This travelogue describes my August/September 2006 trip to Poland. The reason for the trip was pretty simple. My mother wanted to see where her parents were from and I was her designated luggage schlepper. In an act of extreme generosity, I used United frequent flyer miles to get us business class tickets between New York and Warsaw on LOT. I also did all of the legwork on setting up our touring. Or, more precisely, I told the good folks at Mir Corporation where we wanted to go and had them set things up with their local partners. In addition to the roots thing, we'd both heard that Krakow is the place to go in Poland. And, since I tell a lot of stories about the wise men of Chelm, that was one destination I insisted on.
I'll also mention that I got the catalogue from my county's adult ed program just after I made the plane reservations and immediately signed up for Polish 1. A few weeks of night school doesn't really teach you enough of a language to communicate, but i did learn basic greetings and a few useful phrases. And it made me a lot more comfortable with sounding out the rather complicated combinations of consonants. It also enabled me to teach my mother three phrases:
Dzien dobry (pronounced "jen dobri") = good day
Dziekuje (pronounced "jenkooyeh"; there's a hook under the first e, which is what adds the "n" sound) = thank you
Dzienautri (prounounced "Gene Autry") = a Polish cowboy
That's probably the worst joke you'll have to put up with in this travelogue. But you'll never know unless you read on for further details.
Roots Along the Narew
Chelm: A Fool's Errand?
To Krakow and Back Again
Copyright 2006 Miriam H. Nadel
last updated 21 October 2006