It was a bit sad because there is more family to see and more ancestry to trace. Zbigniew will be coming back to the area after he drives us back to Krakow so that he can get the records for Julien’s mother. Hopefully the priest will have found the records we were looking to find. We were off to have breakfast across the street and then on to Krakow.
Arrived back at the hotel and now we wait for Ewa to come for our last tour. We walked from the hotel Schindler’s factory. Ewa gave us the tour. It was very interesting. We will have to watch Schindler’s List now.
Today was our first guided tour of Krakow. Ewa (Eva) was our guide. Our first stop after walking for a bit was Wawel Castle.
Very impressive site with the towers, chapels, grounds and the infamous fire breathing Dragon!! Walt, Ewa and I climbed the bell tower and for good luck as legend goes we placed our hands on Sigmund’s bell.
(…)The square itself is a hustling, bustling place of restaurants, vendors, musicians, break dancers, and various other forms of entertainment. One particular musician was getting a rather large following while playing in the square. He is Imad Fares and his guitar playing is amazing! (Video1)(Video2)
There are lines of horse drawn carriage rides available around the square. They take you for quite an extensive tour around the city.
View from the carriage.
(…)The day after we arrived in Kraków I finally got the opportunity to meet Zenon from PolishOrigins. I’d spoken with Zenon a few times during our trip, as he called to check to make sure that everything was going well with our customized tour. Zenon had been on tour with another group for the first part of our trip. He had only one day off and took the time to come to meet Denise and I for dinner. It was our first experience dining in the Jewish district of Kraków, and the food was absolutely amazing. His visit spoke volumes to us in regards to the PolishOrigins business. You don’t find many tour companies whose owners take the time to come to meet you and keep in contact with you the way he did. PolishOrigins definitely strives to make sure that your trip expectations are met and/or exceeded.
(…)We also took a tour of the underground tourist route. It is the old storage for the market square. They couldn’t keep all their wares in the square, they had to store them somewhere. Each tent or shop had their own storage area. It’s quite an extensive walk underneath the city. If you wandered in alone, you could easily get lost. It was quite an amazing experience, and something I’ve never done before. If you’re ever in Sandomierz, I would highly suggest taking this tour.
(…)While having lunch at Pokusa Restaurant, Pawel mentioned that Sandomierz was well known for its mead. He suggested that we try it. I can tell you I was a little apprehensive because it became a running joke it was going to cost an arm and a leg, but for 20 zloty it was well worth it. I’ve never tasted anything like this before in my life and I can tell you if you ever have the opportunity to try Sandomierz mead, do it, you will not regret it. Unfortunately, we discovered after the fact that you cannot purchase it any where else other than in Sandomierz. It’s that exclusive and difficult to get.
There is a little town named Bobowa in Poland. It is situated in Old Galicia, south-east of Krakow. There is not much more than a few streets, two churches, an old synagogue and a main square. But there is also something that you do not see at a first sight – the old tradition of bobbin lace making. It is not widely known today, but this beautiful handicraft art is still practiced there.
The most tireless bobbin lacemaker in Bobowa 🙂 She works regardless of the weather, the seasons and time of day or night
Slav drove an extended van to the airport and we picked up the rest of the family. Zenon even woke early and joined us at the airport on his day off. The family returned to Krakow with Slav and spent hours touring neighborhoods and the Old Town. The under thirteen- year old children enjoyed the sights, even the huge piles of leaves in the park. They practiced using new Polish language expressions. We assigned Polish names to everyone as part of the cultural experience. Their Krakow rating….GREAT!
The previous night, Zenon had scouted out features in the area and told us to plan on seeing the Wroclaw Panorama exhibit the next morning before we left the city. This was not only an exhibit about one of the early, historic Polish battles for independence. It was also a fascinating artistic rendering. The history of the canvas was a story in itself. The massive canvas was painted before 1900, one hundred years after the battle depicted. It was secreted away in a monastery during the twentieth century’s politically incorrect time periods and wartime years. A rotunda was eventually constructed to permanently house the multi-storey exhibit. The panorama now contains 3-Dimensional elements laid against the canvas that bring the scenes to life. Later, Conrad walked the grounds behind the hotel and photographed parts of the ancient city walls, and of the river and ancient churches towering over the historic city beyond the River Odra.
On July 28th, Zbigniew picked us up and we headed for the Town Hall in Czarny Dunajec to look for records of deceased members of my family. The clerk would not let us see any of them as she said, ‘it would infringe on the privacy of the dead people’. Although Poland’s law says we could look at them we did not argue with her. We then went on to Pieniazkowice, which has a population of approximately 800 people and is located about 200 miles south of Warsaw. This is the village of my grandmother Tekla Swiatek (Swietek).
What a trip PolishOrigins put together for us to find distant cousins, learn about where our family used to live, and see the sights! On my 75th birthday, my two boys arrived at my home to celebrate and told me to get ready to pack my bags as they had arranged a trip through PolishOrigins. I was speechless to say the least and I spent the next four months getting ready for the trip,which included many, many emails back and forth with Zbigniew. All along the way I was impressed with PolishOrigin’s and Zbigniew’s thoroughness and attention to detail.
The end of July finally arrived and I flew to Washington D.C. where I met my youngest son and grandson. We were quickly off to Poland! We first flew into Munich Germany arriving on the morning of July 26th where we had a six-hour overlay. So my son called for a taxi and had him take us to the Hof Bauhaus. After touring and enjoying a snack there we walked over to the Glockenspiel clock tower and watched as the hour struck and the figures appeared. From here we walked a few blocks and caught an uber back to the airport and boarded a plane for Krakow, Poland. We took a taxi to our hotel, had dinner, took a quick tour of the Basilica of Maria and then back to our hotel to rest up for the big days coming…