Jo’s Monday walk : Zawady


In total contrast to my last, extremely urban walk in the city of Łódź, I’m taking you out into the Polish countryside today.  I’m going right back to where my Polish story began, in the village of Zawady, around 60kms south of the big city.  It’s a different world!  Dad was born in this village, more than 88 years ago.

As you can imagine, changes have taken place, but not too many.  The original farmstead is still there, but much of the land has been divided up between the family.  The photo above is the view I woke up to from my bedroom, on my first day back in the village.  Early morning mist burnt off to a beautiful day, and it was time to feed the week old ducklings.

I had been staying in the suburbs of Kraków, so the difference was considerable.  The daughter of a farmer, with memories of driving the tractor with her Dad, Zygmunt, when she was young, my cousin Jadwiga loves her garden.  But growing vegetables and keeping hens has to come second to her day job, and more especially to her dearly loved grandchildren.  They are seldom far away, as daughter Ania lives in a self build bungalow within the grounds.  Meet Kinga and Nadia, with mum, Ania, and Babcia, Jadzia.

For those of you who might have wondered, ‘what is Poland like?’ let’s slide the gate open, and we’ll step outside and see.  Poland is a big country and land is cheap.  It’s not uncommon to see ‘land for sale’ signs in the woods that surround most villages.


The houses vary considerably, some still old farmhouses, others in a far more modern style.  I peep over the fence at the pond which once belonged to Aunt Lusia.  Now her daughter Graźyna and husband Marek have built a home there, among the cherry trees.


You don’t have to walk far before you’re at the end of the village, and the woods beyond.  I retrace my steps, on the other side of the road this time, passing by cousin Marysia’s beautifully modern home, and a sign that cautions of the ‘good’ dog that bites!

A crossroads points to Ławy, 1.3kms away, and I am tempted to follow it out into open countryside.  But first I need to complete the circuit, back to the main road through the village.  These decorated crosses are found on many corners, scattered throughout Poland. Number 16F is Ania and Hubert’s house, and the garden design business she runs from home.

As the sun droops in the sky and the children play out on their bikes, I cast one more look at the cherries, and then head off down the lane.

Don’t worry!  I do return, but I wanted to show you the ‘whole’ of Zawady.  It’s not very big!  I hope you enjoyed meeting the place, and my family.

I’ve decided to link this post to My personal A-Z of Poland, which has been sadly neglected in recent times.  Much of what appears there is relevant and will provide good background, for anyone who’s interested.  Time to put the kettle on now, for this week’s shares.

walking logo

Many thanks to all of you who make Mondays a bit special for me.  Your support and encouragement sees me through the week.  If you have a walk to share and you haven’t joined me yet… well, what’s stopping you?  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo above.  You’ll be made more than welcome.


Let’s start the ball rolling with Laura, in Costa Brava’s wild spaces this week :

A taste of salt and honey

Pauline treats us to a glimpse of an Eye, through floral abundance :

A Walk through sunny Southbank, Brisbane

Hop off your bike and take a walk in equally sunny California!

My weekly ramble- John Nicholas Trail

Yvette has her own unique and stylish way of doing things :

Jubilant Walk with Jo (Nature Day 1)

And you know that Drake does too!  Welcome to Kayserberg :

Home sweet home

Geoff spent his April engrossed in a challenge.  King’s Cross?  Well, he might be!

X is for Crosses#atozchallenge

I don’t often think of hill climbing and Jude in the same sentence, but… she did it!

Conquering Godolphin Hill

Thanks a lot for your company, and for your friendship.  I know that this was a very low key walk, but I wanted to share a little more than just a pair of boots.  In the coming weeks I hope to give you a flavour of Poland, seen through my eyes.  Take good care, and enjoy your walking!

I almost forgot my good friends over at Monday Escapes.  Maybe something for the Bank Holiday weekend?


  1. Jo, these shots are lovely. And to think this is where you and your people are from…your roots! I’m very moved by this, and thank you for sharing your story!

