The Polish population is about 60 million people, with roughly 20 million living abroad. Now that Poland is part of the European Union, having a taste of living and working in a foreign country has become particularly easy. And a lot of Polish tourists travel all around the globe to discover other countries and cultures. What do we miss the most about Poland when we move or travel abroad?
1. Polish food
That’s an obvious one. With all the memories of mouth-watering Polish delicacies, you can’t help but feel nostalgic. If you move abroad, all of a sudden, you have to learn to make your own pierogi, your own gołąbki, even pickle your own cucumbers. You miss Polish sausage, milk products (kefir, white cheese) and… bread. Oh yes, Polish bread! Whenever you have guests from Poland planning to visit you, you’ll find yourself telling them to bring you some Polish bread before you even notice. Of course there are Polish stores to be found in big cities all around the world, but the food is not quite the same. Plus it’s much more expensive. (But even if you’re a Polish tourist traveling abroad, after a week of all inclusive holidays you actually start to miss your schabowy with potatoes and cabbage.)
2. Fresh fruit and veggies
I know, they also count as “food”. And you can buy fresh fruit and veggies abroad, so what’s the problem? Well, let’s take strawberries. Imagine that you buy a box of strawberries at a supermarket in one of the big cities of the western world and put them in the fridge. Three centuries later they’ll probably still look and smell the same. Buy them in Warsaw and you’ll have to eat them almost right away. But they will taste like… like strawberries. Real strawberries! You’d have to see for yourself to understand what I’m talking about. (Mmm… strawberries… is June coming any time soon?)
3. Polish openness
We’re very open people. With all its advantages and disadvantages. We speak our minds. We may not be overly polite when we’re angry or disappointer (to say the least), we may complain when something bothers us. That’s true. But on the other hand, when we’re friendly, loving and caring, we take being friendly, loving and caring to the next level. We wear our hearts on our sleeves. When we’re abroad, we miss this straightforward contact with other people.
4. Polish hospitality
You must have heard this phrase a thousand times: Polish people are hospitable and welcoming. Once you step through the door of a Polish home, you’ll see what it means. Even if you drop by unexpected, all of a sudden the table will disappear under tons of food and beverages and you’ll find yourself spending hours and hours talking. There’s no chance you’ll leave the house hungry.
5. Polish nature
Once you’ve sunbathed on the sandy beaches in Hawaii, seen the rainforests in Thailand, ridden a camel on the Sahara desert and swum in the Atlantic ocean, you suddenly miss the good old Polish nature. You dream of hiking in the Tatra mountains and sailing a boat on the Masurian lakes. You long for the Białowieża primeval forest and you’d eagerly go birdwatching in the valley of Biebrza river. You miss the beauty of the Baltic coast and you wish you could go back to the sand dunes near Łeba. Poland has it all.
6. Public transportation
The grass is always greener on the other side, so we usually complain at the Polish public transportation. But once we leave Poland, we actually realize how much we underappreciated it. The public transportation network in Polish cities is easily accessible, well-developed, safe and reliable.
7. Polish customs and traditions
Sharing the wafer and eating carp on Christmas Eve, bringing your beautiful palm to church on Palm Sunday, painting your pisanki on Easter and pouring water on Śmigus Dyngus… The solemn atmosphere of All Saints’ Day and the magic of Andrzejki. How can you not miss all these?
8. The feeling of safety
With no volcanoes, earthquakes or tornados to worry about and low risk of natural disasters in general, no sharks, venomous spiders or other highly dangerous animals running or swimming around, no terrorist activity, no people carrying guns on the streets and low overall crime rate, life in Poland is quite carefree. Going back home late at night or traveling solo around Poland is not a big deal, no matter if you’re a man or a woman. When traveling abroad, we often miss this feeling of safety.
This list is in no way exhaustive and we could go on and on talking about all the things we love and miss. And what do tourists usually miss about Poland once they go back home?