The first semester examinations that year were hectic. After my last paper, I decided to travel to Poland for two weeks. Before booking my flight, I had to call my friend Ozele if he would be ready to provide accommodation for me. He willingly accepted without hesitation. Two hours before my flight, I was already at the Fiumicino Airport Rome. I checked my luggage and got my boarding pass at the check-in counter.
In less than 3hrs, the plane touched down at Chopin Airport. Ozele was already at the entrance of the airport waiting for me. We greeted each other warmly and drove to his house. The next day during breakfast, I asked him if the bread we were eating was imported. I said, “No. It is a product of Poland here in Radom.” I was surprised. I never expected to see such quality of bread in Poland. The bread was soft, moist, well baked and tangy. So far, that was the best bread I had tasted in my life. Looking at me, he said, “Poland is the best bread producer in the world.” I laughed and continued eating, knowing full well that it was not true. In all the stories I had heard and read from books about Poland, I was only captivated by the devastating effects of war (World War II) to the country. I was expecting to see some remnants of war items along the streets, dark soil or sand, burnt houses at the periphery of the town, and poor infrastructure just like my first visit to the Republic Democratic of Congo. But it was the contrary.
The weather was harsh and I had not bargained for such a dramatic change. Deciding to brave the weather, I put on two winter jackets and went out with Ozele. Radom, a small city found in the east-central part of Poland, is a sprawling city, with many historical places and archaeological monuments like the Cathedral of Virgin Mary, St. Wenceslaus Church, Bernadine Church and Monastery, etc. The city was filled with straight streets that could enable one to find his or her easily. The environment was clean. I liked the city for its lively atmosphere, especially at night. Our means of transportation was with public buses. They were comfortable just like in Rome. But the only difference was that in Radom, you don’t have to worry about traffic jams. They were no street crime where one has to be conscious in public buses and looked out for pickpockets.
I was opportune attend my first Sunday Mass at St. Wenceslaus Church. A church that was built in the 13th century with wood, in a place which was initially called “The Radom’s Old Town Square.” Its restoration was made in the 1970s. This Church was like a single-nave building. But now, with its gable roof and a neo-gothic turret with a steeple, stained glass windows with religious and patriotic images, and a groin vault on the nave had given the church a new look. All thanks to the designing works of Prof. Zin for the interior decoration of the church.
The Jacek Malczewski Museum was another interesting place we visited. An edifice founded in 1983 with four mighty pillars in front of its entrance. All historic items there were perfectly in place with descriptions that were clear to understand. Historical objects like weapons that were used in the World War could be found also. Its fine arts collections were really something to write home about. I really fell in love with most of the paintings.
There were a few places in Radom were one could find tasty local food at a cheaper price. Although, some restaurants that were closed to archaeological places were overpriced. It was really a dream come true for me, for I least expected what I saw at Radom, in Poland.