    1. It’s a strange story, Elisa, and in many ways not easy to share honestly. I’m treat with such warmth when I’m there, and yet the gulf is there because of the language. Thanks for your lovely company 🙂

      1. I understand, it must have been a little frustrating. I think I’ve told you that I’m half Polish. My grandparents would occasionally speak Polish around us when we were little, usually when they were preparing a meal. It was almost shocking to here the strange words come out of their mouths. Of course now I wish I had asked them to teach me a few Polish phrases, but you know how that goes! Five year old children aren’t very forward thinking. Good memories, though!

      2. I’m learning to love the sound of the language and identify a few words, but understanding is a long way away. Meeting up with Meg in Lodz was a Godsend. She knew just how it felt. Hugs, sweetheart! All set for Summer?

  2. Judging by your posts, Poland looks delightful Jo…you make the perfect travel guide while also giving us the personal touch. Loved this walk, thank you! ❤

    1. Lovely to share it with you, Sherri! 🙂 I have half an eye on the tennis. Gasquet gave us some thrilling moments but Murray’s back in control. Woebegone for Rafa. 😦

      1. Say it ain’t so…you know how I feel about Rafa…why, oh why??? 😦 I love watching Gasquet in play…but missing it. Thanks for the update Jo!! 🙂

  3. It must have been a great feeling to visit the place where your father was born! Did you used to go there as a kid too?
    I hope to visit Poland someday!!

    Thank you for sharing your walk on #MondayEscapes 😀

    1. I didn’t go there till 9 years ago. Dad left Poland aged 15 and didn’t return there till then. It’s quite a sad story but with a lovely ending. (It’s in my A-Z of Poland) There’s some great stuff in your Escapes. Just need more time. 🙂

  4. Your walk through the bucolic Polish countryside made me feel nostalgic. I took many such walks when I lived there. Thanks, once again, for the lovely stroll, Jo.

  5. Another lovely walk, Jo. Thanks for sharing your family with us. This post makes me realize I need to head back to where my mother is from, a rural area near St. Louis, Missouri. I haven’t been back since my grandmother died, but it very much has this kind of feel. Sometime soon I will have to take a trip back there and reminisce.

  6. Can you just reveal already that you wear shoes with wheels? Ahihihi 😜 So, I wonder how you like the modern look of an old familiar place.

  7. I have a question: does the word “zawady” means anything in Polish? I am asking because it looks very similar to “zavaditi” in Croatian which means “estrange”. The morning mist adds a beautiful touch to the first and second photo. I love those ducklings, just love them!

    1. People do keep reminding me what a lucky bunny I am, Lisa. 🙂 🙂 My only regret is that Dad was ever parted from his family, but if he hadn’t been I wouldn’t be here to tell the story. Hugs, darlin’!

  8. This is lovely Jo. I hope it’s not your Dad’s last visit but, if it is, I am glad he has had the peace that comes from coming home. My parents would love to come back home for a visit. Sadly, their physical weaknesses don’t permit travel anymore. We make do with lots of skype and video messages. 🙂

    1. When Dad told my cousin Adam that it was his last visit, Adam said that he and Marta intend to come to the UK for Dad’s 90th. It sweetened the pill a little 🙂 Thanks, Ann. We never know what tomorrow might bring, do we?

  9. Jo, thank you for sharing you familial corner of Poland. It is so beautiful and lovely to see the countryside of the country – I’ve only seen photos of the main towns before. The rural location looks so peaceful and interesting that land is so cheap. It is the same in Sweden away from the towns and coast; prices ridiculously low compared to the UK!

      1. Well, I’ve written a few posts relating to Sweden…although admittedly not one directly relating to where my mother grew up and where still some of my 20 odd cousins live! A definite possibility for the future…Thanks for the idea, Jo.

  10. Wow, Jo, what a beautiful place – the photos are stunning. That first one is phenomenal! So nice to be able to experience and learn about your heritage. #mondayescapes

    1. Hi Corey 🙂 I spent a lot of years ignoring my Polish heritage and trying to be a ‘normal’ English girl. The world’s a very different place now and it’s nice to focus on the gentler side of life.

    1. They do provide some good stories, Drake (as well as all the coffee and cake 🙂 ). I really enjoy having such good company for my wandering. Many thanks to you!

