Being diplomatic: Zbigniew Gniatkowski, Polish Ambassador

Diplomats tell us what Kiwis need to know about their homelands.
Polish ambassador to New Zealand Zbigniew Gniatkowski.
Polish ambassador to New Zealand Zbigniew Gniatkowski.

The thing you probably know about my country is: The Solidarity movement was born there, the leader of Solidarity was Lech Walesa. Pope John Paul II was also Polish.

But the thing you really should know is: Poland is a modern, exciting destination with the strongest performing economy in the EU. Its capital, Warsaw, is a vibrant city with museums, art galleries, parks and theatres, pubs and clubs. Poland has everything the rest of Europe has, but all in one beautiful and affordable destination.

Read more: Poland: Schussing's promised land

Over there, we think Kiwis are: Living in a kind of cinematic paradise.

On a longer visit, you should: Plan carefully as Poland is a big country and, even though public transport is fantastic and reliable, it takes time to get from place to place. There are many attractions for history buffs, for those who want to sail or canoe, or to hike, cycle or climb mountains, or to enjoy the plentiful wildlife.

Our national sport is: Soccer. A few months ago, Polish player Robert Lewandowski, our national team captain, scored five goals in under nine minutes. The volleyball men's team and the ski jumpers are also doing great.

Read more: Poland: Five free things to do in Gdansk

The one food thing you should really try is: Roast duck stuffed with apples. Some may say pierogi, others may say borscht. Poland is also famous for its sernik, or cheesecake. The variety of tempting food is amazing.

Make sure you avoid: Driving in the cities, unless you are familiar with driving on the right.

The weather is: Slightly more predictable than in Wellington. Summers can get quite hot. Of course, in winter, it can get very cold, even to -20C.

Read more: Poland: Priest's giant statue is 'world's tallest Christ'

Best way to get around: In cities, public transport is great - modern and inexpensive.

- NZ Herald

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