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Poland, day 1

Rzesz?w, PL (View on map)
Posted 13 Jun 2008:

After thirteen pleasant days in Slovakia, I am equally happy to have reached country number 25 on my list: Poland. Below is the first article about the country whose citizens have spread all over Europe since Poland joined the European Union in 2004.... Read more

In God we trust

Rzesz?w, PL (View on map)
Posted 14 Jun 2008:

After Malta, Poland is probably the second most strictly religious country in the European Union. Many of Poland`s historical national heroes associated themselves with the Catholic Church and many still do so today. It was again the Catholic Church who equipped people with inspiration to bear the oppression of communism. Religion, combined with the concept of family, is one of the major cornerstones in Polish society.... Read more

Polish Exodus

Cracow, PL (View on map)
Posted 15 Jun 2008:

Poland was isolated from Western Europe between World War II and the 1989 revolution. Before then, very few people managed to travel beyond the countries belonging to the Warsaw Pact. Emigration waves started to develop in the 1990s and came to a climax during the years following Poland`s integration into the European Union. Poles can now be found all over Europe. Some people in the rest of Europe could find it hard to believe that most Polish people still live back home in Poland.... Read more

Polish football drama

Cracow, PL (View on map)
Posted 16 Jun 2008:

Euro 2008 is moving ahead at full speed. Two matches will decide which one of the four teams in pool B will make it to the quarterfinals. One of these teams is representing my current host country Poland. Their chances of making it to the final are slim: a lost game against Germany and a draw against Austria put Poland in the last place. Tonight`s match Poland-Croatia may bring relief, but only if Austria beats Germany. Below report describes how Cracow is experiencing this vital match.... Read more

Kitchen secrets

Katowice, PL (View on map)
Posted 17 Jun 2008:

When I asked Czechs about their favourite food, most of them instantly came up with the answer `Czech food`, only later detailing which exact dishes they liked. The British came up with supermarket combinations while the Italians were all able to list the exact ingredients of their favourite meals. If I had asked the Poles 10 years ago, I am sure that they would have come up with lists of Polish dishes, but times are changing. What are today`s favourite of young Polish people?... Read more

Language fun

Katowice, PL (View on map)
Posted 18 Jun 2008:

Many Europeans have grown accustomed to seeing words like `Piwo` (beer), `Polski sklep` (Polish shop) and `Polska Gazeta` (Polish newspaper) during the last couple of years. Also the word `kurwa` (`whore`, but used like `damn`) has become commonplace in cities across Europe, no matter how offensive its meaning may be if used in an improper context. What else is interesting to know about the Polish language?... Read more

Growing up in the 1980s

Wroclaw, PL (View on map)
Posted 19 Jun 2008:

After visiting six post-communist states and the three Baltic States, I can easily tell that growing up in communism was very different from growing up in the West. Polish `tweenagers` confirm this statement. Please find some Polish childhood memories below:... Read more

Summer holidays

Wroclaw, PL (View on map)
Posted 20 Jun 2008:

Poland is one of the few countries where many people head North during the holidays. The Baltic Sea coast is one of the most popular destinations for young Poles who leave on holidays. The concept of leaving the country to celebrate holidays abroad is relatively new, but the market for such vacations is developing at full speed. More and more people are exchanging the Polish beaches for something more exotic. Today`s question to young Poles in Wroclaw: what`s Your program for this summer?... Read more

Papirologia w Polsce

Wroclaw, PL (View on map)
Posted 21 Jun 2008:

Twenty years after the fall of communism, Polish state employees still love the sound of stamps and the activity of putting them on anything that looks like paper. While ordinary people are trying to find the way in the capitalistic world, they still often face the old-style paper monster called `bureaucracy`.... Read more

Dreams and ambitions

Czestochowa, PL (View on map)
Posted 22 Jun 2008:

Back in the Czech Republic, I was disappointed to find out that the word `ambition` seemed to be looked down on. Thinking about the future in other terms than making money and raising a family almost seemed `not done`. Hoping that Poles will have more elaborate answers to the ambition question, I am asking them today what they would like to achieve in the near future.... Read more

Looking for love

Czestochowa, PL (View on map)
Posted 23 Jun 2008:

When it comes to finding a second half in life, I have found the Slovenians to be the shiest, the Swedes the most open-minded, Finns and Estonians the least `sticky` and the Britons the least careful about getting pregnant. The Poles in many ways compare to the Italians. Both nationalities want love to be passionate, they can be quite jealous and have a lot of arguments, but they are also the ones who buy each other more presents than couples in other countries do. What else is there to know about Polish love life?... Read more

Polish headlines

Warsaw, PL (View on map)
Posted 24 Jun 2008:

The Polish media circus is almost as interesting and fascinating as Italian politics. It has a lot of drama, people accusing each other of this and that, papers being influenced by either political parties and/or the Church. Today`s edition of Dziennik, one of the biggest newspapers, spent one page writing about the Us Europeans project: a good reason to see what they think about the project and to investigate what other subjects are in the Polish news these days.... Read more

Negative emotions

Torun, PL (View on map)
Posted 25 Jun 2008:

Leaving home for one year without ever getting frustrated would be impossible, and today turns out to be my annual frustration day. I will keep the reasons of these negative emotions to myself but they do serve as a perfect excuse to ask some Polish people how they deal with frustrations, and what is making them feel frustrated in the first place.... Read more

Constructive psychology

Gdansk, PL (View on map)
Posted 26 Jun 2008:

Following interviews with a railway employee in Hungary, a photographer from Slovenia, a social worker in Austria, a pub manager in Czech Republic and a forest girl in Slovakia, today is the right day for another one-person interview. This time, I am talking with Mateusz, a 25-year-old psychology student who lives in Gdansk and hopes to graduate within the next year.... Read more

Solidarity and Revolution

Gdansk, PL (View on map)
Posted 27 Jun 2008:

Every country in the former Eastern Block somehow participated in the overthrow of communism. Poland`s most influential anti-communism movement was formed in the early 1980s. Under the name of Solidarnosc, a group of shipyard workers founded the first non-communist labour union in the communist world. Initial strikes proved counterproductive on the short term. On the long term, Solidarnosc successfully undermined the communist system to finally overthrow it by the end of 1989.... Read more

Polish world views

Szczecin, PL (View on map)
Posted 28 Jun 2008:

Poland shed a sigh of relief when Spain beat Russia in the Euro 2008 semifinals. A final of Germany against Russia would leave the Poles unable to decide which side to support, because neither country is particularly popular in Poland. Curious to find out how Poles think other countries, I am asking them today what they think of their many neighbours: Russians, Lithuanians, Belorussians, Ukranians, Slovaks, Czechs and Germans.... Read more

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