Heineken Open'er Festival
Trip Start Feb 06, 2011
44Trip End Sep 15, 2011
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Where I stayed
Siesta Hostel, Sopot, Poland
The hostel was run by a Polish couple who had done some extensive traveling and decided that they were tired of the 9-5 jobs so they converted a house into a hostel in this quaint beach town. I was the only hosteller in my 4 bed dorm for the first night. What a treat to not have to use earplugs for one night! I explored the town the next morning and hit the beach to check out why Sopot is such a popular summer destination for the Poles. The beach was incredibly crowded and clearly the locals have not seen a lot of sun prior to Sopot because half the people were sunburned!
I returned to the hostel in the early afternoon and one of the girls arranged for a taxi to pick us up to take us directly to the festival venue so that we could avoid public transportation with the masses. The Heineken Open'er has been running for 10 years and is touted to be the most well organized music festival in all of Europe. It didn't disappoint! The first festival was in Warsaw but they since moved it to the north of the country in a giant empty airfield so that they could accomodate the 50,000 festivalgoers. There were 7 different stages, pints of Heineken beers for just over $2 CDN, hundreds of port-o-potties (they call them "toi toi" here), and even outdoor washbasins to keep people somewhat clean
Poland was fantastic and as with most places I've visited so far, I wish i had more time to explore the country. Just some random observations:
-Most older Poles don't speak any English. When they were growing up, they learned German or Russian or even Spanish as a second language, not English
-The potatoes in Poland are amazingly delicious. They're naturally sweet and are hands down, the best potatoes I've ever had in my life.
-The Poles love to incorporate beetroot in their cooking. Beetroot soup, beetroot juice, pickled beetroot, beetroot sauce, etc. If you don't like beetroot, be VERY careful what you order in a restaurant.
-The milk bars are a must try for any tourist in Poland. These eating establishments are the last remnants of the Communist era and I'm glad they've lasted! Everything is in Polish so don't even think of using any English. You order what you want from the cashier (I just randomly point) and you pick up your order through a window in an adjacent kitchen. The food is incredibly cheap and it's just good home-cooked Polish food.
Yes, I realize that they're all food related. Are you surprised?