It has been a while since my last post on my blog! But to be honest the past two months have been the busiest months of my whole life! I’m really sorry that I haven’t written in a while but here I am!
If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you might know a little bit of why I’ve been so busy… if you don’t follow me, well, that makes me sad :P
First things first! I finally got married with Karolina! Now I have a Polish wife and I couldn’t be happier! Fasten your seatbelt because it will be an interesting post!
Mexicans Invaded Poland
Probably it was the first time that so many Mexicans gathered at Warsaw Chopin Airport at the same time. On June 16th, my Mexican family arrived to Poland.
They came in two groups: the first one was of six people (my grandma was there) and their route was Mexico City – Toronto – Paris – Warsaw. The second group (my parents and brother were there) were nine people and their route was Mexico City – Amsterdam – Warsaw.
For many of my relatives it was their first time in Europe or even in any other country than Mexico, so it was definitely the trip of their lives. But as they were not that experienced in travelling to a different continent, I was so stressed and worried that they would miss a flight and everything would fall into a complete chaos! Fortunately, they arrived on time (one group almost missed their last flight) to all the airports and they got safely to Warsaw.
When the gates were opened
Karolina and I were waiting at the airport thirty minutes before the scheduled arrival, we preferred to be earlier than later. I was starring at the screen the whole time seeing if there was an update if the flight had finally landed. Minutes passed, and finally the screen showed that the group from Amsterdam had arrived!
I was so excited, it was almost 6 months since the last time I had seen my parents! I was looking at my watch every three seconds and they weren’t coming out! I was stressed and thinking: “OMG I’m pretty sure something happened to them, probably they brought some Mexicans spices, and the police detected them, and now they are interrogating them…”, well you know, I’m Mexican, I tend to overreact.
Thirty minutes later I finally saw a familiar face, it was my cousin’s, and five seconds later I finally saw my parents! I almost jumped the security bar to hug them! We hugged a lot! We kissed each other! It was awesome! My mom, my dad, my brother and the rest of my family were finally in Warsaw!
I was so happy, I couldn’t believe it! One year ago they were wondering if they would be able to travel to Poland, because, well, it’s not cheap… but they put a lot of effort, they saved a lot of money and they could accomplish our dream!
Twenty minutes later, the second group arrived, including my Mexican Babcia. She is 83 years old, but she was always confident that she would make this trip!
When we said hello, hugged each other, etc. it was time to leave the airport… as you can imagine, the amount of luggage my family had was completely insane! It looked like an expedition to conquer a new land.
How We Moved Around The City
One year ago when we were planning the trip we thought that one of the options would be to use public transportation, but that didn’t make a lot of sense because we would have to spend a lot on buses, trams, trains, etc. to move around Poland.
At the end we decided that the best was to rent two mini-vans (nine seats each) and it would be enough. We checked a few offers and we found a pretty good deal in Hertz. We rented the mini-van for two weeks, and in total, the cost per person per day was around 35 PLN (8.10 euros). Not bad right?
Well, know that you are familiarised of how we moved around Poland let’s continue with my story…
Getting Out Of The Airport
As I mentioned, the amount of luggage my family had was insane! Even though we had two mini-vans we were worried if everything would fit, after trying for several times we managed to put all the luggage inside.
The drivers were my brother and me, it was our first time driving a vehicle of that size! They were huge, I felt like I was driving a war tank. We went out of the airport and were in our way to the city center.
Where We Stayed in Warsaw?
As we were on a low budget trip, we were looking for the best offers since several months ago. It was almost impossible to find a single flat that could fit 15 people. So in each of the cities we rented a few different flats, for example in Warsaw we had two flats, and some of my cousins slept at my apartment.
Again, if you book in advance you could get pretty sweet deals! We rented everything through booking.com.
First Day in The Polish Capital
My family spent their first night in Warsaw, surprisingly almost none of them got jet-lag, so since early that morning they were ready to explore the city!
