In this issue, we salute the great nation of Poland. The Napoleonic epic was shaped and colored by the Poles, out of proportion to their mere numbers and geographic importance. In turn, the Polish struggle for independence was inspired for a century and more by the support of the French and the brief flowering of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. The Polish National Anthem, Dabrowski's Mazurka (available for your enjoyment in this issue's "NWC Songbook"), unabashedly honors Bonaparte by name.
My own appreciation of Poland and the Poles was enhanced by my 2001 voyage to the battlefields of the Ukra, Pultusk, Golymin, Hof, and Heilsberg (with a detour to the WW II Wolfsschanze). At every turn, whether conversing with hitch-hikers or shopping for groceries and maps, I met friendliness and joie de vivre. There was surprising beauty in the land, as well, notably among the Masurian Lakes and on the sparkling white-sand beaches of Eastern Pommerania. With the favorable exchange rate of Western currencies relative to the Polish zloty, one can stick to a budget and still enjoy an unlimited supply of savory sausages. Poland as a tourist destination? You bet!
Przejdziem Wisle, przejdziem Warte,
Dal nam przyklad Bonaparte,
Jak zwyciezac mamy!
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