Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I greatly enjoyed my return to Poland. The last time I visited was in 2008 (and the time before that perhaps in 2002). Luckily, the weather was kind and I was able to experience the busy main square in Krakow's Old Town without an umbrella ! I also got to see inside Wawel Castle, which I hadn't previously had time for. I had forgotten what excellent value Poland when it comes to food and drink prices. Astonishing, in fact.

The best part of this year's visit was spending time with two wonderful Polish friends, Marcin and Lucas. They were very kind and took me driving to a vantage point overlooking the city and on to a Benedictine abbey. Later, we went to Nova Huta, where a Communist-era conglomerate was responsible for employing everyone and built a huge city suburb for the workers. Marcin and Lucas also bought me a delicious lunch of beetroot soup with dumplings and a separate plate of fried cheese in breadcrumbs. The really good thing is that they are keen to visit New Zealand, and would consider emigrating there too.

I'm writing now from Bangkok, where I've got a two night stopover before returning home to a (currently) snow-bound Wellington. In transit at London Heathrow I had planned to collect a tax refund on a purchase from Sweden. I very quickly abandoned that idea when I saw the size of the queue. It had to be done in London, because that was my final point of departure from the EU. Well, never mind. I've done some very cheap shopping here in Bangkok and will collect a tax refund on that (shoes and t-shirts), which will make my purchases even cheaper.

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