The workers' strikes in Poland have not imposed hardships on tourists. However, the country's economy will tug at the visitor's sleeve in the form of the black market. The official exchange rate is 29 zlotys to the dollar. Offers on the street and in taxis go as high as 130. Huge numbers of tourists are dealing on this illegal black market, despite the serious risk. Another law to be aware of is the prohibition against taking pictures of airports, bridges, train stations or military installations. (A travel writer and three others who attended the recent conference here were questioned and held for five hours for photographing a railroad station in a small town.)
To enter Poland, it is necessary to get a visa in advance from a Polish consulate. You will also find that hotels will take your passport briefly when you check in.
Regular excursion fare for a round-trip flight to Warsaw from New York via the Polish airlines LOT or Pan Am, costs $700. With special fares and packages this can be whittled down a bit. Hotel rates range from about $35 to $80. April through October is the best time to go, unless you're planning to ski in the southern mountains.
Though there are currently long lines in the grocery stores, you won't go hungry in the restaurants. The sausages and heavy soups are lovely. An appetizer of cold sliced jellied meats seems to be a national habit. Main courses lean heavily to meat and potatoes or dumplings. There are no Polish vineyards, but the vodka ($2 a bottle) is worth the trip.
The language is tricky. If you don't know what a word means, you're not likely to guess. A ready source of English information is Orbis, whose branches can be found in hotels and airports.