As a native English speaker learning Polish I have to agree. However knowing how the letters should be said, and actually managing to say them is something completely different!!
Truer words were never spoken.
but it'll take maybe some ~1000 hours of study to be reasonably competent.
Probably more like 5000.
The problem with the high degree of inflection in Polish is three-fold. First of all you need to learn to understand all words no matter how they're inflected. Moreover you need to understand the grammatical implications of all the inflections, and finally you have to learn to use all the inflections appropriately yourself.
but to me (Italian) all in all Polish sounds very clear and pretty easy to reproduce.
Even "cieszę się, że się cieszysz"? ;) It's not the vowels that make Polish hard to discern (but possibly the lack thereof), it's the consonant clusters (especially when one word ends in something like ć/ś/sz and the next word starts in something similar). Also the stresses are often confusing with nouns sometimes being unstressed (e.g. Każdego
Believe me, understanding spoken English is for me much much much more difficult than Polish (and I'm sure I'm not alone in this).
I wouldn't be so sure. ;) I'm sure learning to understand spoken English compared to Polish would be infinitely easier for just about any non-Slavic speaker since words aren't declined, there are no stem changes to speak of and no complicated consonant clusters. The vowels are straightforward enough too. Of course there are different dialects, accents etc that may complicate things, but that's another matter.