The first stop was a mandatory place to visit in Warsaw: Łazienki Park. We took both mini-vans, parked close to the park and we went out. At first I was feeling like a tourist guide, you know – translating, explaining and taking care of everything…. It was exhausting!
My family loved the first stop, they walked around the palace, they took a lot of photos in front of the lake, and some of them bought their first Polish dessert, the delicious gofry! When we were in the park, a few more members of my family arrived, so now we were a total of 21 Mexicans (including me).
As you can imagine, walking around with twenty people is not fast at all, it took us like fifteen minutes to walk just 100 meters, many of them stopped to take pictures and so on.
When they got tired after walking around the whole park we went to eat to one of the best restaurants for me in the city: Chmielarnia. It’s a Nepalese cuisine restaurant that is extremely delicious!
We made reservations in advance (actually it was the only restaurant where we made a reservation) just to avoid surprises of not finding free spots. We entered to the restaurant, and I was like a teacher counting heads of my children to see if I didn’t loose any Mexican on the way.
And here started my first big problem of the trip: order food for 20 people that didn’t speak a single word in Polish.
The restaurant had menus in English, some of my family don’t speak English so it was an issue, also the waitress didn’t speak English (maybe she did, but she was a little bit scared). So imagine this scene: a large table of twenty people, and me running from one side to another explaining them each dish, answering questions about food, beers and so on.
We spent like 45 minutes on deciding what to order, and 10 more minutes on me translating everything into Polish… It was crazy! The food arrived, we ate delicious food and it we were ready to continue our journey. The staff was awesome, so we gave them a nice tip.
After the restaurant, I decided to take them to the city center, we walked through Świętokrzyska street (my family couldn’t pronounced it) till we arrived to the Palace of Culture. The weather was awesome, so it was the perfect time to take a few pictures of the skyscrapers and the city center, my family was already falling in love with the city.
After this, some of us were tired, and the next day was the wedding, so we had to rest a lot! We went back to the flats but the day was not over… my family had to cook a Mexican dish for the wedding called: Chilaquiles. If there were no chilaquiles in a wedding, was there even a wedding?
I went to sleep like at 2am, but some went to sleep even later! But anyways, in less than 24 hours my single life was over!
The Big Day Had Come
Years ago, when I wrote one of my most popular posts on my blog called: Why you should marry a Polish girl?, many people told me: “You are not even married yet, so your opinion doesn’t count…”. Well guess what, I’m married now, and with a Polish girl. But let me tell you how it went.
On the 19th of June at the morning, I had to wake up around 6:30am because I had to take my dog ‘Tamal’ to a different city (Karolina didn’t let me to take him to the wedding). I went to deliver Tamal with my best-man (and best friend) Miguel Angel. When we were coming back to Warsaw it started to rain… I was sad because we didn’t consider this scenario for our wedding day, which meant that if it continued raining we had to change a lot of things!
Then we went to the barber, and then to pick up my family. The ceremony was planned to start at 4:30pm, on June 19th, close to Warsaw, in a town called Otrębusy. I didn’t take any chances and I took my Mexicans at 1pm to the venue (we are super unpunctual). The hotel and party were at the same place, so this made things easier.
Karolina was in her natal city, Łódź, since one day before, so when I arrived to the hotel there were many pending things! I took my best-man so he could help me with everything. The weather changed completely and it was extremely hot… I was nervous, full with stress I was sweating like crazy.
I was running from one place to another fixing the last details so everything would be perfect. We finished everything at 3:30pm, I had only one hour to be at the altar. I took a shower with cold water, but his didn’t help… my stress level was through the roof! I was sweating, I couldn’t put my tuxedo because it was too hot, also that flower that the groom pinned to my jacket didn’t want to stay there… the anxiety was killing me slowly!
My mother almost slapped me to calm me down, moms will be moms. When I finally got more relaxed I was ready to go to the church.
