Poland (2021)

Zabrze, Ruda Śląska and Halemba

In contrast to Sunday, Monday was a rather leisurely day without any major sights. The goal of the day was only to drive to the cemeteries with the graves of Nathalie’s grandparents, to go shopping in Katowice, to look for a football shirt for Nathalie’s father and to go to the hairdresser to cut my hair. Since Monday was also Uncle Darek’s birthday, we ate cake early (before he went to work) and didn’t leave until noon.

Our first stop was in Zabrze. We drove to the cemetery where Nathalie’s maternal grandfather is lying. Nathalie bought candles with LEDs to put them back on the grave. Even if Nathalie spoke in Polish with the seller at the entrance to the cemetery, he quickly revealed her to be German due to the accent and proudly reported to her that his sister also lives in Germany and that he visits her frequently. Not far away and already visible from the cemetery is the football stadium of Górnik Zabrze. We walked there (strangely, you can’t drive there directly from the cemetery, as there is a small beaten path towards the end) and checked out the fan shop. It wasn’t that big, which is due to the fact that the stadium is still quite new. But we went to the store for a special reason, because Lukas Podolski had been playing for Zabrze since a few weeks because this is his home town. He had previously played for FC Köln and FC Bayern and was part of the German National Team. There was a big celebration for this move back home and Nathalie’s father wanted a jersey from Podolski, now that he is playing in Zabrze. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the only one with that idea. The saleswoman at the checkout was annoyed by the many inquiries about this jersey and said that one could not be flocked for us until Wednesday at the earliest. But since we wanted to go back on Tuesday, this was already too late.

Since we were already here, on the same street where we did ancestral research in 2018 (my grandmother lived here until the 1940s), we went to the St. Joseph’s Church. The church was closed on our last visit, but this time we were able to enter. We only noticed now that it was built in the Bauhaus style – which is again a strange coincidence, considering our current activities. Inside, and you won’t believe it because you only see bricks from the outside, the church looks really stunning. This is primarily due to the colorful window pictures, which shine with strong colors into the otherwise rather dreary interior of the church and thus create a nice contrast. After the church visit we went back to the car and drove on.

In Ruda Śląska we first visited the grave of Nathalie’s grandmother, grandpa and uncle on her father’s side, which is located in the Halemba district. Then we drove to the center of the district where Nathalie’s grandma used to live. We went there because Nathalie knows a good hairdressing salon here, where she has been a lot. Unfortunately, this was already closed, which is why we continued to look around there. After a short while we found another salon which was still open. This was already filled with a few guests, but we got an immediate appointment. My hairdresser had also remarked that I had apparently not been to a hairdressing salon for a long time. In itself she was right about that, because at the moment I usually ask Nathalie to cut my hair and I have certainly not been in a hairdressing salon for over 15 years. We later found out that the hairdresser was the wife of a friend of Nathalie’s father’s. The world is small 😉

On the way back we made a little detour to the Silesia shopping mall in Katowice to go shopping. Here we looked at various shops, especially bookshops. We looked for a very specific franchise, namely “The Witcher”, or as it is actually called in the Polish original: “Wiedźmin”. Nathalie always wanted to read Polish novels and which series would be best suited than the one about a hit RPG game series? Especially since this game actually comes from Poland, just like its novel, which is also based on Polish myths and legends. It is not always easy to get hold of the original Polish books in Germany or even to get them in a whole collection. But there we got one of the first novels in the series, so that Nathalie can start reading the series.

In the early evening we went back to Zabrze. Uncle Darek showed us his DVD and Bluray collection that morning. It has to be said that especially older movies rarely have a Polish audio track and are often only subtitled or translated with a narrator who simply speaks over the original audio track. Since some of the DVDs and Bluerays also came from Scotland, they were often in English and rarely with a German dub. For the evening we decided to watch the film “Gattaca” because of its interesting socio-critical plot in relation to genetic manipulation.

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