This was an evening after a long day in Aug 2012. I was roaming in the Krakow’s old town area in Poland. One of those unstructured times during travels, where you aimlessly roam observing and absorbing in the place. We suddenly saw some old soldiers marching past in their full army get up and reaching what looked like some kind of a memorial. Curiously we followed them and requested our Polish guide to help us converse with these charming gentlemen. She graciously obliged and here we were talking to Major Wlodzimierz Wowa Brodecki, who was a young World War II Soldier.
World War II Soldier
Looking smart and handsome in his crisp Army uniform with all his medals proudly shining on his chest, with his head still looking upwards. He was more than alert at 88 than anyone else around. He was the center of attraction and posed smilingly for every camera. And everyone who wanted to be clicked with him. Once done with the formalities of the event, that it seems was well covered by the local press, he started telling us the stories. He said he was a part of a Cavalry unit and hence rode horses.
He carried with him a photo album, that showed him on the horse at various places in Europe. This turned out to be the most interesting story. After he retired, every year he would ride the horse to one of the places where the war took place. And pay homage to soldiers who died there. These pictures chronicled his homage to paying journeys for many many years. One of the pictures was taken at the very place we were standing, just a few years back. I took pictures of his pictures to be able to tell his story to you.
Lack of common language kept the conversation in check. We found out that he was keen to share the stories of Indian soldiers who had fought during the war and whom he had met. After some thousand photographs and briefly interrupted conversations as we were saying Good-Byes, Major told us that his mother in law runs a guesthouse in case we needed a place to stay in Krakow. My first thought was ‘You are 88, how old must be your mother-in-law?’ but then I quickly realized that your mother-in-law’s age need not be related to your age. And whatever her and your age may be, you must always work for her…:-)
This was one of the meetings that would always stay with me in my memory.
Recommend you to read the following Things to do in Krakow & Poland Tourist Attractions.