As I write this I am sitting in the Lufthansa Lounge about to fly home. I have enjoyed this trip on so many levels. It was a great time to reconnect with my mom and two sisters, it was great to connect with my heritage, and it was a beautiful place to visit.
I have more posts–definitely a couple on the food of Poland–but they will come after I return home. So for now, here are just a few parting thoughts.
I will say this, at 53, I am getting too old for long car rides in the back seat with my sisters! However, none of us is too old to ask questions like “Are we there yet?” and “How much longer?” We laughed hysterically at times–usually at the expense of one of us–and we had some great meaningful discussions, the kind that never seem to happen on a 2-day Thanksgiving holiday.
The four of us are spread across the east coast and all have families of our own. Over the years we have naturally grown apart somewhat; and, this was a unique chance to reconnect. We celebrated Linda’s birthday during our trip, we had FaceTime calls with our families back home, and we toasted our dad, who we lost 6 years ago.
But the theme of family went beyond the four of us. We were here in the first place because of our extended family. My great grandparents were Polish immigrants. My 10 great uncles and aunts all spoke Polish. Polish food has always been part of our family; so, it was family that brought us here.
We also met Radek, not only the best guide in all of Poland, but a guy who turned out to be a great friend to all of us. Meeting Radek’s family was a highlight of the trip! Truly, the theme of family was woven throughout our trip.
Poland’s history is fascinating. We saw buildings from the 10th century! Much of Krakow is from the 13th and 14th century so when a structure was merely from the 1700’s, people just tossed it off like, “What, that old thing? No big deal…18th century…”
Likewise, we saw the very dark history of WWII and the Holocaust, and then the dreadful era of Soviet Communism. We’ve also seen a lot of recent history of the post-communist era. The young people here are ready to just move on and live their lives. I was very proud to see that “my people” are such a resilient bunch.
My international travel experience is quite limited. I have visited 43 of the 50 states, but internationally have only visited a few countries outside the US.
So I am no expert but I do think the act of traveling to different places and engaging in cultural exchanges, whether a guided tour of a museum or a night in a Krakow bar, is good for everyone. I will now have a deep fondness for Poland for the rest of my life.
Poland has a very deep pride in its sons who have contributed to the world. People like Copernicus, Chopin, and Marie Curie are celebrated. It was no surprise that Pope Jean-Paul II is a hero in Poland. He is followed closely by Lech Walesa, but the Poles are also quite fond of Ronald Reagan and Charles De Gaulle.
Simple and humble ingredients, with deep honest flavors. I loved the food there and for the most part ate Polish food at every meal. Again, I will do a couple food specific posts. The pictures alone are worth it!
Stay tuned for more from this fantastic trip!