H is for Hotel

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You may remember, when I started my personal A-Z challenge on Poland, I gave you the briefest of introductions to the Polish Alphabet?  Well, “h” is one of those letters that is very little used, at the beginning of a word, in Polish.  More often you will see “ch”, which is pronounced as in the Scottish word “loch”.  Thus “chleb” (bread- very delicious in Poland!) sounds a little like “Hleb”.

Are you following me so far?  When it came to choosing a word to represent “H” in my A-Z, I had few choices.  My first thought was “Historia”, but it would take a far better woman than me to tackle Polish history in a single blog post!  So, I had “Hiszpania” or “Holandia”- not very appropriate in a blog about Poland?  Or “huśtawka”- a lovely word that means “swing”; “hokej”- a game I was rubbish at in my schooldays, or “humor”- couldn’t we all use a little of that!

Dad with cousin Irena, on the swingseat (hustawka) on her patio

Dad with cousin Irena, on the swingseat (hustawka) on her patio

It was when I thought back to my first ever Polish lesson that the solution became clear.  I pounced with delight on the word “hotel”, leaping out of the text to embrace me.  Pronounced, of course, in the Polish way, but a familiar and welcome sight, never-the-less.  It is one of a dozen or so words that have been adopted into the Polish language.

To date, I have stayed in three Polish hotels.  I mentioned one of them in my post B is for Belchatow.  Because I am visiting family when I go to Poland, and am made very welcome in all of their homes, I seldom have need of an hotel.  When my husband, Michael, accompanied me, on the occasion of Krzysztof and Marzena’s wedding, we needed a little privacy, and opted to stay for a few nights in the Sport Hotel.  Large and central to Bełchatów, it made a great base for exploring the town.  But then, as now, my Polish was a little shaky, and on a sweltering hot day we were served piping hot soup with our breakfast.  Michael’s faith in my ability to negotiate the Polish language was severely dented.

Water features in the park at the centre of Belchatow

Water features in the park at the centre of Belchatow

Visiting family in Wrocław with my Dad, I again stayed in a local hotel, though Dad managed to squeeze in with the family.  Living in a 3-bedroomed flat, with 3 children, dog, cat and terrapin, private space is a luxury for my cousin, Wojtek and his lovely wife, Agnieszka.  Despite this, I have seldom met a happier, more close-knit family.  I could not have been made more welcome in sharing meals and family time with them.  Both work, but were at great pains to show me their beautiful city, and once I’d got my bearings, set me loose to wander, returning when I was hungry.  I’m not known for my sense of direction, so this sometimes took longer than planned.  I haphazardly changed trams and buses half a dozen times, and walked and walked till I found them again!  But a smile, a hug and a plate of food always awaited, before I returned to the hotel for the evening.  I never ate breakfast at the hotel- goodness knows what I might have ordered!

Wroclaw's colourful tram junction

Wroclaw’s colourful tram junction

You might know I'd squeeze in a boat or two

You might know I’d squeeze in a boat or two

Qubus Hotel, Wroclaw

Qubus Hotel, Wroclaw

The foyer in Hotel Jan Pawel on Ostrow Tumski

The foyer in Hotel Jan Pawel on Ostrow Tumski, Wroclaw

Super stylish Hotel Monopol

Super stylish Hotel Monopol

Agnieszka and youngest daughter, Kasia, on Hotel Monopol's rooftop terrace

Agnieszka and youngest daughter, Kasia, on Hotel Monopol’s rooftop terrace

Rooftop view from the Hotel Monopol

Rooftop view from the Hotel Monopol

My third hotel experience occurred in the small village of Poronin, in the Tatry Mountains area, and was the most joyous of occasions.  Not unlike a large Swiss chalet, the Hotel Weronika (don’t forget to pronounce the “w” as “v”) provided food and shelter for a huge gathering of us on the occasion of Adam and Marta’s Silver Wedding.  The setting was beautiful, and the hotel grounds provided lots of space for the youngsters to use up energy. (theirs, and ours!)  And then, in good old Polish fashion, we ate, danced and drank till we could do it no more.  Adam’s oldest daughter, funnily enough called Weronika, is getting married in May 2014.  What a celebration that will be!

View from our hotel gardens of the church in Poronin

View from our hotel gardens of the church in Poronin

I think that’s enough to tell you about my hotel experiences in Poland, for now. You can find more of the ups and downs of my reunification with my Polish family on my personal A-Z of Poland page.  Meantime, if you’d like to join in with Julie Dawn Fox’s A-Z challenge, the banner below will take you to the main site, where you can have a good look around.

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26 comments

    1. Hi Hayley! Which part- mam or dad, and do you have any family over there? If I didn’t I probably wouldn’t have been myself, but I have loved what I’ve seen so far.

      1. Good question; had to check with mum – her dad was half Polish – his father came from the north, relevant places are Gdansk, Kokoszki, Starogard. There are no relations distant or otherwise as far as I’m aware, unfortunately.

      2. Not familiar with Gdansk other than what I’ve read, but would like to visit one day. My 26 cousins are pretty widely spaced but mostly around Central Poland. Nice to meet you anyway.

  1. I feel I got lost in your stories, reading this post and I especially liked the bit about coming back to a smile, a hug and a plate of food. The Tatry Mountains must be a beautiful place to stay.

    1. Thanks so much, Lorna. It’s very well geared to winter holidays and I’m so not a winter skiing person, but it was truly beautiful in the September time, when we were there. Lots of hiking trails.

  2. I have a horrible sense of direction as well. I’m trying to get better at reading maps and not relying on the better half to figure it out. Makes for some unintended side trips.

  3. Interesting .. my father is Polish, but I have no memory of him .. he left my mum when I was about 18 months old.
    I have been working with Polish people and I really enjoyed it – very hard working people and they are strong mentally too. The have been plundered and raped as a nation so many times during history and always raised from the aches.
    Have only been in Gdansk and Gdynia. Great photos.

    1. Their position in Europe has been unfortunate, to say the least, Viveka. But you’re right- they definitely fight back.
      I haven’t been further north than Warsaw, but would like to explore that northern coast too (of course! where wouldn’t I like to explore?)

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