Hip Guide to Poland

One of the recent countries to join the European Union, Poland is undergoing a huge transformation, now that it has thrown off decades of communist programming. From it’s medieval city centers to modern skyscrapers and vast countryside, the new Poland has so much to offer the visitor. Whether you come for a historical tour, a religious pilgrimage, or a taste of Polish culture, you will find a warm welcome in Poland. The Hip Guide to Poland offers highlights of the country, and contains many tips for making your stay here more rewarding.

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Architecture of Modern Warsaw

As we all know from films such as ‘The Pianist,” Warsaw was almost completely destroyed by the retreating Germans at the end of World War Two.

modern warsaw

Modern Warsaw

To my astonishment, Warsaw has been rebuilt, brick by brick into an amazing place. In fact the Old Town is now on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Old Town area has been beautifully restored, offering an array of cafes and shops for tourists as they visit with Warsaw’s many ghosts.

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Polish History

Poland’s History

966 – Poland is born, and most importantly, recognized by THE church.

1000 – Boleslaw the Brave King of Poland crowned by German Emperor Otto III, who also recognizes the Polish state’s existence.

1225 – Recently unemployed Teutonic German crusaders brought in to re-establish order against invading Lithuanians, Jacwingians, and Prussians.

1241-42 – Mongol expansion into Europe crushed as Poland and Lituania expand eastward.

13th thru 14th Centuries – Poland expands further eastward, while giving up Denmark, Bohemia and Volhynia.

1346 – During the reign of the Great Kazimierz, a law was passed offering sanctuary to Jews fleeing other European countries, allowing them to settle here.

1410 – Poland and Lithuania defeat the Teutonics.

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Polish Food

Food of Poland

While travelling from Warsaw to Krakow recently I met a character that detested root vegetables. I asked why, and she replied that the sisters in her boarding school as a child forced her to eat all sorts of them, leaving a bad memory – and taste – in her mouth. I wondered why she was travelling in Poland, Motherland of all Root Vegetables, but soon realized the beauty of the countryside and the friendly people was a major reason for anyone to visit here.

Some of the best things to eat here are anything made with the abundance of fresh produce to be found in Poland. Here are some of the things I tried, and liked.

Soups – Zupa Grzybowa is cream of mushroom soup, and made with the local bolete mushrooms for the best flavor. Grochowka is a yellow split pea soup with potatoes, carrots, and also sausage. A rather hearty stew indeed. Although I didn’t try it, Flaki is also a popular soup in Poland. It’s tripe soup, with lots of pepper, ginger and marjoram – an unusual flavor combination, and the Warsaw natives add a topping of grated cheese. I did enjoy a bowl of Zupa Szczawiowa, which is another cream soup, made with sorrel leaves, and included a hard-boiled egg. But one of the most popular offerings for soup seemed to be Czysty Barszcz Czerwony, a clear red soup made with beet roots, garlic and mushrooms.

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