vermillion horizon

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Poland in Chicago

As much as I love to travel, I haven't had much time to go anywhere recently. But luckily, Chicago has so many ethnic neighborhoods that I sometimes feel like I have traveled all over the world without even leaving the city.

Last weekend, I spent some time on Milwaukee Avenue near Belmont, an area with a particularly high Polish population. The street is lined with tiny markets selling kielbasa, pickled vegetables, and fresh rye bread and pastries. A handful of crowded restaurants satisfy hungry customers with hearty dishes like hunter's stew with sauerkraut and Okocim beer. Bookshops carry a selection of Polish newspapers and magazines, while travel agencies advertise cheap flights and tour packages to Warsaw.

This Polish neighborhood isn't exactly what I would call a tourist destination, but a few variety stores do sell basic souvenirs, like T-shirts, postcards, and mugs. Overall, however, the charm of the area is that it is so normal - it's just people going about their daily lives. It's like experiencing a little slice of Polish life - without getting on a plane and flying halfway around the world.

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  • Sounds great-- I'll have to check it out!

    By Blogger Huckle Cat, at 9:51 PM  

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    By Blogger Yup, at 6:14 AM  

  • Hi, horizon!

    Sounds sweet. As you know, there's fewer places in Japan for Polish people, though we held the Expo last year and had the Polish pavilion in my hometown, Aichi. That was my first "real" contact to Polish people ever. I said to Dory that they were very smart and polite. Then she replied, looking their picture I took, "He may be Russian" lol.

    I am looking for Dory's comment.

    By Blogger bun, at 6:07 PM  

  • Hi dory,
    Yes - it was so interesting! I feel like I got a little idea about what life is like in Poland. I would love to actually go there sometime!

    But no, I didn't try any of the Polish beers myself. What's the most popular?

    By Blogger v_horizon, at 8:46 PM  

  • Hi bun,
    That's a funny story! Maybe someday Dory will be able to visit Japan and you'll have more "authentic" contact with Polish people :)

    By Blogger v_horizon, at 8:55 PM  

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    By Blogger Yup, at 8:42 AM  

  • Hi Dory,
    I would definitely love to visit Poland! I wonder if it has been changing a lot since joining the EU?

    Wow, I can't believe how strong Polish spirits are! I don't really drink either, so I think if I ever tried one I would be knocked out right away :) I'd better stick with Cappy!

    By Blogger v_horizon, at 8:25 PM  

  • Hi Dory,
    Sounds great! I can't wait (^-^)

    Have a nice weekend!

    By Blogger v_horizon, at 11:08 PM  

  • Sounds very interesting.
    It is great that you can feel and experience "foreign countries" without even leaving the city.
    Just like the China town in Kobe.

    By Blogger polly, at 2:19 AM  

  • Hi Polly,
    That's right! It's an easy, convenient way to experience other cultures.

    I love Chinatown in Kobe. It's so much better than the Chinatown in Chicago!

    By Blogger v_horizon, at 10:42 AM  

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