As the Irishman said when asked the way; “well I wouldn’t start from here”. But in 1999, as a psychologist with a law degree, I was in Dublin with my partner attending a conference run by the European Association of Law and Psychology (EALP). And a great time was had by all!
I couldn’t speak any Polish apart from hello, yes, no, and how much, and thank you (which I realise sounds like stag night vocabulary) but I counted on my Ukrainian and Russian-speaking partner being able to navigate our way if we met people who didn’t speak English. There were very few but older people in cafes and shops sometimes chose not to understand us until we attempted Polish.
Anyway the conferences was great, the people friendly, the beer and vodka excellent (I’d been in training in Ukraine for the drinking) and there were some beautiful buildings in the Old Town, a World Heritage site, apart from Wawel Castle and the town square. Krakow as a settlement goes back to the stone age and was capital of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1569-1596 when it moved to Warsaw. It is now the second largest city in Poland.
At the end of the conference they announced that the next one would be held in Lithuania, a Baltic country which the organisers said had much to offer. We had enjoyed ourselves so much (and obviously learned a lot from the conference – did I mention that?) and although we knew nothing about the country we decided to attend the 2005 conference in Lithuania.
So we went to Lithuania. It was in July and it was raining – like being back in England! But it was quite a welcoming place with a lot of cafes and bars to shelter in.
And so it began. An ongoing affair with a small Baltic country with a unique language, lovely people, great beer (and the vodka’s not bad either) some interesting customs, and wonderful architecture. I could go on, and I will in this blog!