December 2021 Why would someone travel to Poland in December during a pandemic? This is the question I was asked several times. My answer, I was invited to spend time with a friend in Krakow, then have a three day adventure at a ski resort and finally, New Years weekend in Warsaw. As for the cold weather, I live in Canada, so it really was not much different.
Traveling, however was very different than pre-pandemic. I had to ensure I had all the proper paperwork completed. This included vaccination documents, special entry form to Poland that indicated where I was staying in case of a positive COVID test and the results COVID test done 24 hours before departure that indicated I did not have COVID. All of these documents had to be shown at my airport of departure in Toronto. When I checked in, these documents were reviewed by the ticket agents and, I assume, associated somehow to may passport. I did not have to show them in Germany, nor, as it runed out, in Poland.
There were also the changing rules. Originally, I was supposed to arrive on Dec. 17th. A week before, the Polish government changed the rules for visitors. If I arrived on the 17th, I would have to go into 14 days of quarantine, but, If I arrived on the 18th, and with a test the showed I did not have COVID, no quarantine. So, I changed my flight — and some how got upgraded to Business Class on Air Canada! This was a great treat and meant I would have a good sleep before navigating the Frankfurt Airport for my transfer flight to Poland.
I usually try to avoid flying through Frankfurt, The connections are usually too short to completely make it through the security and to the gate. Of course, the security guards had to check my backpack. My advice, other arrange to fly through another airport, or adjust your schedule to ensure you can make a connected flight. It should be a minimum of two hours so that you do not have to stress about it. I had just over an hour and I was sure my luggage would not make it.
We also had to wear masks. For me, I started wearing one from my home because I took transit to the airport, then in the airport and on the plane. In Germany, there was a regulation on the type of mask you could wear. So, continued use of mask in the Frankfurt airport, on my next flight and finally in the Krakow airport. That was over ten hours of mask-wearing. However, I would do that again if it kept me safe. Too many times, I have gotten sick after long-haul flights — but not this time!
Once in Krakow, I expected to show the border guards all my documents again. But, the guard barely looked at my passport and waved me into Poland. It took me much longer to get my luggage, which did make the flight from Germany! Now, reunited with my friend and my luggage, I was now in Krakow.
Highlights of my trip, besides spending a wonderful two weeks with my friend, were the ski trip and the weekend in Warsaw.
At the ski resort, masks were required indoors in all common areas. For the buffet, you not only wore a mask, but the food was covered and you had to wear plastic gloves. The resort had a buffet restaurant and two specialty ones. We liked the specialty restaurant that served more traditional Polish food. It included a hot tea that was served with a little jam, cinnamon, oranges and mint. All these condiments were added to this special tea and it tasted wonderful.
The Christmas Market in Warsaw
Since the Christmas Market was outside, few people were wearing masks. It was not very crowded on New Years Eve, but it was very nice to walk in downtown Warsaw and see the different buildings and light displays. As soon as it was dark, fireworks started.
I had a lovely time in Poland. Flying during the pandemic was relatively painless as long as you had the paperwork completed and wore a mask. It was also such a special bonus to fly in the Business Class section. I am definitely spoiled by that experience. And, who knows, I may go back to Poland for Christmas this year, too!