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Friday, 27 April 2012

Explaining Local GeeCON Territory

In this post will try to explain to those who have never been to Poznań, or who have never been to GeeCON in Poznań, how to get around.  

The Venue
Traditionally, GeeCON will be held in a multiplex, Multikino 51:

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The cinema is located in the centre of Poznań, in a walking distance from the train station (currently being rebuilt for UEFA Euro 2012, but operational), the bus station, and the Old Town. From the airport you will have to take a cab... and I suggest this is the only route you make this way, as in the middle of the Euro preparation season cars are the slowest means of transport in the city.  

Street View
Last year we had the Google Street View cars (and bikes) photograph the city. You can see the beautiful Old Square here - and it is only a kilometer on foot from the conference! If you look carefully enough, you will see the Google bike reflected in a bookstore window.

You can practise your Poznań moves (the most famous one you can see in this video) with the Street View, but be warned: in the midst of Euro preparations, things are changing very, very fast. You will see that some of the buildings aroung Multikino have new elevations, but you can also see things like this (my bicycle route to work, April 2012):
So, what else is there to visit around Multikino 51?  

To the North...
there is the Old Town. You can walk towards the Old Market through Półwiejska street, and the first thing you see at Półwiejska is Stary Browar (the Old Brewery) - a completely rebuilt authentic brewery turned into a shopping/business/arts centre by Grażyna Kulczyk, the ex-wife of the richest Pole, and world-famous art collector. It consists of three parts: the 'old' Old Brewery (2 entrances from Półwiejska street), the Courtyard, and the 'new' Old Brewery behind the Courtyard. Most shops are open from 10 am to 9 pm, but two 'delicatessen' supermarkets are open from 8 to 10. At the ground floor of the old part there is a very nice bookstore called Bookarest which also has a lot of English-language stuff. Apart from two 'normal' foodcourts, there are a few great restaurants around the courtyard. From the courtyard you also enter the art exhibitions part, and the clubbing part, with possibly the most famous clubbing spot in Poznań called SQ. There also is a hotel, possibly the most snobbish one in Poznań - you may try it, if your company likes you a lot.

Farther North there is the Old Town, go and see for yourself!

A restaurants and hotels post is coming soon and I do not want to spoil it, but one more place I can defenititely recommend for a brunch, late night drinking, or a cool concert, is the Dragon pub and restaurant in Zamkowa street (if you go there, do not miss their courtyard and above).

In front of the Old Brewery you will also find one of the very new Poznań city bike stations. I really recommend seeing the town this way (PS. you can get a fine riding on the pavement, but a) in the center there actually are bicycle paths and b) a lot of people do it and most cops understand). You might need help with hiring one for the first time, I hear the procedure is not intuitional.

To the East...
from Multikino there is the river Warta - a little bit neglected, but still a nice place for a walk. If you want to go there, I recommend choosing the Krakowska street that starts in from of Stary Browar - there is less traffic, and the bicycle path leads to a nice new Saint Roch Bridge. Mind you, nothing gets wasted in Poznań, so the old Roch bridge span got transported over the Chrobry bridge and is now a pretty architectural detail next to the Poznań cathedral. If you cross the Roch bridge, you see the Poznań University of Technology campus. Behind it there is the Malta artificial lake, a good place to go jogging or skiing(!), and there is a great aquapark too.

Before you cross the bridge, if you turn left (I think, they are not set up yet when I am writing this post) you will find KontenerArt, another wonderful place to spend a warm May evening.  

To the West...
there is the bus station, train station, and finally the great barrier: Poznań International Fair with the distinctive (but not that tall) spire.

To the South...
Well, to the South there is Wilda. It is an old part of town, with lots of beautiful but mostly quite squalid buildings. You can have fascinating walks there, but maybe do not do it at night and alone (Satan lives there, minstrels say). I might be too cautious here - I live there and nothing has ever happened, but you hear things. Quite close from Multikino (1 km perhaps?) there is the Wilda Marketsquare, the perfect place to buy fresh vegetables and fruit. There also are plenty of small roadside shrines in Wilda. A celebrity among them is the one with Apple plates... Look for it in front of Spot.

As you can see, there is plenty to do in a 1km radius around the GeeCON venue. The question is: Will you even want to go out?

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