Today is a national holiday in Poland, which basically (as best we can tell from the translation) celebrates the growing of plants and nature. A green holiday if you will. And like any good Polish citizens, the city was filled with festivals and music all day. So like any good American visitors, we jumped right in.
We headed down to the main square of town, but were a bit early for the music. We kept exploring and soon discovered a bit of a car show with live music, followed by a Belarusian cultural festival.
At this festival, a group sang accompanied by accordion music and I couldn’t help but think that if I wasn’t already 100% sure my Uncle John was in Michigan, I would think he was on stage at this festival rocking out the accordion. Not so much in looks, but in stature combined with the hat. The beard helped, too.
We eventually made it to orientation and met our Polish student counterparts. There are also three Belarusians in the program, and it will take quite some time to figure out everyone’s names. Acting as wonderful hosts, the students quickly shuffled us out of orientation and back to the square for drinks at the festival. The square is amazing.
There are somewhere around 10 restaurants that surround the city center, all boasting huge outdoor patios. Despite the 57 degree overcast weather today, people were out and about on the patios. The music was on a stage in the middle. Every town in America needs to get in on this European style city center. You can easily people watch for hours over dinner and drinks, or bar hop quickly from one place to another.
Which may or may not have been what we did. Most of us only went on to stop two of the bar hopping, mostly out of sheer curiosity for the Polish drink “Apple Pie.” Vodka meets apple juice and they fall in love. Truly tastes like apple pie. Truly dangerous because you can’t taste any vodka. Truly delicious.
Tomorrow classes kick off with a special lecture from the former Prime Minister of Poland. So far, so good.