The GoGlobal Blog

eating until our belts snapped

eating until our belts snapped

Poland is a country full of gorgeous landscapes, hospitable people, and amazing food.  I may be a bit bias, considering I am Polish-American, but once you experience it for yourself you will forever understand.  Just thinking of the hot, delicious pumpkin soup and delectable pierogi is making my mouth water.

The JFRC had two study trips organized for our fall break: one to Greece and the other to, you guessed it, Poland.  While many immediately went for the Greece trip, I knew that going to Poland was a no-brainer.  Why wouldn’t I want to go to the motherland?  Plus, Poland would actually look and feel like fall.  All of September and October, when in Chicago it was cold, Rome had been hot and humid.  There were no leaves changing colors.  No cool, crisp fall air blowing.  But, I knew Poland would give me my much need fall fix: and boy did it.

We arrived first in Warsaw, whereupon I immediately felt right at home.  Warsaw is a city similar to those in the US: full of people, skyscrapers, public transit, and endless shops.  We were walking along one of the main streets when I suddenly caught a whiff of a familiar smell.  It was coffee, and it was coming from somewhere that in America I had been an extremely loyal customer: Starbucks.  I, of course, had to get a comfort coffee to, one, remind myself of home, but two, to appreciate the Western phenomena of to-go cups.  I love Italian coffee, but you can only drink it at the bar and they give such a feeble amount.  I miss being able to get a huge coffee and then walk all over Chicago with it keeping me warm.

Our first night in Poland was a wonderful taste of what was to come.  There were mountains of Polish meats, pierogi, potato pancakes, a huge bowl of Greek salad, and cups of beetroot soup.  While I was only able to eat the salad and soup, both were delicious.  For dessert, I devoured a vanilla sundae topped with warm cherry sauce: truly divine.  By the end of the meal, our stomachs matched that of Santa Claus’s and we had to be rolled out the door like Cutlet in Animal Café.

After visiting the stare miasto, becoming educated at the World War II museum, listening in rapture to a ninety year old Auschwitz survivor, and getting hooked on a new coffee chain, Coffee Heaven, we left Warsaw and headed by train to Torun.

Torun is a tiny medieval town that accommodates to college students and gingerbread lovers.  It is home to the Nicolaus Copernicus University and a gingerbread museum: both of which we visited.  We went to Nicolaus Copernicus for a human rights symposium that was completely amazing and provoking.  The museum, on the other hand, was…entertaining.   Let’s just say reenactments are not my thing.  From Torun, we headed to Krakow, a city rich with jazz music and culture.  We visited the Schindler museum, had an emotional experience at Auschwitz, ate more pierogi, and lived Real World style in an apartment.

I was extremely sad to leave Poland, even though I was ready for a break from traveling.  Already, I wish I could go back.  I miss the food, the people, and the coffee.  Plus, compared to Rome, Poland is super cheap.  If you are a person on a budget, go to Poland because not only will get more for your zloty, but you will see how lovely and worthwhile the country truly is!

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