The Polish Post

A bureaucratic nightmare buried under incomprehensible paperwork, there is no indication that Poland's postal service - Poczta Polska - will be automated or computerised during our lifetimes. There can be no doubt that the post office is one of the most frustrating places to be a foreigner in Poland, as you're guaranteed to not understand a damn thing happening there. Your best ally is the person in line next to you; if there's one person in the room who speaks not a word of English, it's the qualified clerk at the service window. Also, don't expect any signs to feature English translations, though all paperwork has been mystifyingly translated into French (and only French). When you get to the head of that insufferably long queue, don't be surprised to be sent to another or back to the end, paperwork in hand.

If sending something of any monetary or sentimental value, please, make sure you do so by using priority mail or better; magic word: 'Priorytet.' Choosing the cheapest overseas option available will ensure that your package is used as a football, opened and resealed with or without all of its contents before it arrives after a minimum 90-day journey. We're not exaggerating, and, yes, we are still very angry.

There are several post offices around Katowice, with the main building at ul. Pocztowa 9 (D-3) being the largest and most incomprehensible. All post offices close early on Saturday, if open at all, and all will be closed Sunday. Good luck, gringo.

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