It was a fortunate week. As you'll previously recall I'd almost written Poland off as a destination and I'm glad a stroke of luck brought me back.
How does lunch in Germany, dinner in Czech and beers in Poland sound? To anyone from where I'm from that's a completely alien experience. I guess it's possible to go from England, Scotland and Wales in one day; but I don't consider going from a fry up to haggis and onto oddly named cheese on toast particularly exotic.
So here I am again, in the land of broken roads and broken dreams. But this time it's different. For one I have a guide or two to enable use of deli counters and butchers. How does beef neck steak sound? I've never even seen it in the UK, but I tell you now it's good BBQ food, and at £3 a kilo...
Beers. I already knew Polish beers in my opinion were the best a man can get. It came as a surprise to hear from a local that beer in Poland was a relatively recent invention (circa 100 years). I guess not having to adhere to historical standards meant they could throw away tradition and make decent beer. Decent over others, why? Well they brew beers in the 6-7.5% range, which is oddly ignored by everyone else. Personally, I drink for 2 reasons: get drunk and enjoy the getting there. Polish beers do this better than any other.
It feels a little peculiar going to holiday spots in this area, considering they were in the not so recent past communist holiday locations. I don't know why this should feel strange, I guess you couldn't even tell the difference from photos, but it makes me feel that people in this part of the world were hard done by, and through no fault of their own are now having to play catch up to everyone else. On the other hand it's also nice to see cars parked up at the side of the road on the understanding the owners are out picking mushrooms in the woods, just like their ancestors did; and seeing children playing on a swing over a lake as per their parents in those oh so different times.
Did I mention it's cheap here? It is. To me anyway. For example the trip to the supermarket today consisted of 12 beers (7%), 1kg of beef neck, a handful of kabanos, tin of sardines, 2 x noodles, butter and some spices. All together £13. In the UK I consider Polish beers from the off licence cheap so it's basically like getting all the food for free in comparison.
Sorry, but another to be continued. It's hard to put thoughts into words after these 7% beers :-)