I started my personal A-Z challenge, in line with Julie Dawn Fox’s excellent idea, with an A-Z of Portugal. I’ve had a home in the Algarve for many years and love the place dearly, so it seemed quite natural to me. Barely had I got into my stride when it occurred to me that I should in fact be writing a personal A-Z of Poland.
My Dad is Polish and has quite an amazing life story, some of which I’ve already shared in Exploring the Polish Connection. Well, if you like to write, you like to write, so I’ve started model no.2! I’m writing mostly about personal history, but as I can never unharness the traveler in me, I’ll include Polish places that I’ve visited (or would like to!)
I started with A is for Alphabet, and also for Aunts. I was named for my lovely Aunt Anna but didn’t get to meet her till I was in my late 50s. Next came B is for Bełchatów, a town with the largest coal-fuelled thermal nucleur plant in Europe on its doorstep. More importantly to me, it’s the home of most of my Polish family. C is for Cousins came next- more than 20 of them! (I haven’t yet named them all) D just had to be D is for Dobry – the Polish word for “good”. A couple of contributors to the challenge posted letters out of alphabetical sequence. It’s not against the rules, so I couldn’t resist writing about my visit to the Polish capital in W is for Warsaw
After Warsaw, it had to be the ancient southern capital of Poland, Kraków, home to my cousin Adam: K is for Krakow.
Back on course now with E is for Eagle, elokwentny and Edyta, featuring the Polish coat of arms, the White Eagle. A recent visit to Wrocław and the lovely twin towns of Zgorzelec/Goerlitz on the German border prompted Z is for Zgorzelec and Zakopane down at the bottom of the alphabet. And when I got home, memories of the Summer just had to be captured in G is for Grazyna. The Norfolk Polish family came visiting. Continuing this topsy turvy alphabet, I returned to fill up with F is for Food (jedzenie). And I do mean fill up! Second breakfast, anyone?
It took me a little while to think of it, but next I wrote H is for Hotel, featuring some of the lovely ones I know, and of course more tales of family.
My visit to Poland in May 2013 inspired O is for “okropny” and the Ojcow Valley. The weather was dismal but the scenery stunning. Some day I’d like to see more of the surrounding area.
J is for Jadwiga was a pleasure to write, both for the interesting history of Queen Jadwiga and because I have a lovely cousin of that name.
L is for Lusia, Lodzia and Łódź introduces a little-known but interesting Polish city and tells a little about Aunt Lusia and about Lodzia- Jadwiga’s mother. I came back here to see what I’d written about Łódź, after meeting my friend Meg there recently.
St. Mary’s is one of Krakow’s most beautiful churches. Read all about it, and another cousin of course, in M is for Mariacki and Marysia.
Pope John Paul II was a charismatic and dynamic Pope, but more importantly, he was Polish. I tell a little of his history in P is for Pope, Piotrek and Przemek.
R is for rodzina of course. What else could it be? And very wonderful they are too. This is Dad at Weronika’s wedding in Krakow.
After the wedding I found a mountain retreat in Southern Poland, leading to S is for Szczawnica. A truly beautiful place!
The scenery just gets better if you come for a ride in T is for Tatry Mountains, I promise you.
After a little updating, I’ve added Zawady to the collection.
I need to make a sad amendment to my journey. Dad died on 2nd October, 2016. Our time in Poland together was very special. The family keeps on expanding and already Weronika, whose wedding he danced at, has 2 small children. I will go back to beautiful Poland, but right now I’m not sure when.
You can find out more by clicking on the logo below which will take you to Julie’s hub site, where you can also read some of the other contributions. Feel free to browse my personal A-Z of Portugal too. Have fun! Hope to see you again soon.