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Will I have any 'Issues' visiting Poland (Bialystok, Lublin, Biala Podlaska & Warsaw)?


Quincy95 1 | 2
6 Jun 2014  #1
Hey, this is my first post on this forum, firstly I will give you some background, In short...

I am 18 years old, from the UK, and grew up in an area of London with strong Polish connections (Polish fighter Pilots settled here after WW2 as they were based at an army base near my home). Streets are littered with Polish Delicatessens and many of the students I went to school with were Polish (or Lithuanian). I was adopted at birth and I've known for a long time, as my parents are white and I am Mixed Race (1/2 White, 1/4 African 1/4 Hawaiian). I recently found out that my biological mother was Polish and it has got me interested more so in Polish culture and I am planning on visiting Eastern Poland, the area I am told my biological mother came from. However, I have concerns that my skin colour could cause me a few problems in the more 'rural' areas I may be visiting. When I told my friend who is Polish, she was not too sure about my plans. She recommended I stick to Warsaw and even suggested I try Wroclaw or Krakow for a more 'Polish' feel to my visit. If you live in Poland, preferably a more 'rural' area of Poland, could you educate me as to whether my worries are legitimate or Ignorant?

Furthermore, my friend also warned me that my sexuality may best be kept a secret should I decide to visit Poland's rural regions. I am not effeminate or noticeably gay, so I have no worries that anybody could have my sexuality sussed without me telling them. It's just that, I hope to visit Poland on a more regular basis and possibly trace my biological mother (or other family members) with the help of my parents. Should I be aware that, given her background growing up in a rural area of Eastern Poland, she and my family may shun my sexuality should I eventually have the fortune to spend a significant amount of time getting to know them? My mum has suggested to me before that my biological mother gave me up for adoption under duress, that her family didn't approve of her age (17 at the time) and the fact my father was a.) Not Polish and b.) Not White... Is it likely that was the case? Remembering this was 1995.

I would just like to reiterate, my question is about the possibility of my race/sexuality effecting my ability to visit Poland and immerse myself in Polish culture!

Thanks for taking the time to reply, and sorry if my post causes any offence, I can't deny the fact I am Ignorant on this subject.

Quincy
Monitor 14 | 1,821
6 Jun 2014  #2
her family didn't approve of her age (17 at the time) and the fact my father was a.) Not Polish and b.) Not White... Is it likely that was the case?

That is possible.

I think that as a tourist you will most likely be OK, except of stares in villages. Poland is not a dangerous country. Just don't hang around too much near commiblocks. I would discourage darker skin color people to come and live in Poland, but as a tourist it doesn't matter.

Read "Stay save" chapter here:
wikitravel.org/en/Poland
Roger5 1 | 1,458
6 Jun 2014  #3
Quincy. You would no doubt be stared at by people in rural areas. This is still a very pink country, and even in the cities people with different skin colours are rare in the east. In Białystok there are a few black medical students. Unfortunately, Białystok has earned itself a bad reputation for racist hooliganism. There is a small but dangerous group which is extremely intolerant. If I were you, I'd come with a friend, preferably female.

As for being gay, times and attitudes are changing, but it is a conservative country and Gay Pride Białystok is some years in the future. As you say, nobody can tell unless you tell them. Your biological mother may shun you, but that could happen anywhere, couldn't it?

When are you thinking of coming? If it's during the academic year, I might be able to hook you up with some uni students.
OP Quincy95 1 | 2
6 Jun 2014  #4
Thanks for the reply, Roger

I had heard that Bialystok is probably a place for me to avoid, but I am quite stubborn and I really want to see where my biological mother and her family come from. So, I still plan on visiting, albeit taking a few more precautions.

I am planning on coming in September, it works as my University course doesn't start until October and flights etc. are cheaper in September than August or July.

Thanks for the help,
Quincy
Roger5 1 | 1,458
6 Jun 2014  #5
I am planning on coming in September

Keep in touch via this site and I'd be glad to help if I can.
OP Quincy95 1 | 2
6 Jun 2014  #6
Thanks, man.. I'll be sure to!
Johnmaynard - | 19
7 Jun 2014  #7
It's incredible that a person because of different skin color still has to take "precautions" to visit a country in UE!
Harry
7 Jun 2014  #8
It's not incredible at all. Try visiting certain areas of major cities in the UK if your 'face doesn't fit'.
jon357 63 | 14,110
7 Jun 2014  #9
I had heard that Bialystok is probably a place for me to avoid, but I am quite stubborn

Bialystok's fine. Just take the normal precautions that you'd take in any town anywhere like not visiting chavvy nightclubs etc.


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