My First Trip to Poland
Flights booked, bags packed, hotel booked, and to Atlanta I drive to soon arrive in Mateusz’s arms. But, first I must have dinner with Terria. For those who do not know, Terria and I go back like margaritas with tequila. I went on my first international trip with her and whenever we gather together laughs are had, life conversation is made, and trips are planned.
On Sunday morning I arrived in Warsaw, Poland after traveling for 14 hours. This includes a 5 hour layover in Toronto, Ontario and an 8 hour flight from there to Warsaw, Poland with no music to lull me to sleep on the flight because my phone was about to die due to the outlet shorting the moment I plugged my phone in to charge during boarding.
So, I talked to the Polish man next to me majority of the flight about his partner and their travels around the USA and how he was applying for the lottery program for a workers permit in the US to be able to stay longer. Thank God for the couple in front of me who let me use their outlet! Then, I was given 2 bottles of white wine and I finally fell asleep for 1 hour, I still had 3 hours left to my flight and the desire to cry was slightly overwhelming.
All the while, Mateusz has been working tirelessly building a kitchen in his apartment so I will feel comfortable. Did I mention he does wood work? He took a week off prior to my arrival to complete everything, because he is a perfectionist and EVERYTHING has to be precisely amazing.
In Poland most people buy their flat/apartment/condo without anything inside and they decorate and design the layout themselves. I.e. Mateusz’s bathroom was too small for his liking, so he tore the wall down and expanded the bathroom by 5-6 feet/1.5-1.83 meters.
I also want to mention that I Facetimed Mateusz every day, multiple times a day and never realized he did not have a kitchen. I also did not realize that he was using a college dorm sized fridge to store his eggs and meals that he had delivered to his home every day.
Needless to say, he did not get any sleep prior to me landing in Poland. In my last hour of my flight he was driving back from his parent’s house. And it was not at all helpful that I arrived 45 minutes early. LoL
So, we went home and took a much needed nap before starting the all-day adventure in Warsaw, Poland. This is the day I meet one of Mateusz’s friends who I have at this current moment stolen as my own friend, Kinga. But, first we had fruit on his neighbor’s balcony because I have to meet the neighbors who have helped create this magnificent kitchen and who my boyfriend calls family. Oh and the people he has house parties with.
Now we are out exploring downtown Warsaw on a Sunday afternoon with Kinga at Cuda Na Kiju they have an interesting variety of beers available and awesome outdoor seating. The folding chairs out front allow the perfect view for people watching and enjoying your beverage.
We talk, have a few drinks, and in due time Kinga’s husband, Koval, joins us for a beverage or four. The conversations continue and the drinking continues. Shortly after sunset, we walk to another restaurant in search of food, but it is Sunday and many places are closed and we have been out for a lot longer than we thought and most places have stopped serving food.
FYI at this point I am running on fumes and I have already fallen asleep at the table once during our conversation. So, by the second time I fall asleep everyone decides it is time to go home because we have another adventure in store soon. I think Monday is the only day I get to rest and we still went to bed late. Ugh!
It is Tuesday morning, my 3rd day in Poland, and we are on our way to Breslau, Poland (Wroclaw, Poland). In my younger days I thought I had been in a car going fast, but this 3.5 hour drive turned into a 2 hour drive when I am supposed to be sleeping has taken the cake! I send a message to my friends to pray for me because this man was driving 180-220kph! For my mph folk, that is 111-136mph.
Let me tell you there was no sleep had, due to all of the braking. Also, we were not the fastest on the road! We were easily passed by an Audi going faster than our 220kph. At that point, I knew… This is normal for them and we got to our destination on time and safely. Praise Gawd!
We make it to Mateusz’s Godmother’s, Renata, home and she has a lunch prepared and a beautiful Forest Moss cake made. It is a very visually appealing cake and if I was not told I would have never known there was spinach in the cake because it is so tasty!
They have espressos while I am getting dressed. Then, we are off to explore the historical sites throughout Wroclaw and go sailing down the river.
The start of our adventure begins with sailing down the river to see Wroclaw from that side in an amazingly refurbished sailboat. On the personal tour, we are informed that Wroclaw’s rivers utilize many locks to help and allow boats to move through the city. “The introduction of locks in the 10th century made it possible for boats to climb the highest hills and mountains.” The locks could be a single lock, a double lock, a broad lock, a stop lock, a guillotine lock, or stair case and flight locks (Canal & River Trust, 2019).
“A lock is a device used for raising and lowering boats, ships and other watercraft between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways. Locks are used to make a river more easily navigable, or to allow a canal to cross land that is not level. Later canals used more and larger locks to allow a more direct route to be taken (Wikipedia, 2021).”
As we return to the car and make our way to meet Renata’s husband to go on a walking tour of Wroclaw, I sneak a nap into my passenger seat adventure. He he… While walking through Wroclaw we discover so many new things! We witness a churchman lighting the street lamps, we get ice cream (mmm yummy!), and walk pass so many places for Mateusz and I to explore on tomorrow afternoon before we leave to go to Mateusz’s hometown so I can meet his parents.
In my few visits to Europe the thing that stands out are their cathedrals. The architecture and attention to detail is out of this world. The churches in the USA do not come close to the magnificence. And the awesome part, most of them are free to tour!
As our day comes to an end we venture over to a Hala 100 Leica. This is a Centennial Hall that has the largest fountain in Poland and presents a multimedia fountain show every hour during the summer. You may find the different show options on their website. It is definitely a sight to behold! Plus there are so many other things that this park offers; I would love to see it during the day (Hala Stulecia, 2021)!