Practical information

From Wikimania 2010 • Gdańsk, Poland • July 9-11, 2010
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Practical information:

Currency exchange

You can see official exchange rates and the spread of the Narodowy Bank Polski, the central bank of Poland, at pl:n:Portal:Gospodarka#Kursy_walut (updated every hour). Banks and bureaus d'exchange (Kantor, see Google maps) have their rates, which are more expensive on the airport and cheaper downtown: on July 5 the rates to buy zl were about 3,7 zl/€ on the airport and 4,01 zl/€ in all city kantor.

Plugs

Poland uses type E power plug. To insert in Poland sockets a different plug (even type L, but not simple Europlug) you'll need an adapter (you can buy it in some shops in the city for about 18 zl).

Climate

Gdańsk in the 19th century


Neptune fountain
Dluga Street at night
Weather data from worldweather.org
Month July August
Mean temperature - maximum 21.0°C (69.8°F) 21.3°C (70.3°F)
Mean temperature - minimum 13.3°C (55.9°F) 13.1°C (55.6°F)
Mean total precipitation 66.7 mm 55.8 mm
Mean days with rainfall 13 12

Cost of living

Food Drinks
  • McDonald's "BigMac" sandwich - 7.50 PLN / $ 2.67 / € 1.95 / £ 1.75
  • McDonald's "Big Mac menu" - 13 PLN / $ 4.63 / € 3.39 / £ 3.03
  • 3-course meal at Sphinx (budget restaurant chain) - 35 PLN / $ 12.46 / € 9.12 / £ 8.15
  • 3-course meal with wine at a high-end restaurant - 110 PLN / $ 39.17 / € 28.67 / £ 25.62
  • Fried flounder with chips and salad - 18 PLN / $ 6.41 / € 4.69 / £ 4.19
  • "Pizza Hut" large classic pizza - 29 PLN / $ 10.33 / € 7.56 / £ 6.75[1]
  • "Snickers" candy bar, 57g - 1.59 PLN / $ 0.57 / € 0.41 / £ 0.37[2]
  • Take-away kebab - 8 PLN / $ 2.85 / € 2.08 / £ 1.86
  • Coca-Cola (1 litre) - 3.35 PLN / $ 1.19 / € 0.87 / £ 0.78[3]
  • "Nałęczowianka" mineral water (1,5 litre) - 1.59 PLN / $ 0.57 / € 0.41 / £ 0.37[4]
  • "Żywiec" beer (500ml aluminium tin) - 2.99 PLN / $ 1.06 / € 0.78 / £ 0.7[5]
  • "Łaciate" milk, 3.2% fat (1 litre) - 2.65 PLN / $ 0.94 / € 0.69 / £ 0.62[6]
  • "Hortex" apple juice (1 litre) - 3.15 PLN / $ 1.12 / € 0.82 / £ 0.73 [7]
  • Żubrówka vodka (0.5 litre) - 18.79 PLN / $ 6.69 / € 4.9 / £ 4.38[8]
  • Cup of coffee at a barista café - 10 PLN / $ 3.56 / € 2.61 / £ 2.33

Leisure

According to Trojmiasto.pl, Tricity's regional portal, in the metropolis one can find 38 fast food restaurants, 144 bistros, 133 tea/coffee shops, 151 pizza restaurants, 136 pubs, 361 restaurants and 7 wine bars.

When in search of pleasures other than relishing the tastes of a variety of cuisines and beverages, one may also play billiards / pool in one of 14 billiards clubs, visit one of 15 casinos, or play bowling in one of six bowling clubs.

Tricity's prestigious cultural nature is additionally accented by a number of events organised: Gdańsk hosts Festiwal Dobrego Humoru (Festival Of Good Humour, a comedy and satire festival), Jarmark św. Dominika (St. Dominic's Festival, a trade and culture event reaching back to 1260 AD), Festiwal Szekspirowski w Gdańsku (Shakespearian Festival), Yach Film Festval (one of the few video clip festivals), Gdynia is home to Polish Film Festival and Open'er Festival, while Sopot, a popular spa and tourist resort, is home to Sopot International Song Festival and a number of other music festivals.