  11. I just loved this post Jo, gorgeous photos, it spoke to the inner farm girl in my soul, I would so love to be surrounded by family and rural Poland looks to be a perfect place to live. Of course it has had its terrible history but now it looks so peaceful and those ducks, wow I would just adore them in my garden…I’ll look forward to seeing more of “your” Poland.

      1. My Uncle used to breed rabbits and as a kid I played with the babies and they always told me they had been “given away”!!!

  12. It must be amazing to go back to the place your father was born, Jo. One day I want to do that (although I don’t know the name of the the street because it was once a farm and my grandfather left it to the church and they built a mini town on the land. Shame).

    Now I feel like going to Poland to look at property! Such a beautful place 😀

    1. I think that the wonder of what happened to us was starting to wear off, Dianne, and it’s a good idea to remind myself just how very lucky I am. (I’ll look out for a small plot for you next time I go 🙂 )

  13. Thank you Jo! I love these trips “to Poland” with you on your walks! Yes, I’ve asked a thousand times, What is Poland like?
    I love your pictures and it’s definitely close enough to what I’ve imagined it to be, and more importantly, still a place I’ll like to visit!

    1. It has a lot of wide open spaces and lots and lots of trees, Mr. Recluse. 🙂 Natural beauty!
      There are still many places within Poland I’d love to visit. Nice to know you’ll come along with me.

    1. There’s a lot of work gone on to make it look this way. The house next door has been a building project for about 7 years, but last year Henryk died suddenly and his wife hasn’t been able to carry on the work. The old farmhouse where Dad was brought up is very ramshackle now. Sometimes a mist can be a good cover up. 🙂 🙂 But it was magical that morning.

  14. What a nice little village you are rased in. Poland is a very beautiful country. Thanks for letting us meet your family and the surroundings from your childhood.

    1. I had never been to Poland until my Dad was reunited with the family, 9 years ago, Lena. It’s his birthplace but I’m always made very welcome there. 🙂

  15. What a picturesque country. Thanks for taking me on the village walk and introducing your family. I”m looking forward to your ventures beyond the town’s border.

  16. I love this writing about personal stuff and could have stayed here all night going from link to link but I’m off to visit some other friends. I can picture yo striding out here, eyes everywhere so as not to miss a thing!

  17. such a beautiful place, Jo! what a pleasure meeting your lovely family and for taking us to the village where your story began. this particular trip must have been very special. thank you for sharing! 🙂

  18. It is so beautiful Jo! Quite the difference from your recent urban stroll that’s for sure. What a special place to return to the homestead of your Father. makes it all the more beautiful I think.

    1. I think so too, Sue. 🙂 It’s still quite amazing to me that we received that phone call 9 years ago that set this all in transit.
      Thanks for sharing it with me.

    1. We have a Bank Holiday next Monday, Jackie, and I believe this Thursday is a public holiday in Poland. Lots of celebrating 🙂
      Many thanks for the link! I’ll be along soon.

    1. I like to offer something different if I can, Jill, and I’m lucky to have this perspective on life in Poland. Wonderful to have you along. 🙂 Happy Monday!

  19. I loved seeing around your family’s village and trying to decipher all the names and connections! We spent 10 wonderful days in Poland last year and drove through many little villages like this. #mondayescpaes

    1. My Aunt Lusia is now in her 80s and retains half of her former land, Desley Jane. Until just a few years ago she spent her life growing vegetables. She has a reputation for the best spuds in the family. 🙂

  20. Wow, Jo, it’s so nice that you’re able to go back to the village where your father was born. What a quaint place. I love the misty morning photos. I agree with Jude, I can’t keep those Polish names straight! By the way, I just applied for a job in Poland on a lark; it’s unlikely I’ll even get called as they prefer applicants with EU citizenship. Oh well, to live in Europe for a bit would be magical, but I’m sure it will always be just wishful thinking. 🙂

    1. It would serve you right if you got offered the job, Cathy! We’d be learning Polish together 🙂 And yes, I suppose it is a bit special, and I am very lucky to have such easy acceptance in Poland.

