Circles and Triangles
Don't be afraid if you are accosted by a large Polish woman upon entering the public toilet. You simply must pay to use all public toilets, usually around one zloty.
However, please note that while using a public toilet is a paid service it does not guarantee that toilet paper will be available. The toilet situation is improving throughout all of Poland, but it is still wise to carry some tissues into the toilet just in case, especially on trains.
In addition, some restaurants and bars are still irritatingly charging for use of the toilet even if you are a customer. Yes, it's annoying but in the end it's only a zloty.
And just to thoroughly confuse you, Poland uses a circle to denote women's toilets and a triangle to denote men's toilets. Remember: women - circles, men - triangles.
Unique Suggestions: Carry some tissues and have small change.
Fun Alternatives: Don't think there is an alternative for this one. When you've got to go, you've got go!!!
Approaching Jasna Gora
Obviously due to the pilgrimage nature of the town, on the main approach to the Church, there will be many "Religious" and "Gypsy" type people asking for money. The Gypsies are easy to spot and avoid, but there are many well dressed, polite, and very friendly women who approach you and before you know it, you have a dove brooch pinned to you that you think is a nice touch in such a religious place, until you find out that it will cost you money and that they are not officially linked in any way to the Catholic Church! Without my Polish girlfriend rapidily translating, I would have found myself many Zloty poorer!
Unique Suggestions: These people are not particularily offensive, just very persistant! However, provided you say "no thank you" immediately, they tend to leave you alone.
Fun Alternatives: The best idea I found that worked, although my girlfriend thought I was mad, was to walk close to one of the many nuns that frequent the area! Try it and you will see that it really works. Failing that, just approach the Church like a military attack and no-one will be able to follow you!
When NOT to say Thank You
Tipping is now common in restaurants and service has improved greatly over the last few years. 10-15% is an average estimate, if your service is good.
BUT, and this is a warning, when you hand over your money to the waiter/waitress, DO NOT SAY THANK YOU. If you do, you are implying that they should keep the change, and they do. My son was stung like this when he gave a 100z³ note for a 26z³ bill. And the waitress was far too attractive for him to lose his cool by asking for the rest.
So wait until your change arrives, then say thank you and leave your tip.
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