We went out of the hotel, and three beautiful Maluchy were waiting for us. For our wedding we decided to have my favorite car in the world! The most iconic Polish car: Polski Fiat 126p, also known as Maluch. We had 3 cars in green, white and red, representing the colours of the Mexican flag, and of course the Polish one as well. It was a nice way to show the mix of both cultures in our wedding.
My mom and I entered to the green Maluch, it was my first time driving that car… honestly speaking it looked way easier. We arrived to the church and the guests were already waiting for us. We went out of the Maluch, then my best-men (I had two best-men: Miguel from Mexico and Percy from Peru), and the maids of honour arrived.
I entered first to the church with my mom, then our best-men and maids of honour, then my dad and Karolina’s mom, and then the main event of the day: Karolina entered with her dad. She was wearing the most beautiful dress and I had no words to describe it. It was just like I dreamed it!
Her dad gave me the hand of Karolina and the ceremony started. It’s important to mention that all the ceremony was in Polish, so my family and foreign friends had no idea about what was going on, it was quite funny because the priest even made a few jokes about them being so lost.
The ceremony continued, and the priest asked us to approach the altar, it was time to say our marriage vows, yes my friends, everything was in Polish! It was like a crazy tongue-twister, if you don’t believe me check it now:
“Ja (groom’s name) biorę Ciebie (bride’s name) za żonę i ślubuję Ci miłość, wierność i uczciwość małżeńską oraz to, że Cię nie opuszczę aż do śmierci. Tak mi dopomóż Panie Boże Wszechmogący w Trójcy Jedyny i Wszyscy Święci.”
Quite difficult right? But I guess I managed to do it.
After 45 minutes, Karolina and I were officially married! We went out of the church, we and our best-men and maids of honour went into the Maluchy, and we drove to the venue. It was more or less 300 meters away from the church so the guests didn’t have to walk a lot.
The party was in Pałacyk Otrębusy, we arrived and it was awesome! For us, the best night of our lives! Honestly speaking, it was more a Mexican wedding than a Polish wedding. We had a food-truck of authentic tacos, piñata, mariachi and Mexican music! I believe all of the Polish guests enjoyed it a lot because it was completely different, new experiences for them!
We had guests from different countries: Mexico, Poland, Spain, Argentina, Russia, Ukraine, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, India, the Netherlands, USA, Bolivia, Russia, Bulgaria, Syria, and I think that’s all. For sure, it was a super multicultural party!
The party lasted for hours, and it was incredible! I could tell you more about our wedding but I will leave it for a different post, as I would have to write many pages about it, and I don’t want to lose track on the main idea of this one.
Next Day After the Wedding
Next morning was the worst, we didn’t sleep at all, most of my friends had hangover, and we were extremely tired, so the only thing we did that day was come back to our flats and sleep for the rest of the day.
Łódź – Our First Stop on the Trip
Two days after the wedding it was time to start our trip. We went to the city of Karolina, Łódź, because it was the name’s day of her mom, and name’s day in Poland it’s a pretty big deal… not sure why though.
We had a nice party, my family tried typical Polish food, including sour mushrooms, but they didn’t like them, it was too exotic for them.
The uncles of Karolina were drinking vodka with my family, those moments were priceless! Some of my aunts were asking me: “David, do they drink like this in all the parties? Or is it just because we are here?”, and I was like “yeah, they drink like this all the time”.
Next day we packed again everything and we were in our way to Prague in Czech. I know that our time in Łódź was short, but we came back later on again, so don’t worry.
When we were making the plan, my family wanted to visit other countries, as they didn’t have a lot of time we decided that Prague and Budapest would be the ideal cities to visit, considering that we were driving all the time.
Wrocław – The City of 100 Bridges
On our way to Prague, we decided to stop in one of the most beautiful cities in Poland, we stopped in Wrocław. The weather was ideal for Mexicans to explore the city, it was like 35 degrees.
We walked around the old town, there was a really cool market of food and handicrafts. My family started to buy a lot of things! We ate in a restaurant close to the old town, it took us a lot of time to find a place that could fit us all. For this trip we were a total of 17 people!
