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Strictly come Gdansk-ing

Our very short visit took in what are known as The Three Cities. Strung along the Baltic coastline, these are Gdynia, where we stayed, Sopot, which is a very popular resort, and the biggest, Gdansk.

Together they offer virtually everything that an event organiser could desire. Boguslaw Becla, happy to be called ‘Bogdan’, accompanied us. He is the Director of the Polish Tourist Office in London and he never missed an opportunity to point out the injustice of calling Poland ‘Eastern Europe’. He maintains: ‘Poland is so central, it has suffered from it through history. All the major European powers have seen Poland as a vitally strategic position central to Europe.’

The region of North Poland is very cosmopolitan and so event organisers should not be put off by those tricky Polish names and spellings. English is widely spoken and it is not a problem for delegates to stop passers-by to ask for assistance. Not only is it highly likely that they will speak good English, but almost as likely they have actually had work experience in England.

Poles have flocked to the UK, of course, and it is understandable when one learns that a teacher in Poland earns around £6,000 a year. But it is also obvious that they are very happy to return to their roots. They are fiercely proud and go out of their way to make visitors feel welcome. And, as we discovered as a group, they are only too pleased to toast that welcome in Polish vodka around a table groaning under the weight of plentiful, good food.

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