How to describe the wonderful Polish? Perhaps, born of the almost unbelievable history of invasion, subjection to dehumanising dislocation and non-nationhood, there is this thread of melancholy but indomitable fire and passion too. Their deftness with finding a way round insurmountable obstacles and enduring hopelessness has bred a very quick witted and lively nature, tinged with “what top do?” shrugging and a perky disregard for too many rules!
The last 80 or so years of rapid change, emerging from the fist of communism and before that, the traumas of the world wars, sees so much hope and such a willingness for hard work, I am really speechless with respect.
People like and enjoy each other and courtesy just seems natural. They seem to be so fluent with history and knowledge of themselves…. I can’t imagine being able to talk about my own culture in such detail, so soft has been my little world.
My rides throughout this wonderful time have been blessed with continual golden sunshine, only changing to rain on the day after I rolled into Krakow… What serendipity and what a contrast to my first few anxious days in Gdansk. But for those Wesołecks it might have been so different!!!! (had to get that subjunctive in somehow!) and now I am so grateful to Piotr and his family, (who are friends of the marvelous Aunty Barbara in Sweden, by the way) for their hospitality. JUST SO HAPPENS that Piotr and Margaret are utterly intimate with Slovakia, because they are regular mountaineers there and so can guide me precisely where and how to go!
I am sitting in Warsaw airport, surrounded by so many different types. Black-hatted Orthodox Jews with sideburn ringlets; images of humiliated elders having these brutally shorn by jeering Nazi soldiers, still fresh in my mind from the stunning Schindler exhibition. Wealthy poles, dripping with brassy jewelry and wafting expensive aftershave. Pale, hardworking business men. Travellers from all over. Hard working cheerful staff in restaurants and boutiques, being delightful… Not the case in so many faceless airports I have visited.
Ok, so I am full of cocktail-induced benevolence, but I would still have tears in my eyes, such is this extraordinary sense of privilege. I cannot help being so touched by the wealth of humanity that is rolling around me.
I am waiting for a flight that will bring me back to where I started in just a matter of hours (many very good reasons for this) which feels very weird! But in the lull between flights, it is a great opportunity to reflect and watch. I have sent up a list of weather requirements to the travel angels for clement weather to get me through Slovakia on my return, with the hope of entering milder climes a couple of steps ahead of the Polish winter… what then? It will come clear I imagine, just as everything has done this far.
So many thanks to all of you who look in on me. I feel very cared for and it continues to be such a source of delight when I imagine you all.
Greetings to all (I am not totally liquor-sodden, just a wee bit emotional at the thought of being home for a bit!) Jenny 🙂