From the first days of my arrival in Poland in April 1993, I had a sudden feeling of freedom. It may seem strange in a country just emerging from the constraints of communism. And yet it was during this transition period, which began at the end of the 1980s, that everything became possible. Admittedly, it was necessary to have adequate financial means to take advantage of all the opportunities that were opening up to the inhabitants of this country, which had long remained outside the capitalist economic model. But the communist period never really stifled Polish enthusiasm for art, culture and, above all, commerce. Many citizens have always managed to find solutions or countermeasures to the restrictive policy of communism and have never allowed themselves to be subjected to a government that they considered illegitimate and doomed to disappear sooner or later. When the Berlin Wall was torn down in June 1990, it was a symbol of the oppression that fell for the people of the Eastern Bloc countries. All the enthusiasm that the Poles had to contain could finally be released. And when it came to finding ideas and solutions with very little material and financial means, the Poles were very imaginative. It wasn’t just a matter of going into private business by creating markets, shops and restaurants copying what was done in Western European countries. A new breath of ideas and innovations gradually appeared, manifesting itself in the creation of artistic, cultural and political events and in a change of mentality leading to an opening to the outside world of borders that had remained for so long impassable. My walks through the different regions and cities in Poland have made me discover people, places and situations specific to this period of the early 1990s where the legacy of the past decades is mixed with a vision, sometimes clumsy and naive, of a Poland turned towards the future. Very often I could feel the thirst of the people to make up for the decades of backwardness in Western European societies, long considered by Poles to be synonymous with freedom.
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