Szczecin 2018 – Day One – Christmas Markets Come Early

Hi ho, hi ho it’s back off to Szczecin I go!

I’m here for work and the amount of time I get to spend here is dictated not by how long I need to be here necessarily but by the Ryanair timetable. They (and they are the only carrier to fly direct UK to Szczecin) fly out on a Wednesday afternoon and back late on Friday night. As it happens this gives me two whole days which is just enough time.

The flight out was interesting for two reasons. Firstly we sat on the runway waiting to leave Stansted for 45 minutes because there a fire alarm had gone off at Heathrow and no planes were able to land there.  I assume that affected us because they might have wanted to divert those planes to Stansted. Secondly half way through the flight the man sat in the seat next to me beckoned the attendant to come over as water was dripping onto him. Turned out the the pressure in the aircraft had caused my water bottle to start leaking! She was not very happy about it at all. Anyone wouldn’t thought that I had done it deliberately!

As we often do I skipped breakfast in the hotel and went out looking for a local cafe where I could get a croissant and a tea. Turns out that was somewhere just 100 metres from the hotel. I speak no Polish but I am very good at pointing. When I came to pay there was a lot of confusion on the part of the assistant and after much rattling about with the change in my hand she went off to seek reinforcements. The new person wasn’t able to help me either and so I left empty handed and had to go to the local Starbucks where I could use my card. It was while sat there that I discovered that what I had been trying to offer them was my left over Croatian change! Oops!

In the evening I went out for a meal with the people I was meeting and we were talking about translations between, in this case English and Polish. This came about because the word “confident” in Polish or the word that it sounds like is not a positive one and that is part of our product name. I looks like we’ll have to change the name before the big push into Poland. There were worse examples. Apparently the translation for the film “Dirty dancing” comes out as “Sex Spinning” because there apparently isn’t an equivalent for the word dirty. Here it just means, well, dirty.

One of the reasons for being out here it to forge better relationships with the people we are working with. Nothing highlighted this better than when I was one quiet developer about what he liked to do and it turned out that he is a “Brian May” in a Queen tribute band. He positively came alive when talking about it. “I have the same guitar as him” he said proudly. After further questioning I established that he doesn’t wear a wig to make himself look more like May and their Mercury doesn’t have a moustache.

After the meal I walked around the old parts of the town seeing it this time without a dusting of snow. Around the cathedral was a large market which looked, to all intents and purposes, as if it was either left over from or waiting for Christmas. It was, however, quite nice to visit a Christmas market without having to wear a hat and a scarf.

Szczecin’s an attractive place and on the two occasions I have been here I would happily recommend it to anyone that fancied a cheap (and as it doesn’t use the Euro it is cheap) weekend break. The only problem is Ryanair doesn’t fly here at the weekends!