A lot of people seem to think that Europe ends at the Eastern border of Germany. Australians think Europe is the UK, Spain, France and Germany, the 3 countries up North, Pizza-land, Greece and then Russia.
Even before knowing my girlfriend, I knew where Poland was. Granted, I had not much of an idea of its history, but I was aware of the role it played in both world wars, I knew it’s people were (are) notoriously hard working and that they sure as hell could put it away.
That is to say, they can drink.
And they can drink. Christ, how they can drink.
Anyway, for those of you who may not know the difference between a Janusz and good ol’ Grzegorz Brzęczyszczykiewicz, let’s get you schooled.
- Poland is a European country of approximately 36.5 million people.
- It’s broken up into 16 divisions or states – let’s call them voivodeships
- Part of the EU but they have their own currency (Polish złoty – pronounced zwot-ee)
- Proudly home to the first constitution in Europe (approx. 16th century)
- Lost its independence. Then got it back. Then lost it again. Got it back. Lost it again. Kinda got it back, then it really got it back in 1989.
- Has a large coastline on the Baltic sea, relatively flat in the middle, and huge stunning giant mountains in the south.
- Only place where the European Bison (Zubr) are still free.
These ones do not go moo.
- Warsaw is the capital (that’s where I live), other large cities include Krakow, Łódź (pronounced woodge), Wrocław (vrot-slav) and Poznan.
- Summer maximums (in Warsaw) are usually high to low 30s, winter minimums can spike to high teens
- Poland is a representative democracy – There is a president and a prime minister.
- The economy is known to be one of the most resilient in Europe and was the only to come out of the 2008 GFV without going into recession
- The language is hard. Oh goodness, the language is hard.
- They’re mostly Catholics
- Nicolau Copernicus, Marie Curie, Fredryk Chopin, Pope John Paul II, Roman Polanski, Robert Lewandowski
- Pierogi, bigos, głobki, kotlet szabowy, orogrek, barszcz, ogorek, grzybowka, ogorek.
All these topics will more than likely be covered on the blog at a later date.
Polish history, culture and modern day life truly is something that doesn’t get the worldwide attention it should.
Poland is beautiful.
With such a vibrant (yet tumultuous) history, this country and culture seem to be left out in school books, kontiki tours and expensive river cruises.
It’s now my home. And it presents a fantastic opportunity for speakers of nearly any language to live and build a unique life.
What did other pieces of Polish culture and history did I not touch here that I should in the future? Let me know in the comments!