We started the afternoon by playing while sitting in a circle to get to know each other a little better. After a couple of games and lots of jokes made by combining our languages (Turkish, Bulgarian and Spanish) with English and Polish, a PowerPoint presentation begins. Yes, I know – it sounds very boring… but before anyone could complain, our guide Magda Madej invited us to go outside to show us what they have prepared. And suddenly, it was the time to dance. We were explained in great detail what the dance consists of. At this point, I have to stop and say something: although some of you may think that I have some rhythm because I am Spanish, I have to confess that it is not like that. My dances are based on a series of movements that, with some luck, are matched with the music that is playing. Anyway, let’s continue. Once we have our partners, we arrange ourselves in a circle. Then, Magda explains how to do the dance called Belgijka:

  • 4 steps forward;
  • 4 steps backwards;
  • 4 steps back;
  • 4 steps backwards;
  • Jump in, jump out;
  • Change place with your partner;
  • Jump in, jump out;
  • Change the partners while continuing to move forward and back from the beginning.

Sounds pretty simple, right? And it sure is – until the pace rises and you forget a step, and the person in front of you gets in your way. Even then, I will not deny it, it was incredibly fun!

After a small break, we were ready to play the second game. To explain the “Lany Poniedzialek”, which consists of wetting people with anything that could be filled with water, be it a pistol or a bucket, they prepared a game. We arranged in pairs to try to pass the water balloons without breaking them or tearing them apart. Obviously, some of the balloons did end up torn. In addition to that, I ended up wet from my feet to the head.

Afterwards, we came back indoors because it was getting dark. After some interesting information about the history and culture of Poland and amazing and tasty images of polish food (sorry, Polish food is my weakness), we went up to the Winter Gardens to prepare sałatka jarzynowa. Fun Fact: in Spain, we also have this dish, and it appears that it is very common in Turkey as well, as another Erasmus student told me. However, it has a different name – we call it “ensaladilla rusa”, which means “small salad of Russia”. That is curious because the Russian dish is made with śmietana and not with mayonnaise like in Poland, Spain or Turkey. As other ingredients we use olives – Spanish ones, of course. And definitely not apple, although each Polish family does the salad in their own way… I think it will take me a long time to try all of them!

It is very difficult to choose the best moment from that entire day. The food, the dances, getting completely wet, the jokes… I think that the good sense of humor, the patience and the desire to teach the traditions are the best part of the day. Maybe it’s a bit of envy speaking, but I admit that I would like the people of Spain to be just as proud of what we have. Either way, it was a super fun and productive day!

Rodrigo Martínez-del Rey Delgado