In and around Poland

An expat opinion: The Opening Line. With the mercury hitting minus 25 outside my Warsaw apartment, what was it that made me think of the Canberra bushland I’d left behind?

Visiting the Heart of Darkness: Hitler’s Bunker, Wolf’s Lair

Wolf’s Lair. Where Hitler spent most of the war, and was most nearly assassinated. Jay Martin visits – and finds a virtually unknown WWII tourist matched by few.

The President is dead

 Jay Martin gives her personal take on the tragic  events that robbed Poland of its president and many members of its political, military and intellectual elite.

Should you visit Auschwitz?

Jay Martin offers a very personal perspective.

Rex Hunt’s Translation Adventures

Want to see a grown Polish translator cry? If anyone can do it…. Rex Hunt can!

Warsaw’s Finnish houses

Jay Martin takes us on a walk through a little known corner of Warsaw – uncovering a few stories – and dispelling a few myths – along the way.

Visiting the Neighbours – Belarus

Jay Martin heads east of the border to check out the charms of Minsk and Brest.

Close encounters of the rural Polish kind

Jay Martin travels to a remote corner of Poland in search of flying saucers and adventure…

Things long buried

Not even I could believe what I found. In this cemetery, on the wrong side of the river.



Playing Poland – Hot Music from Down Under: Jay Martin talks to Max Harman, the grrrrl behind vocals and keys for Aussie indie/punk band The On Fires about how playing Poland changed her music, her band and her life.

Of reapers grim and not-so-grim: As Halloween rolls around again, Jay Martin discovers the wackier side of Poland – a chapel of skulls in the south, and the ancient (but dying) art of grass cutting in the north.

Visiting the Canals of Elblag. Jay Martin – reluctantly – takes a trip to Elbag. Where there are both canal boats and perspective to be found.

Is that a Very Big Jesus or are you just pleased to see me?

Swiebodzin, Poland, is now the official home of the World’s Biggest Jesus. Of course I drove five hours to be at the opening. Too many trips to the Big Pineapple as a kid, I think.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream  

Midsummer’s night has been celebrated all over Europe for millennia – with bonfires, dancing, singing and farewelling the setting sun. Jay Martin ventures to Lithuania to see what it’s all about.

My Chome Amonk ze goom treez. Jay Martin joins a Polish tour group… crossing the Sahara desert 


Wolsztyn – Full Steam Ahead!

In April 2011, Wolsztyn will host the nineteenth annual Steam Train Parade. Jay Martin pays an advance visit – and discovers why one Polish town attracts steam train enthusiasts all year round.


Losing my virginity  Jay Martin make a few confessions… including that this expat spouse gig wasn’t quite what she imagined….


On the Polish Pilgrimage Trail

Around 5 million people every year make the pilgrimage to Częstochowa to see the Black Madonna. For 2010, make that 5 million plus one curious Australian.

A tale of two cemeteries

The first of November marks All Saints’ Day, when people all over Europe remember those who’ve passed on. But Jay Martin finds that Warsaw’s cemeteries have stories to tell all year.

Bukovina: What the guidebook doesn’t tell you 

Jay Martin visits Bukovina, Romania – famous as the home of the unique “Painted Monasteries” – and finds a region with much more than its most famous attraction to offer a peace-seeking visitor.

If only they could talk.

The former Communist Party headquarters is now a Ferrari dealer, but Soviet era cars still putter about Warsaw’s streets as if nothing’s changed. Warsaw’s Motoring Museum’s Patryk Mikiciuk shares a few of their secrets. 

Poland from the sofa. Jay Martin suggests three must reads and two must sees for anyone wanting to get a handle on this country.



In search of something Ukrainian…

“I just want something more… Ukrainian,” my friend Hilary whined. But after all, we were in the Ukraine. How much more Ukrainian does it get?

So long and thanks for all the sour cream. All good things… as they say….


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