and Louise left for Denver at 6 AM with probably too much baggage.
We are bringing some Kansas momentos like small stone post items,
caps, and lots of photos of the farm and Kansas.
Arrived in plenty of time for our 11:15 Delta flight to JFK
airport. Enjoyed the flight. Tried to sleep. At JFK we were
met by the Delta personnel who hustled us over to the Berlin/Warsaw
flight. Our Denver flight was late because of waiting to land.
Once on the Berlin flight we relaxed and hoped the luggage made
it. We ended up waiting awhile. It was a great flight because
we enjoyed the most interesting chat with Dr. Ilya Raskin, a
plant biotechnologist with Rutgers University. He has done research
with wheat and was familiar with triticale. We had so much in
common about agriculture.
And why in the world are the Ehmkes going to Poland? The main
reason is that we are doing business with a seed company called
Danko who have some of the best varieties of triticale particularly
suited for Kansas and the High Plains. They are represented
by Rolimpex, a trading company in Warsaw. After a summer of
faxing back and forth we decided it was important to meet these
folks with whom we are doing business. They also have rye and
wheat varieties we are interested in.
Oberc of Rolimpex met us at the airport. How did she know who
we were? She had printed our family photo off this site! Truly
remarkable to us. It was windy and stormy so we headed right
to the Sheraton Warsaw hotel. After greetings and schedule checks,
Ms. Oberc went on and we went to sleep!!!
The day was spent in naps, eat a little, naps. Then we decided
it was exercise time for mind and body. So we got directions
and walked to the US Embassy, which was fairly close. Before
leaving we did call the embassy asking for the agriculture attaché
appointment. It worked to see him right away. Unfortunately
the US Embassy is an ugly building especially when surrounding
embassies are much more attractive! We enjoyed an informative
discussion with Jim Higgenston who told us about Polish agriculture
and business. He was quite helpful.
A brisk walk back to the motel not before stopping to visit
a small grocery store where we found a Polish version of Pepsi,
lots of interesting foods we'd like to bring home. Different
pastas, breads, candies, sausages, canned fish items and vodka.
Back to bed and hope we make it up for tomorrow's journey to
the Danko breeding station for triticale and rye in Laski.
Oberc and driver picked us up. Then we drove to the home of
Dr. Tadeusz Wolski, primary triticale breeder in the Polish
program. He is now professor emeritus. We enjoyed a great visit
with him and Ms. Oberc on the way to Laski. The countryside,
in spite of a recent freeze was clear and fresh with miles and
miles of apple orchards. Such a rich agricultural area.
Dr. Wolski speaks excellent English as well as Ms. Oberc. The
other researchers we met also spoke very good English. Vance
and I felt humbled that all we can really speak is English.
We know words in other languages but not like the fluency of
the Pols. Others we met on the breeding team were Andrzej Szolkowski,
the director of Danko; Jerrek Gryka, current triticale breeder;
and Jan Bialoskorski, assistant director. The Danko team explained
to us their history and program of cereal grains development
and breeding and business. We explained our farm business, its
history and who we are. They enjoyed our photos of equipment,
family, wheat and triticale fields as well as Milo.
Jerrck took us on a tour of the facilities explaining all the
aspects very thoroughly.
We enjoyed a delicious lunch there, which featured the local
beer called Warka. The brewery was in site of the farm. I brought
a bottle home.
Talks continued about the seed industry in this country and
in Europe as well as the future of the grain industry and change.
By 5pm we were all ready for a break.
At that point we along with Andrzej and Zofia were invited to
Dr. Wolski's house for dinner back in Warsaw. The trip back
was dark as by 4 p.m. the sun was going down. But before reaching
the house, Dr. Wolski had the driver take us to Wilanow---a
lovely palace built by a former king many years ago. It was
lovely in the night lights with a park and church nearby. We
walked around it when we found out that Dr. Wolski's wife, Anna
and her family were the last residents and the last owners of
Wilanow. In 1945 they were "evicted" by the Russians.
Anna was sent to a camp for 2 years. She was 20 years old. What
a story and what wonderful people.
The dinner at the Wolskis was delicious with beef and potatoes,
a delicious mushroom soup; and dessert of currant pudding! It
we called home. All is well. I called at 2 a.m. here and 7 p.m.
at home. Sent Marit and her class a fax about the time difference,
geography and weather. Dighton lost the district playoff game
to St. Francis.
After a large breakfast here at the Sheraton Warsaw we met Sofia.
We all took the bus to the Rolimpex headquarters. Great experience
to be on the public bus like the Pols do.
At Rolimpex we met with Mr. Szolowski and Ms. Oberc.
Pols do not eat lunch like Americans do. The Pols work all day,
maybe eat a snack as they work. Get off by 3 p.m. or 5 p.m.
depending on the flex time schedule. They tend to eat later
afternoon after work and then late evening.
But after our talks we did eat a large lunch at the Marriot
Hotel next door. After that, Ms .Oberc took us on the bus to
Old Town. There we parted and we spent the afternoon and evening
looking and shopping. It was terrific to soak up the local history,
color. It is truly amazing to realize that this city was leveled
by bombs in 1945 and has been totally rebuilt--even to replicate
that which was destroyed. The Polish people certainly have strength
and determination and much faith to rebuild their city, their
lives. We truly enjoyed the whole area and did lots of shopping
particularly for the beautiful amber pieces. It's difficult
We walked back to the motel and crashed!!! Ate late at the motel.
we slept in late, ate breakfast . We walked all over Warsaw-looking,
shopping, stopping in the beautiful churches. Doing lots of
people watching. Ms. Oberc met us at the motel where we signed
we had to get serious about finding gifts for the boys. Walked
many blocks to what we thought was an army surplus store. But
unfortunately it wasn't. Yet we certainly enjoyed the busy cityscapes
along the way.
After a full day of walking and shopping we did find a hardware
store to buy locks for the boys. Enjoyed a very Polish meal
at the Hotel Europeski--borsht soup, pork chop with a delicious
sauerkraut, wonderful bread and special creme cake for dessert.
we walked back to the motel--it was a gorgeous Friday night.
Teenagers were out everywhere in groups as well as families.
Stores are open later so lots of shoppers.
Finished the evening with an old movie--Treasure of Sierra Madre
in our motel.
It is Cole's 23rd birthday today!!! We bought him a belt and
early and out in a taxi to Wilanow--the palace where Anna Wolski
lived. The grounds are lovely--like an English garden. The buildings
are just beautiful with fabulous works of Polish artists from
centuries ago. The restoration of this palace is truly a treasure
in itself. We tried to imagine Anna running around these many
rooms and gardens as a child--like our daughter Marit. It is
tragic what happened to this country in World War II yet you
come away with such admiration for how they have survived and
After a rest at the motel we ventured out in the rain to the
National Museum where again we saw wonderful works of Polish
artists--modern and old. The women are as beautiful in the old
paintings of 2 or more centuries ago as they are today. There
are frescos that have been preserved which are also remarkable.
Got back to the motel early to rest for the musical tonight.
Ms Oberc used her talents and skills to get terrific tickets
for a musical at the Roma Theater. It's a Hungarian one by Kalman,
which is a favorite of the Pols. The music was wonderful as
well as the actors. Plus we thoroughly enjoyed the audience.
Truly a wonderful way to end our visit.
We said our good-byes to Ms. Oberc and certainly hope to come
back to this enchanting country. We too hope that Sofia and
others can visit our farm some day.