You have just joined, or are about to join, the 13 million foreigners who visit Poland every year. Polish hospitality, or polska gościnność – you will hear this phrase a lot from Poles. We see ourselves as friendly, welcoming folk. Even if it is difficult to break the ice sometimes, and even if a person may seem reserved and unapproachable at first, once you do break the ice – once you join the ranks of friends and friends of friends, that is – there is no way out.
Ask any expat who has decided to settle in Poland. Even if they have initially been met with distrust and scepticism by their workmates or future in-laws, now they are part of the family, or rodzina.
Just try to be the first to leave a Polish party. No way! A country wedding reception can last up to three days. Sneaking out or leaving quietly is called ‘leaving the English way’ here. Why it is the ‘English’ way and not the ‘French’ or ‘Dutch’ way is not quite clear, but it is certainly not the Polish way. The host will grab you by the hand, suggest (or insist) that you have another slice of cake, another cup of tea or another shot of vodka, promise another round of dessert, warn you about the weather outside or suggest you stay the night. If you do decide to leave in spite of the host’s efforts, you will guarantee that he or she has a sleepless night, tossing and turning in bed, recounting the whole visit and trying to figure out what went wrong. The thought that you were jet-lagged, tired or had some more urgent business to attend to would be too simple. There must have been something that offended you.
Now that you have been warned, please allow us to encourage you to come. More than 600,000 hotel beds, not to mention over 13 million Polish homes, are waiting for you. We will do our best to make you stay longer and longer and longer and will make sure you want to come back.