An incredibly stressful sprint to the airport took me from Brussels to Warsaw, where I stayed for the night before heading to my final major destination: Katowice!
I will admit to having lost my emotional composure multiple times between Brussels and Warsaw, and then again more intensely between Warsaw and Katowice – misinterpreting which airport I was to go to, trying to store large luggage overnight in different languages, avoiding having my phone casually stolen on the bus, and lacking decent sleep for weeks. It could have been a lot worse, but I was quite shaken by the time I arrived in Katowice. Thankfully, my cousin had given me directions to my first stop in the town: Veganka.
Full of traditional Polish food that has been veganized, a very kind employee translated every menu item for me and I found myself with a sour sausage soup and a vegan ice cream sandwich (VERY GOOD). My cousin met up with me, and we began a whirlwind tour of the area that would last for only a couple of days.
We started with a visit to the Salisian museum – a combination of regional history and art exhibition.
After this, I enjoyed a delicious dinner (which is different than supper? Do I have these right, yet?) of pasta and went to sleep to prepare for another full day! We took the train to Pszczyna to explore a palace on an especially hot day in Poland – but not before a feast of a breakfast.
Following some mojitos to cool down, we headed to another cousin’s home for one of the most special homemade dinners I’ve ever been served by those who have never met me before!
Polish goodies abound, including pączki and a Salesian cake for welcoming someone. 🙂 My heart was so warm! And the food was so good. All homemade! Before wrapping up the evening, we headed to the Salesian “red brick” district and took in the beautiful buildings and setting sun.
On our final day, as we watched our final meal of perogies come together, we walked around and saw the little town where my cousin lives and enjoyed some lody (ice cream)!
It was a bittersweet farewell as I Tetris-style packed my small backpack with a jar of honey the size of my head, Polish house slippers, tote bags, SO MUCH CHOCOLATE, and other gifts from my incredibly kind and welcoming Polish family. I ate some of the most delicious perogies I’ve ever had and enjoyed a few final bites of pączki before heading to the airport.
By some miracle, I got through airport security and made my way back to Warsaw, where all of my luggage was safe and where I made my way to sleep in one of the loveliest hostels I can imagine! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. I reflected on how great my last stint in Poland was and how grateful I was for the kindness and hospitality of my family who took a somewhat stressful travel experience and made it entirely worthwhile and comfortable!
My DREAM Hostel experience summed up in a few photos: