It’s taken a while for me to get around to writing about our trip to Poland, but here it goes.
Secondly, are man’s best friends. Being a dog lover, I’ve never fully understood how so many people from other countries could be so afraid of them. The reality is that in Poland, dogs are vicious! Every yard is completely fenced in, and most of them have at least one dog running around in it, who’s sole job is to bark and run ferociously along the fence next to passer-byers. Not one dog that I walked past wagged its tail and just wanted to say hi. Not one was friendly enough to get within 5 feet or pet. I have never been afraid of dogs before, but on this trip when a dog crossed my path that was not on an opposite side of a fence, I hesitated on which direction I would go.
I used to compare central Canada’s culture, architecture, and overall vibe with the east and think of it as an unsophisticated toddler with little character built. I used to smile when people laughed at how Yellowknife’s 70ish year old origins are labeled ‘old town’ and in my head, compared it to a ‘real’ old town like Old Montreal. Then I stepped into Europe. Naklo Nad Notecia, a little town off the radar that I spent most of my time in, was given the label of a town over 700 years ago! Biking through the town, and the surrounding area, it is common to find structures that are well over 100 years old. They do not have plaques on them designating them as a piece of history, or are protected from demolition. They are all just buildings that continue to serve a purpose in people’s lives as a house, a farm, or a factory. For a building to be considered a historical attraction due to age, it’s going to have to be much older. Malbork is one of those places.
My generation in North America has always been told about WW2; the destruction, the loss, the unnecessity, but always through pictures, books or verbally. Those history lessons did not do it justice. Malbork had been in renovations for over 200 consecutive years when it was used as a military base in WW2 and leveled by bombs. It has been extensively reconstructed but nowhere near back to what it was.
Walking though the old Square in Warsaw, I was amazing by the beauty of such an old backdrop, then left speechless when I found out that it was completely leveled in the war and rebuilt. I have read and researched quite a bit about WW2 but it was only after visiting Poland did I look past the statistics, political reasons, and the wartime innovations, to see how pointless and distressing war really is. This last thought is probably what shocked me the most about my visit to Poland.