Poland is a surprising country where the little towns and cities are hidden jewels, the food is luscious, and the people are kind and hospitable. The history and architecture never fail to amaze. Art, elegance and a beautiful language are wonderful sides that add to the vibrant weave of culture. My husband and I have been living in Kraków, Poland for more than two years. From our experience, Poland, as a travel destination, has been underexposed and underestimated in the American travel market.
How did we come to choose Kraków? For our silver-anniversary in 2012, we took a European adventure trip that included Kraków. I am Polish but that was my first visit to Poland. Kraków surprised us. We were retired and contemplating whether we could live abroad. We found Poland very affordable. In Poland, we thought, we might be able to live on our Social Security benefits. Plus, we could use Kraków as a base to travel through Europe.
I am an immigrant with dual citizenship, a naturalized citizen of the USA and a Polish national. My parents were born in Poland. They became displaced persons after WWII and immigrated to the United States in 1952. I was immersed in Polish culture even while growing up in the U.S. During my life, juggling two identities as a Polish girl and an American was a puzzle and a challenge. I never fully belonged to either culture. Living in Poland is my opportunity to explore my genealogy and acceptance of my cultural identity.
My husband, Greg Spring, has loved photography for almost 40 years. Professionally it is part of his life’s work. You will seldom find Greg without his camera. His photographs are featured prominently with our stories.
To sum it all up, this blog is about experiencing the grand cities, the history, the food and the people of Poland. It is about what it feels like to live in a new culture and away from the familiar. Greg’s photographs illustrate the personality of the people, cities, and countryside. We hope his images will keep you coming back for more of Poland.
Writing about travel is more than a brief jot in a series of 16 characters. Travel is about absorption in a place. It is about the details and the chemistry. It is about culture, language, people, nature, and history. We have deserted our comfortable ‘old folk and a rocking chair’ roles to be expats. We hope that through our stories and photos, you will plan to visit Poland on your next European adventure. And you will never again have to ask an American who chooses to live here: “Why Poland?”
“Why Poland?” is a blog written and produced by Grace Nagiecka with photos by Gregory Spring. Kraków, Poland 2018.