      1. Well, Jo, surprisingly the owner sent me an email asking for more documentation. He also sent information about the school and the compensation. Though it would have been a real adventure to live in Poland, giving me easy access to Europe, the pay was just too low to seriously consider it. I already wrote him back to tell him I can’t pursue the option further. Too bad, I could have seen you in Poland! 🙂

  21. I enjoyed your stroll around the village, looks very quiet… what did you do with the people? Though it seems that most of the village is owned by your Polish branch of the family so maybe you got them to hide 🙂 A bit like stepping back in time when families lived their lives in the one place. I imagine there is not a whole lot of employment there unless you work for yourself. Is there a school? Shops?

    So let me get this right. You stayed with your cousin Jadwiga whose daughter is Ania and her children Kinga and Nadia, so who is Babcia Jadzia in your photo? Or is Jadzia the same as Jadwiga? I’m not surprised you struggle with Polish language, I’m struggling with just their names!

    Anyway I am more than happy to have a gentle wander and it is lovely to meet your family, I wish you would write more about them, I am sure no-one would be in the least bored.

    Have a good week my friend. Off to the supermarket now since the French Open seems to be postponed for the moment… see ya later!

    1. You must have Eurosport then? 🙂 Yes- I think last year was a rainy week followed by a sunny one. Chelsea too! All happening 🙂 🙂
      It’s so empty because everyone is at work! Also, it doesn’t really lead ‘to’ anywhere. I passed a couple of folk who smiled/looked curious and i tried my language skills out and frightened them off 🙂 Yes- Jadzia is the diminutive for Jadwiga, and you will know about babcia and dziadek from Meg.
      So far as I know the nearest school is in Belchatow, 6/7kms away. Shops? Sort of! I will be walking in Belchatow next week to give some kind of comparison, before I go back to the city. You now have some idea of my frustration levels when I couldn’t get out of the security gate. 🙂 Hugs, darlin. Busy week ahead.

      1. Don’t have Eurosport but ITV4 televise it – have to organise visits out around Murray’s matches! And Chelsea programmes too – quite like the look of the Jekka McVicar herb garden ‘ A Modern Apothecary’

      1. Yes. Watching Andy play is always nail-biting. We went out today so watched the replay this evening. That old bloke played awfully well, I guess he has nothing to lose so can just let loose.

  22. How fascinating. Our family discovered recently that my grandfather spent some time in Poland during the war. He was near Wrocław which is very close to where your family are from. Thanks for introducing me!

    My Monday walk is very different. We explored the Tweed Valley in the Scottish Borders.

    1. Hi Smidge 🙂 I have family in Wroclaw too, and it’s a beautiful city, if you’re ever tempted out that way.
      You haven’t left a link but I’ll pop over to yours a bit later today.

    1. Not really, Kate. They work unbelievably hard for what they have, and all of the houses in my family are self builds, where everybody mucks in together to get the job done. Often they’re inhabited when they’re only half complete. 🙂

      1. Ah right. The selfbuild thing sounds a lot like where we live in Spain. So next doors built the back house for their youngest daughter, and next door but one has a total of four houses on the same plot, for each of the kids. Which is just as well given Spanish unemployment, they’d never be able to afford to buy anything.

  23. How absolutely beautiful – how lucky you are to have such a place to visit. The photos are stunning. May I ask, why are trunks of the cherry trees painted white?

    1. Hello, Anne 🙂 Lovely to have you here, and yes, very lucky! I’m not certain about the tree trunks but believe it’s to do with disease prevention.

  24. Wonderful village and your story. Poland is a very interesting country, rich in beautiful nature, I just visited Zakopane, I’m so in love with Tatra, I would love to stay here, it’s a mountain paradise, soon will be working on the film about this place, how about it?

  25. I LOVED meeting Zawady and your family and seeing your rediscovered roots. Deliciously different from your usual posts. You were staying in a little bit of paradise: different indeed from Kraków. And the ducklings are very cute. Have a lovely week as you settle back in there.

  26. What a lovely walk Jo – thanks for sharing some photos and family history from the village where your father was born. I’m very interested to read something about life in rural Poland nowadays – my prior knowledge is based on history and what you see on travel programmes (which tend to go to the larger cities). Looks like it was a lovely day for a walk too! Will look forward to the next instalment 🙂

      1. You’re very welcome Jo – it has coincided well with a mid afternoon cup of tea here (we’re 7 hours ahead of UK time)! Have a lovely rest of the week 🙂

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