Day 17: Going Home and Wrap-Up

Our flight back to Chicago today wasn’t leaving until 12:35, which was nice so we didn’t have to get up super early.  We were packed up, downstairs, and checked out by 9:00.  As we rolled our luggage through the lobby and out the front door, we waved away offers for fancy black town cars or taxis.  No, thank you sirs, we already have a ride.

It was starting to rain and we had a couple blocks to walk to meet our ride, the #175 bus.  We absolutely couldn’t complain, though, as the weather had been just perfect for every day of the trip.  In fact, the last time we saw hard rain like this was our very first day in Gdansk (remember that day, lo those many blog pages ago?  Seems like a lifetime, doesn’t it?).

The bus took about 40 minutes, and within a few short hours we were seated on a nice, modern Airbus A330 that Lot Polish Airlines had leased from HiFly Transportes Aereo.  I am pretty sure they felt they’d pushed their luck with the crusty old Boeing 767s, and I was so happy not to be on one that I didn’t even care no one had ever heard of HiFly Transportes Aereo.  Flight time was about 10 hours, we landed close to on time, and were home, sweet home, not long after.

Final Thoughts

All in all, we loved Poland.  We loved how Poles are so fanatical about ice cream, garlic, and snacks in general.  We loved how exceptionally clean just about everything was, from public bathrooms to city streets to hotels and beyond.  We admired how stylish many residents dressed, especially the women, and will forever be mesmerized by the grace and agility in which cobblestones are traversed in 4+ inch heels.  We loved the Prince Polo wafer cookies, and are on a mission to find some locally.  We loved the extravaganza that is a Polish football match.  We loved Tyskie, Zywiec, and Lech beers.  We loved how flat the country is, as walking well over 15 miles a day is so much easier that way.  We loved how inexpensive – yet so rich in sights – it was, when compared to Western Europe.  We loved how beautifully maintained the historic sites, monuments, and memorials were, and how much respect was shown toward them.  We loved how so many people spoke at least some English, because our vocabulary of 22 Polish words could only get us so far.  We especially loved Gdansk, Torun, Zamosc, Krakow, and Warsaw.  And we loved the food and never had a bad meal, just some that were more memorable than others.

It’s not all rosy, of course, as no place is.  There were a few things we weren’t crazy about, such as the abundance of public drunkenness in some towns, that horrid instant coffee, the little, thin, square sheets of tissue many restaurants try to pass as napkins, vending machine borscht, and the propensity to not give all travel options (for instance, we’d be told to take bus A someplace but it turns out you can take bus A, B, C, or D).  Something else we found atypical to what we are used to is the fact over 95% of the population are ethnic Poles.  Needless to say, there is not much ethnic diversity in Poland and there were a few towns we never once saw a person of color.

But at the end of the day it was a superb and memorable trip, and we’ll be the first to tell you to go see for yourselves.  Thank you, Poland, we had a great run.

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. Pat B

     /  May 20, 2013

    What wonderful commentary and a spectacular trip. Loved it.


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