It doesn’t matter if you travel solo or in a group, whenever you go you always meet and interact with people. Those meetings are often as important as the trip itself. Those meetings make up your trip memories, good or bad. In Poland, we often say “doesn’t matter where it matters who are you with”. Let’s enjoy a short memory trip on some of the people I met abroad, Polish included. Of course, in such a post, I can’t write about everybody I met, or spent time with, so I hope my friends, you’ll excuse me. So here are the stories about people I met in Spain, Norway, Japan, Indonesia and Czech.
I hardly remember anything from my trip to Spain around the year 2000. One of the people I vaguely remember I met in one of Barcelona’s shops. He was working there, and when we started talking, I learned that he was interested in Poland. He wanted to have a Polish banknote, as a souvenir from me. Unfortunately, I had none.
My social interaction with people around was limited; I was with my friend. But when we were speaking in Polish about Oslo while riding a bus to the museum, we met a Polish girl living in Oslo for some years already. She joined our conversation, told us a bit of her story, a bit about living in Oslo, and recommended a place to eat (where we went to). I never met her again, I don’t remember her face nor name already, but the memory of chatting in the bus still lingers.
I remember having some longer and fun conversations with the staff of the hotel when I stayed in Tokyo after arrival. I remember that on a train from Tokyo to Kamakura some passengers switched places so I could sit next to a fellow European traveller, unknown earlier to me. We talked a bit and went sightseeing together Kamakura for a bit (to the Tsurugaoka Hachimanguu) but what lingers the most is the attitude of Japanese in the train.
I remember a middle-aged man in a village near in Hyogo prefecture who gave me a car ride to the place I wanted to see. To see Genbudou you had to either cross the lake on the ferry (I came too early) or take a few km detour by car. I had just my legs. I didn’t know about the bypass; I just saw there was no ferry. I asked him for directions to the place, and despite him going to the other direction, we came back to his house, got into the car and he dropped me off where I wanted to go. That was something I won’t forget.
I met my friend’s parents. Both of them were lovely. But I remember talking a lot with my friend’s mother, who was into Takarazuka Revue (an all-female Japanese musical). Again I got interested in Takarazuka. Now, whatever happens, I’m going to see Takarazuka performance in Japan for sure.
During a year on Java, I met lots of people. I met in real life some of my online friends. Even when I was in the eateries, I met new people – either the staff or customers that started talking to me. Some of those people with whom I spoke by the table, became my close friends. When I travelled alone, a lot of people talked to me. Some took care of me during the ride (hey, Pipit!).
Indonesians are very curious, and when they see you’re not around from here (based on skin colour etc.), they’ll ask you lots of questions. Usually always the same, so the longer you live there, the more bothersome they will become. My friends told me about places to see, took me with them on their trips (hey, Nia, Mia!), and so on. As I wrote earlier, in the Solo Priority post, it’s people who make me wanna go back to Indonesia soon. As soon as possible. And I try not to remember the bad things, which happened too.
In Indonesia, I also met a Polish girl, who was into the arts. She studied in Solo, my town, but it was unrelated to any university. She had a mentor, Mr Prapto. We got to know each other through our mutual friend. She pulled me a bit into a world of art, and I’m thankful for that. My collaborations with her taught me a lot. I’ll cherish that time and memories.
I was in Opava with my friends, so interaction with Czech was insufficient. I interacted only with the hotel staff, but I remember it very fondly. Everybody was so kind and helpful. The waitress, sadly whose name I don’t know, was doting on us and brought lots of laughs and friendly atmosphere. She tirelessly answered our questions, gave out recommendations and did all of the things you’d expect from an ideal waitress. And I had the funniest Polish-Czech conversation. I was speaking in Polish, she was speaking in Czech (tho we could use English), but we understood each other. And I got from her a clay mug, as a souvenir. A precious keepsake, I have to admit.
It’s mainly thanks to her attitude, which I had such a good impression of Opava. Because let’s face it – most of the things were closed, and there was hardly anything to do on a Sunday afternoon.