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In your travels, you'll find that Poles are generally highly educated and cultured, with a firm grasp of their country's long and rich tradition in literature, poetry, performing arts, and film. The strong role of culture in everyday life is not surprising given the country's tragic history. For the 125 years, until 1918, that Poland ceased to exist as a country, it was this shared culture that held the people together. In modern times, it was a common cultural heritage that helped Poles weather the Nazi and Soviet occupations, and endure 40 years of Communist rule after World War II.

You'll sense, too, a strong feeling of national pride. Poles are proud of their history. They're proud of their resistance, however futile, to the Nazi invasion in 1939 and of the tragic Warsaw uprising in 1944. And they're proud of their country's leading role in ending Communism in the 1980s. Today, this pride extends to Poland's membership in the European Union. Americans are likely to feel particularly welcome. Poland's ties to the United States go back all the way to Tadeusz Kosciuszko and the Revolutionary War. Poles proudly cite Chicago as the second-biggest Polish city in the world after Warsaw (even though these days more young Poles are emigrating to Ireland and the U.K. than to the U.S.). Just about everyone has a cousin, uncle, or grandparent who lives or used to live in one of the 50 states.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.