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How Do Poles Spend Their Free Time And Vacation?

Do you want to understand the Polish mentality, especially when on vacation? Here’s the portrait of the “typical” Poles after hours. (Hey, to you, all Polish people. Don’t take it too seriously).

Summer, vacation, or any holiday are very special times in Poland. We, Poles, literally go crazy about our favorite outside activities. Also, we have our own habits that we laugh at ourselves.

1. We Barbecue (The Polish Style)

Polish people barbecue literally everywhere: in a forest, in a park, or even on their tiny balcony on the 6th floor. Barbecue equipment may be from a portable charcoal grill to a fancy fire pit station. Every relatively sunny weekend (especially the long ones), the aroma of sizzling Polish kiełbasa wafts over gardens in all Polish residential neighborhoods.

Essential barbecue components are the aforementioned kiełbasa (typically Polish-style sausage, the only right choice), optionally fatty pork neck, along with cold beer (the number of units per head definitely exceeds the sausage count), and fire starter — its scent often wafts most strongly.  

And to leave no doubts — we ourselves have a soft spot for grilled kiełbasa, we love to barbecue, and most often, this is how we celebrate all occasions. Nothing bonds a team like the enticing flavor of a fire starter washed down with cold beer!

2. We Mow The Lawn. Three Times A Week.

Oh yes, the lawnmowers first appear around the famous Majówka (long May weekend). The most impatient lawn owners release their roaring machines even in April. The timing of the first mowing depends on whether spring is warm or not, but mowing for Majówka is a must.

A smooth, evenly trimmed lawn without a trace of weeds is, after all, the pride of every Pole who is the owner of their own garden. It doesn’t matter that many lawns are art for art’s sake. It’s kept clean and without a single wildflower. How fortunate that the trend of wild meadows has entered the Polish cities!

On a free day, from early morning, only one recurring sound can be heard: the neighbor’s lawnmower, mostly gas-powered. Around late afternoon, this sound subsides and gives way to the sizzle of kiełbasa on the grill. But you must admit, the taste of cold beer and a warm sausage is exceptionally delicious after the effort of mowing the lawn in the entire garden.

3. We Head To the Polish Seaside…

As soon as the school year ends in late June, most Polish families pack their car with inflatable arm bands, kiddie pools, strawberry-shaped floats, a portable grill, and their favorite kiełbasa.

On the beaches of the most popular sea resorts, everyone checks in precisely at the same time, claiming their piece of sand. Kołobrzeg, Międzyzdroje, Świnoujście, and Łeba are packed with people.

And here comes the most typical Polish seaside equipment: the beach screen. It’s a metaphor for privacy, “my piece of land,” an extension of the tall fence we have around our gardens. And behind the screen it seems like home:  there’s a cold beer, sandwiches brought from home, Polish kiełbasa. Only lawn mowing must be postponed for 2 weeks…

4. …Or To Croatian Coastline

The Croatian coastline is one of the most popular foreign destinations where Poles spend their vacations. Despite rising prices and constant complaints about it, we cannot imagine summer without going to Croatia. 

The weather is more reliable than in Poland, and we can easily get there by car (once we hit the Austrian highway, we can make it in 10 hours). That turquoise water is just heaven, and we already have our favorite host that welcomes us every year.

Going by car, we can bring our own food (those rising prices, you know…). But the good thing is we don’t need to bring your own grill, because, in Croatia, every cottage already has a proper, built-in one. 

And it’s become a tradition already that after coming back, we complain about the prices and promise ourselves going somewhere else next year. Maybe Italy? Prices in Euros are already the same…

5. We Sunbath To a Crisp

The trend for a tanned body continues. Despite the fading popularity of artificial tanning, a golden tan in the summer still signifies vacation and relaxation. Of course, a tan without embarrassing short-sleeve marks (work doesn’t count) or sunglass imprints is what matters.

We apply sunscreen, we’re aware of the dangers of UV rays, and we know to avoid the sun during peak hours, but say what you will: a tanned, golden body always evokes a hint of envy and admiration. Because that seaside tan indeed has a different, more golden hue.

6. We Complain About The Weather

Polish summer can be beautiful. It can also be unpredictable, and cold, and pour rain for two weeks incessantly. Especially when those two weeks were precisely planned for a seaside getaway (yeah, that’s the Polish climate).

Whether it’s rain, wind, or sun, a Pole complains about the weather as often as we do about taxes and the government, the neighbor who mows their lawn too often, and the job they’ll have to return to soon.

Well, even if the vacation ends, there’s always the garden, lawnmower, and grill. At home, at least it’s cheaper than in Croatia (and at the Polish seaside too…).

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