Food Truck in Krakow Business Park, Zabierzow, Poland 
9) Krakow Business Park Food Trucks - in order to save us from the typical daily polish menu, in order to create diversity in our daily meal, KBP management agreed with a Food Truck area - located between KBP400 and KBP800. The trucks come on a daily basis (2 or sometimes even 3 of them) and serve food between 11 am and 3 pm. Each day there is a different one, a different menu. I tried and like a few: Twoj Zdrowy Sloj (Your Healthy Jar) and Hindus are my personal favourite - at Hindus you MUST try the "Butter Chicken" and at Twoj Zdrowy Sloj you MUST try the "Serniczek" (Cheesecake) that is done with a very smooth chocolate mousse (heavenly!). But there is also hamburgers, Mexican food, Greek food, by rotation they all come at least one day there. Try them all and let me know which you likes best. Oh! Almost forgot! Hindus also does a mean "Mango lassu" drink - smooth and tasty, a perfect treat to go with the "Butter Chicken" ;) 
10) Getting to Krakow Business Park -  since lat year, when the heavy repairs started at the train lines, and the schedules changed, the companies remaining at KBP started providing additional buses for its own employees (for sure both Amway and UBS do that). If you own a car an you come to work around 8 am and get back around 5 pm, then you will always be in trouble and you will need to start early from home - that's the rush hour. It can be faster for some people on some routes though... Depends! Depends of your location - sometimes it takes me 2 hours (both ways) by public transport! Of course the public transport is the most used one - lines 238, 248 and 258 get you to the Krakow Business Park or Zabierzow Dzialki stop (from which you need to cross the street and walk a bit). For the public transport to get from Krakow to Zabierzow (Krakow Business Park) you must buy a Strefa I+II ticket/abonament (as it is located in the 2nd zone/area, the metropolitan area). There are also private buses that can take you up to the Zabierzow Dzialki station - but I would not recommend that to the people that have never been in the area because they might miss the correct stop. There are also the trains - that used to work on time and pretty often, but now... we must wait until the works on the lines are done. I used to take something up to Galeria Krakowska (Tunel Station) and then go straight up to the platform/train that would take me to work. I'm missing that :( now there is so much time wasted catching and waiting for buses. Oh! By the way! Those lines that connect to Krakow Business Park are almost 80-90% never in time and always filled up to the brim - I always end up feeling like a sardine...

Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Works In Krakow Business Park 
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Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Things I Am Thankful For - December 2017

Dearest sweethearts,

If you've been reading my blog this year you must have noticed the challenge I have proposed for last year. It's hard sometimes to see the bright side of life. Even when looking at a glass of water we tend to see the empty half, nor the part filled with water. In fact, all that is relatively as the glass is never empty - the other half is filled with air! So what I proposed was that at the beginning of each month we should think of the things we are thankful for.  It might be hard at first but you'll get better as time passes. Train yourself to see the beauty in the little things in life. Start with 5 things/Moments and work up from there ;) Here's my take until now for the month of January, FebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctober and November. For December, I am thankful for many things, but here are 5 picks:
1. Star Wars Universe - specifically The Last Jedi (that I have seen on the big screen, up to this very day, for 4 times - both 2D and 3D) and all the new Canon books and comics that appear like mushroos after heavy rain. Some people can't take the Disney(fied) version of Star Wars nowdays, but I say: Bring it on! I've always been a Star Wars fan ever since I was a little lass, I ain't stopping now! #carriefisherismyprincessforever  ♥️it is true I do not agree with the road taken with the original characters (especially Luke) but the new movies  have this cinematic beauty that makes everyone want to watch and rewatch them. I , for one, am rooting for a match between Kylo Ren / Ben Solo and Rey. And somehow I find it hard to believe that she's a noone.  
2. Christmas Markets - nothing gets me more into the Christmas spirit than the Christmas Markets opening at the end of November, but when there is some snow and frost (in December) they get even more magical. Going out with family, treating yourself to some mulled wine and some oscypek (mountain cheese), having some pictures in front of the huge Christmas tree... that's somewhat magical in itself. Enjoy the Szopka Christmas Nativity Scenes Contest next to the Adam Mickiewicz statue, maybe buy a small wooden version for yourself - for home... children love Christmas Markets and what better time to become children again then Christmas Time?!
3. Time spent with Family - I am blessed to have both my mum and granny with me, helping us with the little Ladybug Baby Girl. That allows us to go to work and not worry about a nanny or child care. It is a blessing indeed! And we were fortunate enough to have also my sister over for both Christmas and New Year - I wish she could have stayed forever, but we all have work to do... Yet time spent with the Family is the best way one can spend time, especially during the winter holidays. The main holidays should be spent with family, together as one, not necessarily eating like a pig :p but enjoying the time with one another, sharing stories, playing cards, having long walks... even fighting from time to time... I guess every family does That!
4. People still being human, people that still give, people that have a heart that beats not only for themselves - I love the fact that even if corporations are greedy and they do tend to take the soul and spirit away from People, they do provide CSR activities to balance the artistic urges. I know for sure that in Krakow there are corporations that host once a year large artistic events created, directed and acted by employees; done on their own sweet time. The artistic acts are usually plays or musicals and the money raised goes to diverse charities. Capgemini does that, Cisco does that and UBS does that too... This year I finally managed to go see my friends at the Musical: Kasting - it had 2 shows in December and it will have 2 more in January. It's nice to know that people still care and would give up their time and money to do something good for others. Think about it! Pay it forward!
5. Holidays - to be more precise: Christmas and New Year - what can be better than winter Holidays?! What brings family closer, what puts a smile on everyone's face? Christmas brightens the spirits, it lifts people up... it makes one think of God and the fact that he came here as a babe for us. A King became a baby, when usually it's quite the opposite... the other way around... I love this time of year, when everyone gets together and there is present sharing and this lovely smell around the house. Everyone gets a break from work and everyone turns jolly... oh, how I wish it were Christmas all year round!

Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Wants To Be Thankful For All The Lovely Things Life Brings Us
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