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First Impressions


Czestochowa, pronounced '
shen-stoh-hova' is home to the world famous Jasna Gora Monastery, this is a huge and magnificent church which houses the Black Madonna icon. For religious people this is a super place to visit. Because of its positioning, Czestochowa is subject to very warm summers, but drags itself through very long, harsh winters. Snow can be expected from December till April, with temperatures getting as low as -30C.

Natives of Czestochowa are generally very hospitable people. The city holds a number of              universities within its catchments, one of with is
Politechnika Czestochowa. This is where I studied from September till June 2002-2003. A reasonable percentage of people that make up the          population of this relatively small city are students. There are a lack of foreign people here. 99% of people are Polish, a few are Russian, a few Ukrainian and only occasionally do you see another English speaking person, who you can almost guarantee are here to teach English.

The centre of the city is situated around the main street
Aleja Najswietrzej Mari Panny, abbreviated to Al.NMP. Around Al.NMP are many shops and bars, they always look closed, but look a little closer. There are many shops in Czestochowa that are hidden away off the beaten street, look around a little and you'll be surprised what you find!

Beware, Polish people don't know how to queue.

Things to see and do around Czestochowa


Situated in the south of Poland, approximately 100 km north-west of Krakow, Czestochowa is in an excellent position for travelling to the rest of eastern Europe. With regular train connections to the 2 main rail hubs, Warsaw and Katowice, travelling is made easy and
sometimes trouble free.

However, having personally experienced travelling thorough both hubs, I would advise avoiding       Katowice. The timetables in Poland provide platform information as well as times, and at Katowice this is always wrong! The board doesn't match what the timetable says and the advisor behind the desk doesn't match what the board says. All guess work from here!! Plus, Katowice is known to be the most dangerous station in Poland. Warsaw station though, is fine.

Ticket prices within Poland are very cheap in comparison to Britain, with student discount, a 200 km return trip to Warsaw would cost about 30 zlotys, that's only 5. However, if you cross an               international boarder the price goes through the roof. From Czestochowa to Vienna, return, going through Czech Republic, will cost approx 300 zlotys that's 50!!! And that's with student discount.

Tower top of the Jasna Gora Monastery

"Snow can be expected from December till April, with temperatures getting as low as -30C"

"A 200 km return trip to Warsaw would cost about 30 zlotys, that's only 5"

"Its just as interesting to watch as it is to take part"


Polish students, like in the UK, mainly live on campus. In
Dom Studenta, which literally translates to student house. This is what they call the flats with 10 floors, not houses, that students live in. Don't get me wrong though, some students do live in rented houses in the city, and others commute from home. Just like the UK. One thing that does differ, almost everyone goes home every weekend. The place becomes very quiet from Saturday morning till Sunday night.

Friday nights on the other hand are a completely different matter. There are always parties and mass drinking sessions on all the different floors, in peoples rooms, and sometimes even in the corridors. Students in Poland like to drink! Some prefer beer but the best drink the vodka, bottles to themselves. Its just as interesting to watch as it is to take part.

Just outside
Dom Studenta is the main student area in Czestochowa, here you'll find many pubs, a couple of good cheap restaurants and of course, thousands of students.


Some of the finest beer in Europe is brewed in Poland (the rest in Czech). My personal favourites are
Okocim and Zywiec. Polish beer is much tastier and stronger than its British counterpart. It's served in half litres which is only just short of a pint and is quite cheap. One glass of beer can cost between 0.60 and 1. Other Polish beers include Warka, Tyskie, Zywiec Porter and Warka Strong. Girls      favour Warka Strong because its sweet, but it is about 8%!!!

And for the Vodka. The Polish national drink is Zubrowka (bison vodka) served with apple juice. This is delicious. I strongly recommend you try it. Other vodkas include
Bols, Finlandia, Smirnoff, Absolvent, Sobieska and Spiritus. Spiritus vodka is rated at a staggering 95%!!!! The Poles drink it diluted 50% with water.

More about Polish drinks

"Spiritus vodka is rated at a staggering 95%!!!!"

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