Shopping for anything that you might want to buy in Duane Reade, Walgreens, Boots or the like in the US/UK is a bit more complicated here. Duane Reade has absolutely everything – I mean, I think you could live off the contents of a Duane Reade in the event of nuclear war or a Godzilla attack. Unfortunately, there is no equivalent to that here, so last week, when I ran out of contact lens solution, I ended up going on something of an odyssey.
Option #1 – Rossman: If you’re walking by a Rossman, you might think that it’s exactly like Duane Reade, but this impression is deceptive. The larger ones do have most things you would be looking for (including a selection of pet food and household goods, etc.), but they do not have anything in terms of pharmaceuticals or first aid items – or eye care, as it turns out. So, I proceeded to Option 2.
Option #2 – an apteka: Apteka is the Polish (and Russian) word for pharmacy/drugstore. There is some overlap between Rossman and an apteka, for example, the larger ones have shower products and cosmetics. If you’re looking for anything remotely medicinal, it will be behind the counter, and you’re going to have to request it. I recommend figuring out what you need before you go to and writing it down in Polish. Then when the clerk glowers at you, you can simply show her your paper. However, when I requested my “płyn do kontaktow”, they did not have it, and I went to Option 3.
Option #3 – an optyk: An optyk is an optician, and this is apparently the only place where contact lens solution is to be found. They seemed to have the American brands (at least the one that I use), butt he prices were pretty high, so if you have room in your suitcase, I would advise you to bring extra.