Poland

Old Jun 17th 2019, 1:22 pm
  #31  
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Default Re: Poland

We've been to Poland twice. It's one of those places that takes a trained eye or some persistence to see the beauty of it.

There's a real growing cafe culture with great food at reasonable prices in Warsaw.. but of course as you get out into the country/suburbs you can still be chased down by uncontrolled dogs and the like

Driving is fun as well - our friend is from there and was taught by her dad "if you do the speed limit the police will think you are up to something, drive faster!!"
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Old Aug 5th 2019, 8:52 pm
  #32  
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Default Re: Poland

Fascinating to see that some people were so daring to travel in 60's to those parts of Europe. That must be some different experience and that Poland does not really exist anymore. I was born in Poland in 1965 and my memories go as far as 70's

There is some misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of Polish history. In my opinion it should be addressed. Over the centuries, Polish borders were shifting back and forth, from West to East. However, the land between two rivers Vistula and Odra (Oder) are birthplace of Polish tribes. These lands east of Odra, starting from north till mountains in south were in fact controlled by Slavians up till Partitioning that came in XVII century. During middle ages, XI - XII century, Polish state was comprise of principalities and one of their policies was to invite settlers from Germania. bear in mind, that there was no unified Germany back then and all Princes, and Kings of Poland, Chechia, Hungary were subjects of German/Rome emperor. German speaking population in that part of the country has increased. It was not unheard of to hear German language in Cracow too. Most of them were merchants. However, under no circumstances these land were controlled by German rulers. Some part of the Silesia, gravitated towards Prague. Up north, Gdansk area, land was controlled by remains of Teutonic knights that were defeated in XV century. They were subjects to Polish crown too. Things started changing in XVII century after series of wars with Sweden, Turkey and Russia. By that time, Polish state acquired lands in East. This lead to conflict with Moscow that was looking for foothold in Europe. Teutonic Knights seized opportunity to break out from Polish crown. Prussia State was created. Both Prussia and Moscow saw opportunity to interfere in Polish affairs. This laid ground for Partitioning of Poland. Soon Prussia got involved in unification of Germany. XVIII and XIX centuries both Germany and Russia show systematic efforts to increase migration from other parts of their countries to occupied lands. Restrictive laws were enacted that prevented Poles owning land and speaking Polish language. By 1918 population of Silesia speaking German was on par with Polish speaking group with some parts having one language more dominant then the other. Polish State was restituted, but Silesia and Pomerania were given referendum that supposed to decide were they wanted to belong. People form other parts of Germany were allowed to vote too. That lead to three Silesian uprisings that eventually allowed some part of Silesia join Polish State. Similarly there was uprising in Poznan area and that also lead to these lands to join Polish State. Pomerania remained in Germany even though there was significant Polish minority too. Things have changed after WWII. Most of the Germans left out of fear of Soviets. Those that stayed were given much later opportunity to leave Poland. There is still some German minority living in Silesia.

Please let me know if you have any questions
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Old Aug 6th 2019, 1:04 am
  #33  
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Default Re: Poland

Last year ((post #4 above) I told of our entry into what was then the Soviet Union in 1965. Here are a couple more paragraphs of what I wrote about our ten days in Russia. It's relevant to our week in Poland insofar as the same currency-controls existed throughout the Soviet Empire at that time, and the same illegalities had to be tried to work around them!

A common practice of young budget travellers was selling Western clothing for roubles on the black market, often at night in back streets. Denim jeans were particularly prized by young Soviet citizens, for whom wearing jeans (in private) was super-cool. But every once in a while the local customer for the jeans was an incorruptible young copper. Then, the seller lost his jeans and everything else, and had to wire home for the fare out, plus a fine. It was a risky game, and the secret of playing the black market is always to minimise risk. Plan ahead. Buy currency outside the country and sneak it in.

Some basic arithmetic skill is necessary where tight currency-controls exist. You have to exchange enough at the official rates to hide the fact that you have acquired some somewhere else as well. If you live entirely on the food that you brought in (no apples!), and your car gets sixty miles per gallon of the 20-octane dishwater sold at the local pumps, your exit-form will balance. Ours balanced – clear evidence that we had done those things. We heard of one unfortunate fellow who accidentally declared more money on exit than he had declared on entry. Oops!
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