Posted by wmw on June 8, 2013

Wineries in Poland...  After our much-too-short trip to Poland with our Italian friends Giovanni and Marirosa, I wish I could say that we had managed to visit some (yes, they do exist!).  However, the day that we had hoped to find Adoria Vineyards in southwest Poland  (does anyone know the owner, Mike Whitney?  He went to Bellingham High School...), was the very day that Giovanni and Marirosa's little Puegot decided to take a break and spend a few hours relaxing in a Puegot shop in  Czerstakowa.  Nothing serious, but by the time we managed to get "on the road again", the decision was made to continue on to Warsaw.

We were disappointed, only because it would have been fascinating to hear how they deal with the challenge of growing wine grapes even further north than our northernmost latitude in Washington.  Perhaps there would have been some bit of information useful to Charlie, pertaining to our particularly "cold clime" here in the upper Wenatchee River valley... to say nothing of being able to taste some wines "grown" in Poland!

Wineries aside, Poland was amazing.  We were happy to be tourists with our Italian friends, who truly know how to be tourists!  And it was very special to be in the country of SOME of Charlie's ancestors.  If I ever wondered why Charlie gravitated to the pickled herring in the grocery store, I need wonder no more-- I have never seen so much herring prepared so deliciously in so many different ways!  And from pierogi to bigos to excellent seafood, Poland was a culinary delight.

On a more serious note, we could not visit Krakow without visiting nearby Auschwitz and Birkenau, a more than sobering history lesson:  many of us have seen the pictures, but BEING there is something else entirely.  May we never forget what happened there, and may we never allow it to be repeated.  This very depressing experience was followed by a spiritually uplifting visit to the Polish National Shrine (picture on left), where the Black Madonna of Czerstakowa is honored -- amazing!

Krakow, Czerstakowa, Warsaw, Torun, Gdansk -- a whirlwind tour in ten days, and difficult to condense into a few paragraphs.  What did we enjoy the most?  Possibly Krakow, perhaps because the weather cooperated and was beautiful and sunny?  Czerstakowa, because the heart of the Polish people seems to be enshrined there with their patroness, the Black Madonna?  Warsaw, because the strength and spirit of the Polish nation is evident in the rebuilding after World War II?  Gdansk on the Baltic Sea.....? 

To those of you who have visited Poland:  please share your experiences with us when you come to the winery.  If you've thought about going, hesitate no longer -- it's well worth the effort!  We'll be happy to tell you more...