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View From Your Table

Hel, Poland

I have about a hundred VFYTs I need to post, but I can’t seem to get focused enough to do them. James C. just sent in these from his Polish jaunt, and I am feeling inspired. He writes:

Wait, THAT’S Poland?! Indeed. Hel sits at the very tip of a long curving finger of sand out in the Baltic Sea—like Provincetown on Cape Cod, except about 100 times more family-friendly (this is still Poland).

You know how in America you can get ice cream in something called a “waffle cone”? In Hel you can get it in an actual waffle:

Hel, Poland

It was a joy to see all the young Polish families take their kids out in the quaint town and wander around the dunes in white sands so fine that they squeak between your toes.

What a lovely country and people. I have drunk heavy doses of history in Krakow, Czestochowa, Wroclaw and Gdansk, both glorious and terrible. The people are survivors, and after all their sufferings they are in a pretty good place. Being here for the first time really helps me understand why they are resisting Merkel and Juncker’s EU diktats. They like having peace and freedom for the first time, and they prefer to keep it that way, thank you very much. There’s an ease of life in the cities—no concrete barriers, no soldiers with weapons. Just Polish people being Polish, and unapologetically happy to be so.

Like in Western Europe, there are two societies here: the godly and the godless. But unlike its neighbors to the west, the godly side isn’t a tiny minority. I’ve been to several parish masses, and I was very impressed by the reverence of the liturgy and the crowds of young urban Poles in the pews.

I was very grateful to make this little stopover on my way back from America. It was the cheapest trip I’ve ever taken but one of the more rewarding. And I got to see one of my five favourite paintings in the world: Hans Memling’s Last Judgment, in Gdansk. It brought me to my knees.

My dinner in Hel was light because my lunch in Gdansk was…well:

Gdansk, Poland

No, I didn’t finish it.

What a great set of images and text. I hope that this next decade affords me the opportunity to travel in the Visegrad countries. Just so you know, I have never met a pierogi that I haven’t loved.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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