Security

A Kia cee'd Polish Police car in the new standard European Union livery

The Polish Police is trusted by Poles. In a survey made by Centre for Public Opinion Research in May 2008 73% of those asked responded with positive reviews of the Polish Police[9]. Gdańsk police have also expressed their confidence that English-speaking officers will be on patrol during the conference, since the police forces are undergoing language trainings as part of Poland's preparation to co-host Euro 2012 football championship.

In Poland the phenomenon of public binge drinking among young people is virtually unknown. Due to the fact that the state has a "zero tolerance" policy towards public intoxication those found by the Police or the City Guards to be intoxicated to a level making them "unable to properly take care of themselves" can be fined and/or spend the night at a sobering-up station (at their own expense). Additionally, the regional "clubbing center" is located in the nearby town of Sopot, where the "trendiest" clubs are to be found, making Gdańsk a city friendly to the more mature travellers and night-time tourists. After nightfall the Gdańsk city centre is relatively safe, clean and quiet during the summer season.

To learn more about crime and staying safe in Poland, read an independent report by the United States Department of State.

Gdynia is home to National Centre for Tropical Medicine, which can potentially take care of even rare medical cases.

Moving around

Solaris Urbino 12, one of Gdańsk's most commonly used buses. Gdańsk boasts to have the youngest fleet of city buses in Poland.[10]
Konstal N retro-tram

Gdańsk has a system of bus/tram public transport aided by the Fast Urban Railway (abbr. SKM) connecting all the cities of Tricity and adjacent towns (its trains are easily recognizable because they're yellow and blue).[9] The city is covered by 86 bus lines (10 of them being night-only lines) and 11 tram lines altogether.

The proposed Wikimania venue is located within walking distance from Gdańsk's key bus stops and tram stops located along the Wały Jagiellońskie (view location on Google Maps) and Podwale Grodzkie avenues (view location on Google Maps[11]), as well as from the main train station located in a late 19th century building at Podwale Grodzkie. Thanks to that, participants may easily reach the venue by any means of transport from any point of Tricity with no more than one change of bus/tram, as the majority of Gdańsk's lines have a stop along at least one of the aforementioned streets.

Moreover, the walk itself will take the participants through the city's oldest and most beautiful areas, first along Długa Street and subsequently, along either Długi Targ or the parallel, enchanting Mariacka Street.

Optionally, participants may also reach the venue from Podwale Przedmiejskie Street (view route on Google Maps): the Akademia Muzyczna stop is by far the nearest to the venue, and tramways 3, 8, 9 stop here, as well as nocturn bus N1, N7, N8, N9 and several other buses. You can see the complete list of the stops of each line on the ZTM website (only Polish, but just click the line number etc., it's very intuitive, although it doesn't calculate routes).

To orient yourself in the city it's suggested to buy a map (Demart's one costs 6 zl) and to get a "Gdansk in your pocket" guide (available for free at tourist information centres like the one on the main street, Dluga), which suggest the most convenient way to reach the most important places (although not all infos on the new lines are updated).

Participants arriving by plane (see Getting_to_Gdańsk#Getting_to_the_City for ways of getting to Gdańsk) will be able to reach the city centre by bus or taxi (it should be noted that foreign visitors are in danger of being cheated by dishonest taxi drivers, which can be avoided by picking licensed taxis from local taxi corporations; see also Airport Taxi Groups). Those arriving by train will most probably get off at the main railway station right next to the tram and bus stops at Podwale Grodzkie.

Options are being examined of providing participants with dedicated means of transportation between the airport, their hotels/hostels and the conference venue. There is a good chance that we will be able to rent a Konstal N retro-tram. Moreover, a deal with one of the taxi companies might be signed thanks to which a discount will be offered to participants.

