I've just spent a few days in Sydney. The main reason I left my piece of paradise was a concert by the Tallis Scholars. I booked it from Warsaw in the depths of a winter night last January, on the day the tickets went on sale, convinced that otherwise I would miss out. That therefore wasn't a surprise.
I stayed in the Rocks Youth Hostel, with magnificent views from the terrace to the Bridge and the Opera House. This I expected. What I didn't expect was to enter it through an archaeological site, and to find in the breakfast room glass cases containing some of the million artefacts unearthed. My mind creates links to Poland everywhere – this “museum” was similar in kind to the underground museum in Kraków town square, revealing and preserving the workings of a dig.
The other surprise was the Polish church in Maryong. It's presence wasn't a surprise. My accountant told me about it a few weeks ago while we were supposed to be doing my tax return. But it's Polishness was a surprise. It brought the history of Poland into this outer Sydney suburb: a plaque commemorating the deaths at Smolensk of 96 members of the Polish elite in a 2010 plane crash; an embryo planting of oaks to memorialise about a dozen of those murdered by the Russians at Katyń in 1942 (part of plantings all over the world); and a plaque for my accountant's father, who was a doctor in Sydney and fought in the Polish underground.