My family knew already that in Wrocław there were dwarf statues, so as soon as they got one foot in the city they started to look for them! It was funny to see my dad for example like a child asking me to take a picture with all the dwarf statues he found! In Wrocław we were just for a couple of hours, as this city was not planned to visit, but guess what? Wrocław was the favourite city for many of them!
After our stop in Wrocław we got back to our mini-vans and we headed to Prague. And I have to say this (sorry family) I don’t know why but during the whole trip, all of them wanted to go to the toilet every 20 minutes! It was crazy and annoying. Karolina and I couldn’t understand them.
We arrived to the city at 1am or so, it was a long way. Again, we stayed in 3 flats, not that far from the city center.
Prague as always is beautiful! But one of the things my family didn’t like that much is that there were so many people! But seriously, I’ve never saw Prague like this. The other day I was reading and article about over-tourism, but this is the first time I experienced it first hand. In Prague, we stayed for a couple of nights, we visited the main touristic points and then we were ready for our next city: Budapest, Hungary.
Budapest is so Beautiful it hurts!
We arrived to Budapest, and for the first time we stayed all of the 17th people in use one flat! That flat was insane! Extremely beautiful and cheap! We got a good deal. None of my relatives had visited Budapest before, so it was fantastic!
I went to Budapest a couple of years back and I loved it. And now that I was back, I loved it again! Probably if I wouldn’t love Warsaw that much, I would move to Budapest without thinking! It’s an extraordinary city!
In Budapest, we took a tour in a bus and in a boat, we visited one of the oldest restaurant of the city and we ate a traditional dish called: gulash. It was delicious!
I loved Prague and Budapest, but I will jump into the Polish cities now, as my blog is about Poland.
Polish Mountains Baby!
The road from Budapest to Zakopane is long, but really long! So if you are thinking this route better be prepared, the view is beautiful, but on the road in Slovakia in the middle of the mountains, there is absolutely nothing!
Some people wanted to go to the toilet (not surprising), and we couldn’t find anything, after one hour or so, we stopped at a random bar in the middle of nowhere in Slovakia. The guys that were drinking there in a local bar probably had never seen so many Mexicans there, they were gossiping about us, but they were really nice! They let us use the toilet for only 10 euros in total.
We finally arrived to Zakopane, we stayed in a beautiful wooden house that fit the 17 of us! It was really a charming place. I took them to Krupówki street, the main street in Zakopane.
When we were walking there we stopped in a Polish restaurant. We ordered a lot of typical Polish food which was delicious. I ate so much that I couldn’t move! During that day we only visited the city center and that’s it because next day one big adventure was waiting for us.
Morskie Oko – The Eye of the Sea
Next morning, some people were saying: “You know David, I’d rather stay here and rest”, but I was like: “Are you crazy? You travelled from so far and you are just going to stay here? Get up!”. One of these people was my grandma, of course I told her “please grandma, come on, take the wheelchair and we will take you to the top!”.
We got into the mini-vans and we drove to Palenica Białczańska (entrance to Morskie Oko), I told them in advance that they had to be prepared to walk for hours. They were ready! Each of the cousins took my grandma in the wheelchair, every 10 minutes we were changing. It was my cardio for the whole month!
After some time, we arrived to the top and my family couldn’t be happier! They fell in love with that place. We walked around and we sit four hours to have lunch and talk. We had the most beautiful landscape right in front of us!
We took a lot of pictures, and you know it’s funny in each of the family photos we look like a football team.
By the way, you can find a complete guide to Morskie Oko here.
After Morskie Oko, we came back to Zakopane and surprisingly they had a lot of energy still! I decided to took them to Gubałówka mountain, which is at the end of Krupówki street.
In our way, there were many stands selling traditional Polish cheese called: Oscypek. Which is super delicious! My family ate a lot, and some of them took a few pieces of this cheese to Mexico. We reached the top of Gubałówka, the perfect spot to appreciate the beauty of the Polish mountains. After this intensive day, we had a grill with a lot of Polish kiełbasa where we were hosted.