Gdańska Organizacja Turystyczna (Gdańsk Board of Tourism) offers a "tourist card". The card, at the cost of 65 PLN / $ 23.14 / € 16.94 / £ 15.14, will enable its owner to move around Tricity using public transport as well as offer discounts at up to 80 places which are worth visiting. The card will be valid for three days, making it a good choice for the participants of the three-day-long Wikimania.

For visits without a "tourist card", below are the current ticket prices for buses and trams in Gdańsk.

Price of ticket (in PLN) What it lets you do
Normal Half price[12]
3.00 PLN / $ 1.07 / € 0.78 / £ 0.7 1.50 PLN / $ 0.53 / € 0.39 / £ 0.35 One ride of any length of time or distance, counted from entering to leaving the vehicle (no changes allowed)
9.10 PLN / $ 3.24 / € 2.37 / £ 2.12 4.55 PLN / $ 1.62 / € 1.19 / £ 1.06 Valid for 24 hours from the moment of punching, without limitations
4.20 PLN / $ 1.5 / € 1.09 / £ 0.98 2.10 PLN / $ 0.75 / € 0.55 / £ 0.49 Valid for up to 60 minutes from punching on a day line. It is allowed to leave one vehicle and enter another.
or: For night lines - for up to 45 minutes (enough to ride across the entire city)
2.80 PLN / $ 1 / € 0.73 / £ 0.65 1.40 PLN / $ 0.5 / € 0.36 / £ 0.33 Valid for up to 45 minutes from the moment of punching. It is allowed to leave one vehicle and enter another.
2.00 PLN / $ 0.71 / € 0.52 / £ 0.47 1.00 PLN / $ 0.36 / € 0.26 / £ 0.23 Valid for up to 15 minutes from the moment of punching. It is allowed to leave one vehicle and enter another.
Hand baggage, wheelchairs, prams, bikes, pets - free of charge.

And here are the SKM ticket prices. As the prices depend on the distance covered, the table shows prices for rides between a selection of the most popular stations.

Fast Urban Railway (Tricity)
Fare Distance Where it lets you go
2.20 PLN / $ 0.78 / € 0.57 / £ 0.51 1-6 km Gdańsk Główny - Gdańsk Wrzeszcz
Sopot - Gdańsk Przymorze-Uniwersytet
3.10 PLN / $ 1.1 / € 0.81 / £ 0.72 7-12 km Gdańsk Główny - Sopot
Gdańsk Główny - Gdańsk Przymorze-Uniwersytet
Sopot-Gdynia Główna
Sopot - Gdańsk Wrzeszcz
4.00 PLN / $ 1.42 / € 1.04 / £ 0.93 13-18 Gdynia Główna - Reda
4.50 PLN / $ 1.6 / € 1.17 / £ 1.05 19-24 Gdańsk Główny - Gdynia Główna
Sopot-Reda
5.60 PLN / $ 1.99 / € 1.46 / £ 1.3 25-30 Gdańsk Przymorze-Uniwersytet - Reda
6.50 PLN / $ 2.31 / € 1.69 / £ 1.51 31-40 Gdańsk Główny - Reda
Gdańsk Wrzeszcz - Reda

Tourists using public transport are advised to always have valid tickets. Ticket inspectors working in Gdańsk's public transport are often perceived as rude and some are incapable of comprehending foreign languages.

Gdańsk has recently completed the modernisation of its bus fleet which now consists only of low-floor buses meeting the eco-standards of the European Union, most of them manufactured by Solaris Bus & Coach. Currently, new trams are being bought—both new as well as used ones from Dortmund—and the replacement will have been largely completed by summer 2010. Together with this, tram stops are gradually being equipped with LCD monitors displaying up-to-date timetables.


References

  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. [3]
  4. [4]
  5. [5]
  6. [6]
  7. [7]
  8. [8]
  9. 73 procent Polaków dobrze ocenia pracę Policji (text in Polish)
  10. The avarage age of a city bus is 6.7 years according to the ZKM website (in Polish)
  11. Please, do not query Google to find your route from any of these to the venue: the search results will be erroneous.
  12. Half-price tickets are available to foreign students with the EURO<26 or ISIC cards.