Polska Dotty

Polska Dotty: Carp in the Bathtub, Throttled Buglers, and Other Tales of an Englishman in Poland
By Jonathan Lipman
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2011, 224 pp.

5 Stars

When Americans consider traveling to Europe for a vacation, they rarely think of Poland. If you go to Amazon.com, you’ll find very few Polish travelogue books. Why is that? Due to its unique history, Poland didn’t have a chance to develop at the same pace as other European countries. Poland was absorbed by Russia, Austria, and Prussia in the late-18th century and did not reappear as a nation until after the conclusion of the First World War. The Great Depression hit a decade later, followed by the horrific devastation inflicted by the invading Nazi Germans and Russian-Soviets, followed by 44 years of Russian-Soviet domination and oppression. Poland finally achieved its independence in 1989 and has been trying to catch up economically ever since.

In this interesting book, British lawyer, Jonathan Lipman relates his experience living in Poland from 1997 to 1999. Lipman had met a Polish panna (single woman) when the two were studying at Oxford in 1994. They subsequently married and Lipman took a job with a Warsaw law firm advising on foreign business investment contracts written in English.

Lipman describes daily living in Krakow (home of his wife’s family) and in Warsaw along with some interesting vacation trips to Sopot (a resort city on Baltic Sea) and Zakopane (a village in Tatra Mountains). He devotes chapters to such topics as transportation in Poland, weather, religion and festivals, entertainment, customer service (or the lack thereof), Polish work ethic, and “the Polish character.” There’s also a chapter on Polish-Jewish relations, a fascinating topic that I studied intensively during my long “prodigal season.” Poland is probably the most Catholic country in Europe, but as Lipman describes it, Polish Catholicity is mostly about bonding with family via religious rituals and traditions.

Although the events and observations described within happened over twenty years ago, this book still offers many very relevant and astute insights into the Polish nation and its people. The author interjects a good amount of entertaining droll British humor throughout, although there are some British-isms that will leave the American reader scratching their head. For an independently published book, this was very well done. I read the Kindle version and the transcription was excellent. I’m impressed.

Postscript: Poland isn’t all Soviet-style, utilitarian, nondescript, gray, architecture. There are many, many lovely spots to visit. My wife and I spent five days in Krakow a decade ago. The extremely well-preserved, former capital of Poland until 1596, Krakow was largely untouched by WWII bombardment. Krakow’s central city is as nice a place to visit as any city in Europe.

Above: A view of a portion of Krakow’s massive main market square, the Rynek Główny, at nightfall. It’s the largest medieval town square in Europe at 9.4 acres.

20 thoughts on “Polska Dotty

  1. Interesting! As the wife of a Polish man, I’m going to give this book a read. Just last week, my husband was saying how he would love to visit Poland. Lord willing, it will happen.

    Thank you for your message on my recent reblogged post. I have deleted the post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Linda Lee! The book is an entertaining and informative read for only $2.99 on Kindle.

      I hope you two can make it to Poland. Krakow is a very lovely destination. We spent four days in Krakow (as a side-trip after visiting our grandson in Germany) and had the most enjoyable time. My wife (a non-Pole) loved it.

      Thanks for your reply to the comment I sent regarding Jackie Evancho. Many unwary evangelical Christians are quite fine with ecumenism with Rome these days, so I appreciate your discernment. Ms. Evancho sang for pope Francis in Philadelphia when he visited the U.S. in 2015.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Answering your question: My day is going well! Resurrection Sunday was long with also a deacons meeting, pastoral counseling discussions and also someone calling at night with a long conversation. I barely was awake when I wrote my post today lol. I hope to get some rest with a one night camping trip comingup

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t realize that one-day camping trip was coming up so soon, but I realize it’s not wise to post specific comings and goings on the internet. Hope you had a good time!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m actually more fascinated with Poland than France in terms of idea of touring Europe; I’m fascinated with Eastern Europe having serving with European units in the Marines whether in Middle East or in Europe. THer’es something of a moral decay and decay in other ways with some of the Western places. Nice to hear about your visit in Poland. POland has been on the news a lot this year…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would like to visit Poland again, but that probably won’t happen. Poland is definitely facing challenges with taking in close to 3 million Ukrainian refugees to date. It’s reported the city of Krakow’s population has increased by 150,000 or 20% in just a few weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

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