Route 66 is an undeniably unique road, a legend, and although little of it remains today, it has managed to become an integral part of the American road mythology. In Poland there is also a road with the same number, located far away from its namesake across the ocean. Placed in the eastern part of the country, it is barely 100 km long and completely ordinary. It is not legendary, and there is little chance that it will ever become so, as in Poland the myth of the road, like the one that exists in America, has never formed.
On the surface these two roads have nothing in common, except for their names. If we reach deeper however, their juxtaposition makes the utmost of sense. For a long time Polish people have been fascinated with the United States, which they perceive as the pinnacle of western civilization, and which they desperately wanted to be a part during the days of the ‘iron curtain’. Even the word ‘America’, has become in Poland a synonym for something better, something more developed, and is used widely as a term for granting admiration and approval. With this there comes a natural desire to emulate, however in practice it is manifested by siding-covered houses and ordering hot dogs, rather than the actual development of civil society.
Comparing these two roads allows us to look at Poland through the prism of the American legend and to think about what kind of story one can take away from the Polish Route 66. And it would certainly be a story worth telling, as the road’s ordinariness helps us to look at the real Poland, the typical Poland, the one that really exists. All that is required is to look more closely at that, which is so passively driven by.