Niedzica – A cool Polish Castle
After Zakopane, we decided to go for a quick stop in a town called Niedzica, but why here? Well, in this city there is one of the most beautiful castles of the country. The construction of the Niedzica Castle (Zamek w Niedzicy in Polish) started in 1320. For many of my family, this was the first real castle they ever saw! They loved it! They felt for a moment like in a medieval movie.
When we were out of the castle we saw two old babcias selling Polish cheese! They were talking with us for a few minutes. Some of my family were talking in Spanish and they were replying in Polish, it was pretty funny. Of course, I had to ask to the old babcias for a photo! They accepted and of course I bought Polish cheese from them.
Kraków – We Didn’t Forget You
And of course we couldn’t forget one of the most popular cities in Poland: Kraków. My family had this city on their bucket list for a while. We were hosted closed to the Old Town, 10 minutes walking, so we had an ideal location.
Also, before going out I told my family to be aware that some people try to scam tourists in big cities like Kraków, for example by giving a ‘free rose’ or by signing a ‘NGO’ document to make a donation. Better safe than sorry. – You can check/report scams in Poland in this site Travelscams.org.
During the first day we visited the main spots of the old town, we had dinner and a couple of beers, but we went to sleep early because next day, Auschwitz was the place to visit.
I had been in Auschwitz two times, so on this occasion I didn’t want to go there. For me, it’s a place that you need to visit at least once, but I can’t handle all the emotions that I experience there so I decided to not go with my family. My family took a tour in Spanish, and when they went out, it seems that it changed them a little. There are no words to describe what you feel there.
We went back to Kraków, and we visited the rest of the city, including the Wawel castle where it is believed that a terrible dragon live once! The legend of the Wawel dragon is one of the top Polish legends, it’s probably my favourite one.
They took a lot of photos with the dragon, at the top of the castle and they were impressed by the city in general. They loved the architecture, the markets and the atmosphere that we had.
Next day, I took them to a place that it is hard to believe that it exists. This place I am talking about is one of the oldest salt mines in operations that existed in the world: Wieliczka Salt Mine.
We had like a private tour, because we were so many that there was no free spots for additional people. The guide spoke perfect Spanish, and the best part was that he was a follower of my blog! I couldn’t believe it!
The tour inside the mines was awesome! We walked a lot, even with the wheelchair of my grandma, and we visited the museum. My family loved it! Especially the Saint Kinga Chapel that is located deep inside the mine. They couldn’t believe that people could built a chapel only with salt! With no doubt, it’s a precious memory they will never forget!
Back to Łódź
When we finished exploring Kraków, and after 2 weeks of an intensive trip, it was time to come back to Łódź to say goodbye to Karolina’s family. When we arrived to Łódź, we visited the biggest shopping mall in Central Europe – Manufaktura.
They really liked the city, we didn’t have that much time to explore it but they were fascinated with what they saw!
Then, we went to Karolina’s house to say goodbye. Her parents organised a nice dinner, the grandparents of Karolina were there, me and Karolina were translating all the time, but it was awesome to see both families together, laughing, eating, and having a great time.
They said goodbye to each other and we were back to Warsaw to spend the last night of this amazing adventure.
Last Night in Warsaw
Sadly, the time had come. It was time for my family to go back to Mexico. I know sometimes during the trip I wanted to killed them because I was stressed, but honestly I didn’t want them to leave.
A few times I heard the following phrase: “Airports see more sincere kisses than wedding halls…”, and now more than ever I know it’s true. It’s hard to say goodbye to my grandma, uncles, aunts, cousins, my extraordinary parents and my brother.
They had to go back to Mexico after a few magical weeks in Poland. I will miss every single one of them, but I’m sure I’ll see them again really soon!
And this is it amigos, the adventure of my Mexicans in Poland. If you read all of this post – thank you!
I love you family! We will see each other soon!