N is for “Nie rozumiem”


I’m having great fun trying to keep pace with both of my A-Z challenges, at Frizz’s weekly pace!  On Tuesdays the new letter comes out, so yet again I find myself leaping from Portugal to Poland.  It’s quite a stretch!

Can you guess what “nie rozumiem” means?  “I don’t understand”.

It’s probably the expression I have used the most in my visits to Poland.  Despite the best of intentions I struggle to get my ear attuned to Polish, and you can’t really say “please will you write it down so I can understand”.  It doesn’t seem polite somehow, and rather impedes the flow of conversation!

The mine at Belchatow

Another thing I’m not great at understanding is feats of engineering, but even I could see the type of industry that was going on when the family took me to inspect the nearby mine at Bełchatów.  This is Europe’s largest coal-fuelled thermal power station.  There are huge viewing platforms from which you can observe most of the process.  It’s the chief employer in the area and many of my family have worked there.  The technology looks impressive.

Seldom have I been photographed at an opencast mine

Seldom have I been photographed at an opencast mine

It's a monster!

It’s a monster!

Imagine having a lovely home like this right next door!

Imagine having a lovely home like this right next door!

I rather like the Polish style of fencing (but not the view!)

I rather like the Polish style of fencing (but not the view!)

We drove all around the enormous site to a lakeside location with sports facilities, and, you’ve guessed it, a cracking view of the power station!  Apparently it’s very popular in Summer.  Bełchatów is far from the seaside.

Lakeside chalets

Lakeside chalets

The view!

The view across the lake

But the family were happy and smiling!

But the family were happy and smiling!

Left to right they are- Uncle Jakub, cousins Adam and Bożena,  Kuba in the background (Bożena’s younger son), cousin Marta, who is also married to Adam, and Czesława, Jakub’s wife.  I hope you are paying close attention.  There may be a test!

It was a warm day and afterwards Adam took us all for icecream.  There was one more treat in store.  Back at Jakub’s, Czescia cooked “ziemniaki z smażony tłuszcz”- potatoes with fried pork scratchings.  It was explained that the dish was very popular in the days when people had nothing in Poland.  Potatoes were an important staple and I have tasted some of the best potatoes ever, homegrown from Aunt Lusia’s garden.  I have to say that today’s dish was not much to my taste, but Dad and the family made short work of it.

Enjoying "old style" Polish cuisine

Enjoying “old style” Polish cuisine

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little venture into Polish culture today.  I have to thank Julie Dawn Fox for starting the Personal A-Z Challenge, a long time ago, and Frizz at Flickr Comments for helping me to catch up.  The links and logos give more information.

I can breathe a sigh of relief now because I have already posted the letter “O” for both Poland and Portugal.  You can read them from my A-Z pages.



  1. I always think of story books when I read or hear the word chalet. They look so very precious at the edge of the lake. It’s fascinating to be reading so many things here I don’t know. I enjoy them very much. I know the meal is high carb sprinkled with a bit of pork fat but it sounds so delicious. Nice post ….

    1. I think that traditionally that is how it would have happened. It’s not something I’ve ever experienced before, and I’ve eaten at Jakub and Czescia’s many times 🙂

    1. Paula 🙂 I was just going to come looking for you as you haven’t been about since the weekend? Working from home today? Hope life is good (though maybe not up to Corsica standards)

      1. Hi Jo 🙂 You guessed right about working from home today 🙂 We had a national holiday yesterday. I had too much to do since I got back. Can you believe that I still haven’t seen all the photos I took while I was on Corsica, and still there are pics from France and Italy that are waiting to be sorted out. My work and daily routine is taking up too much of my time. I don’t know how some people get to post on daily basis and still pay visit to other blogs :S

  2. I had to chuckle at the apt name of this power station, belching out clouds of toxic smoke. The lake is beautiful, but the mine really spoils it. I’m sure that “nie rozumiem” would be a most useful phrase to know if ever I visit Poland. You appear to have such a lot of Polish family.

  3. Great photo’s once again Jo and what a lovely family. Love the photo of you, you gorgeous lady! 😀 Thanks for sharing hon. *big hugs*

    1. I was looking through photos from my last trip and thinking about what to post, and I thought these would work well on here. Sometimes I loose track of what I’ve used! Yes, they are a lovely family 🙂

    1. A huge blot on the landscape, Drake, but if you’d been there I think you’d be impressed. Little train tracks beetling from one end of the site to another and very clever looking cranes. I should have taken more photos really. 🙂

    1. I don’t know if this style appears elsewhere in Europe but it was the first time I’d ever seen it when I went to Poland. There are quite a few variations on it and I thought it quite clever. Yes, the mine is a bit grim 😦

    1. The family seem proud of and impressed with the mine, and it is an amazing work of engineering. My photos don’t do it justice, Marcia, but I found it a rather grim sight. Thanks, hon. Stay well 🙂

    1. I’m pretty wild, Gem 🙂 No! Calm, soothed, happy. These are the images I am projecting. (wish I wasn’t such a fool 🙂 )
      Seriously, I haven’t seen it in real life, but I did spot it on someone else’s blog the other day. Yeah- it’s cool! Thanks for thinking of me 🙂

  4. The lakeside chalets are beautiful, it’s a shame the view is spoiled. I love learning about your Polish culture, Jo. Is it common to share a meal from the same bowl or plate? Good job on this post!

    1. There are woodlands and a hotel complex on the edge of the lake, Jill. I guess they’re so used to the power station that they don’t mind. Mostly they are quite proud of its size and existence.

      That was the first time I had ever eaten in that fashion and it came as a complete surprise to me. I wasn’t sure what was happening initially. Nie rozumiem- literally!
      It’s a return to the “old days” when there was little to share.

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