Thoughts on Poland

6 Nov

When it comes to countries I have a love-hate relationship with, countries where the experiences have major glaring flaws (in my opinion) but a lot of great things to somewhat make up for it, one country tends to dominate my thoughts: The United States. But there’s another country which I’ve discovered I also have a love-hate relationship with: Poland.

Poland is a country in East-Central Europe with a population of 38 million. That’s around the population of California. It’s a country that’s found itself playing host to some of European history’s most horrific events of the 20th century under the Nazi, and to a lesser extent, the Soviet occupations. Though Poland takes a lot of influences from its larger neighbors such as Germany and Russia, the Poles have proudly managed to maintain a distinct identity. And what did I think of my travel experience there? It was awesome, and I definitely want to go back at some point. I didn’t see Krakow (Poland’s major tourist draw), and I still love it.

Warsaw doesn’t get as much tourist attention as cities like Prague, but In my opinion, it deserves to. It feels quite Americanized at first (major office buildings, McDonalds, and other signs of capitalism have all but conquered the train station area), but to dig deeper into the city’s past is a fascinating experience. 

I’d love to see more of the towns, like Gdansk, Lodz, Poznan, and Krakow.

But Poland’s not all a tourist wonderland. Though the country has made progress in the last 20 years, problems do remain. The country’s infrastructure still lags behind that of Western Europe, a problem made clear by the more limited and slower trains. The country also faces struggles with anti-semitism. Overall it’s far more religious, homophobic, and homogenous than most countries in Europe, even by Eastern European standards. In some ways, it’s the “Midwest/Bible Belt of Europe”.

But most importantly, It’s a country thats fascinating for several reasons, and I can’t wait to go back.

 

 

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