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Published: September 15th 2014
Świętochłowice in Silesian Provine southern Poland with the Volvex Family 9-12 September
We met the most wonderful people from Poland in Greece last year, who helped us with our (only) flat tier on our European journey over the last 2 years. Ela and Darek and one of their daughters Agnieszka, welcomed us in their home this year. We have been communicating via email since our brief meeting last year and they invited us to park our motor home in their drive and show us around their district.
We were overwhelmed by their hospitality. They showed us so much of their region and fed us with all this wonderful Polish dishes.....and Ela is an amazing cook - yum! It was so good to be in a home and with such lovely people.
Their daughter Agnieszka speaks very good English and we absolutely exhausted her being our translator, particularly during our complex, lengthy discussions on the Polish history and comparing what is happening today in Poland with Australia. It was at the point of the Reformation from Communism to Democracy that Darek started his business...which was very lucky. Let's hope that Poland stays strong and protects its people so that
prosperity through democracy and free markets contribute to their wealth in an ongoing way. They deserve it.
Darek and Ela are such genuine people who have opened their home and hearts to us. And they have almost decided they will come to Australia. We are really looking forward to returning the favour if they come. They will be bringing both their daughters.
Agnieszka had just graduated from secondary school and is launching into her university studies furthering her language program in English and starting Chinese and German so that she may become an interpreter (we have certainly given her a lot of practice!!!) or something where she can use the multiple languages she is learning.
They took us to Wisle where we saw parks and ski jumps as well as markets where Polish holiday-makers visit. Darek bought some lovely cheese for us to taste and later we had more for dinner, but heated and eaten with berry jam. The next day they took us to see the Katowice historic estate of Nikiszowiec where employees and their families who worked in the coal mines, lived.
This area used to be very industrial with many coal mines and
steel mills. Since the end of the communist rule and because of the reduced coal prices, many of the mines have closed, a couupl of which are now museums. We visited the Guido Coal Mine in Zabrze with a Polish guide but again, Agnieszka did a superb interpreting job for us.
Throughout this district, there are extensive mining shafts and tunnels which have not been filled in. In many housing areas where they have built their houses over these mines, extensive subsiding is occuring. Fortunately, the house that Darek and Ela have bought, was built by mining executives with strong foundations. By the way, their house is beautiful with all the extensive renovations done by Darek....with a little help from Ela.
Darek also helped Tom buy some new front tyers as the ones we fitted in Norway lasted only 17,000kms and we didn't want to hand the motor home over to the new owners (who are from Darwin), with bald tyers. It also needed a wheel alignment. All up, the cost of this was less than half of what we payed in Norway. Darek has been living in this area for many years and is definitely 'in
the know'. All services we received were very professional and of high quality so Tom was really thankful.
We felt that we had a good look around some of their Province.
Sadley we said our goodbyes in the middle of the day and with some excellent advice from our hosts on the best features to see in northern Poland, we headed for Czestochowa (85 kms north) to see the Jasna Gora Shrine and Monestry which was founded in 1382. What many Pilgrams come to see is the painting of the image of Our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary of Jasna Gora in the cathedral of the Shrine and Monastery in central Poland.
We then drove further north and stayed in a roadside stop that have very new facilities. We slept well as we had really late nights talking with our Świętochłowice hosts until about 1.30am each night!!!! It was fantastic. We were sad that we coundn't stay longer, but we 'things to do and places to see'....as they say!
We were heading for Torun, a very historic town.
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