What I learned about Poland

I just recently returned from a 10 day tour of the highlights of Poland. After this tour, I have developed a new appreciation of this country. I feel sorry for everything that happened to their people in the 20th century. Poland was a country that seemed to be in the worst location possible – close to the sea and stuck between Germany and Russia – 2 big power countries. Both of these countries try to destroy this country and their people. Throughout my visit, I experienced many of their town squares – the hustling, bustling centre square of every town – cobblestone streets, and the many re-created buildings (that were brutally demolished during World War 11). In some cases, like in Gdansk, a city of 5,000 buildings reduced to only 15 in a matter of a week during the 2nd World War. The many churches and castles were beautifully restored – many times, re-built brick by brick. We experienced the large cities, like Krakow, Warsaw, Poznan, Gdansk, as well as the medieval town of Torun, and the resort town of Zakopane, tucked by the Carpathian Mountains. For the sake of the Jewish people, as well as all others that experienced extermination, etc. during the war,  I visited Oskar Schindler’s Factory Museum, the Ghetto Square of Krakow and Warsaw, and the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps. It was a necessary experience, but painfully sad – especially to see the remains of personal belongings and to hear the stories of torture, death – cruelty between mankind. Poland loves their polish Pope, John Paul 11 – churches, streets, and monuments flourish everywhere. We ate Zurek soup in bread bowls, stuffed dumplings, polish sausage and cabbage rolls whenever we could. We washed it down with Leche and Tyskie beers. We went underground to visit the Salt Mine in Krakow, visited the Shipyard site of Lech Walesa intheir Solidarity fight, and walked through a village of wooden houses. Although I have no Polish background in my family, I was asked by so many – Why visit Poland? To answer, I am so glad I did! I learned so much, I enjoyed the beauty of this re-constructed Poland and I am proud of the their people for what they have become, into a democratic country and will appreciate their recent 75+ years! If you every have a chance to visit this country, do so! It is an experience I will never forget. Enjoy the pictures!

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