Poland, oh Poland.
Fifth time i’ve visited you, and probably not the last time.
I might even have to double my visiting frequency from every odd year to every year, because of the Off Festival. It restored my faith in multi-day, multi-stage festivals. Pleasant atmosphere, good bands, not even the massive thunderstorm on the last day could dampen our spirits. (Thank you main sponsor mBank for handing out rain ponchos and saving my life. The day I move to Poland, I’ll open a bank account with you.) Eat your heart out, Belgian summer festivals.
After that, an 11 hour trip to the far east of the country, to visit friends I can normally see every day here in Brussels. Kind of weird, but oh well. We got to stay in Asia’s family summer house for three days, even though the weather wasn’t always glorious and summery (see exhibit A). But it doesn’t matter if you can have a wood fire and grill sausages. Which is what we did for three days straight, it seemed. Had a lovely family dinner in the altanka (see exhibit B), sampling Asia’s dad’s home-made fruit liquors - 6 different kinds, yes sir.
The region of Rostocze is a beautiful one, all gently rolling hills, fields and forests. It’s funny to observe the contrast between sophisticated cosmopolitan places such as Warsaw and Krakow and these rural regions on the far outer reaches of the EU where time seems to have stood still.
I realised I speak enough Polish to surprise people, but not enough yet to have a full conversation or read the paper, which is annoying. In the meantime I keep practising the pronunciation of words such as Szczebrzeszyn.
After a 3-day stopover in Berlin, in which i didn’t exactly do much but drinking ayran and club mate (and checking out some cool gigs by my friends from The Dropout Patrol and The Puddle Parade), I am back home now, wearing my souvenir from Krakow: a new copy of my favourite T-shirt (see exhibit C; the old one had become all but unwearable).
Poland, we will meet again.