I can't believe I haven't posted about this yet, as it is a constant topic here for me. As modernized as Poland is, almost everyone here drinks bottled water. If you ask a Pole if you can drink the tap water, they will tell you "NO! it is not good and tastes terrible" Even when David and I were here last winter, we stayed in a 5 star hotel in Warsaw, and I asked, thinking surely this worldwide 5 star hotel chain would put in a water filter for the entire hotel--like they do in Mexico, but the answer was no, we will give you free bottled water, it is not good to drink from the tap, you must boil it first for coffee or tea. I think it is a huge part of their culture here to either not drink water, as most people just drink tea, coffee, soda, and juice. And if they drink water, it is always bottled and often mineral or soda water, they don't even drink their own tap water. In Mexico the people there drink the water, and are use to it. We have to make sure to request "no bubbles" in a restaurant, but this is common in many parts of Europe. And in the restaurants it is expensive. I think a small cup of water in a restaurant here is the the same price as a soda at home, only it is not refillable like in the US. So usually we bring our own, unless it is David and I out on a date night in a nice restaurant.
Knowing this, we brought a water filter from home with us. David said it is what they did on his mission. The mission home provides each apartment with a water filter. It hooks up to the kitchen faucet and we have drinking water. At the school they also have a few sinks with filters for the kids to use, and no drinking fountains anywhere.
I have taken to asking people about the water, as I think the water is probably safe to drink, that the culture is just so use to not drinking it, that they don't know or believe it is safe. We asked a family in our ward, he is the district president so they are hardly ever at our ward, and they live 2 hours away from the city, but when we last saw them, I asked them about it. She is American and he is Polish. They have lived here about 10 years. She said that in her city the announced last year that the water was finally safe to drink. She said they use a filter anyway. She thought that the larger cities such as Krakow would most likely have safe tap water, but that every time she goes to her in-laws (they live in Lodz, which is one of the largest cities in Poland) she always gets sick from drinking the tap water there, or maybe the food.
I asked the missionaries here and they said they still have filters in all their apartments, but that they have tried the water and that it is different in every area they have been in taste and quality.
Recently we were visiting the city of Wroclaw, and I asked the receptionists at the front desk of the budget hotel we were staying at if we could drink the tap water, and they said no, buy water in the machine downstairs. But when we arrived in our rooms we found plastic cups available to use next to the sink, and there wasn't a coffee pot, or mini bar, or even bottled water in the rooms. So I am not sure what the cups were for if you can't drink the water as there was nothing else in the room to drink. Calvin was thirsty so he tried it, and he didn't get sick at all.
Since I am always asking people, David thinks we should call the water department here. I think he should. As someone who drinks pretty much only water, I would really like to know.
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