Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Clash of Cultures: Don't drink the water!

There are so many things that I know will be different in Poland. Some of them I am really looking forward to, like fresh, organic, fruits and veggies, available right down the road, every day, at open air farmer's markets. Every day! And then there are some things that I an not looking forward to, such as the sun rising at 4am every day during the summer (and subsequently, children that assume that if the sun is up, then, of course, it must be time to start the day. ugh). Every. day. (during the summer)

One of the bigger things that I was not looking forward to was having to drink bottled water, all the time. That's right, *not* drinking water out of the tap, *ever.* See, Martin and I decided a few years back that we would try to never buy bottled water. There are lots of reasons for this. The two biggest (which are really kind of the same) being that, of course, it costs money. And the second, well, WATER IS FREE, PEOPLE. That's right. It's free!!! It comes out of the tap... free! Well, mostly free anyway, really really cheap, at least, right? Right. (this is a blessing!!!! we should be taking advantage of it, put down that bottled water and go get a glorious cup of it from your tap, right now)! So I was not looking forward to having to drink bottled water all the time. Especially since we have our children so well trained as to actually crave water over any other drink. They drink it by the bucket around here. Bottled water for all of us, on a daily basis, would be expensive and inconvenient. And yet, every time we visit Poland, we have to make sure and buy jugs and jugs of bottled water, so that we all have something to drink. Grocery shopping gets heavy. Now of course, your next question should be... why don't you just drink out of the tap? Well, I'm getting to that...

I don't care what she says next...she will NEVER get my bottled water! NEVER (Hejjo, 2006 a.k.a. The personification of Polish water stereotypes)!

For whatever reason it has long been held that drinking out of the tap, in Poland, is something "you just don't do." I don't know why. Martin doesn't know why (ok, strike that, he *does* know why...because during communism there was no real water treatment efforts...eww...gross...but there is NOW, and has been for the last couple decades at least...sooooo...). It just is that way. Everyone that I have ever visited in Poland, ever received a glass of water from, has gotten it from a bottle (or boiled the water from the tap first, but this isn't done as often).  If you ask around you will get lots of different, often conflicting, reasons as to why "you shouldn't drink from the tap." From "the water is too hard, it will make you sick," too,  "it has too many minerals, it will make you sick," and finally, "it's so contaminated with bacteria and sediment that it can cause a monster to grow in the deep recesses of your intestines which will eventually grow to the size of a watermelon and burst forth devouring you from the inside out." ( ok, I made that last part up, but they could be saying that... remember, I don't speak Polish). So, you get the picture... "don't drink the water, it'll make you sick." I don't know if this true myself, I follow the rules while I'm there. I've never drunk out of the tap.

But, today, all my fears have been assuaged, and I am about to singlehandedly dispel a long held myth about Polish water. Are you ready for it? Here goes...  It is perfectly safe to drink water from the tap in the country of Poland! That's right, every major city, and most likely every city period, has potable, drinkable, clean and safe water, held to the same standards as any other industrialized nation in the world. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand....I HAVE PROOF!

Thanks to the good people over at Brita, I have proof, in the form of real research and fancy graphs and even Youtube videos, in English mind you, of this very fact. Isn't science and the Internet, combined, great?!

Real Research:

Fancy Graphs (in Polish)!:,wykresy,9

Youtube videos:

I'm not gonna' lie folks, the idea of having to cart in bottles of water to keep my family going was not a pleasant image. The vision of plastic bottles taking up space in my big country kitchen, overlooking my mountain view, was just not, well, not part of my vision. And now, it doesn't have to be. Cheers!


  1. Thank God for small (and big!) miracles! Bottled water is the pits.

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