Paying it Forward: The PolishOrigins Ripple Effect by Cynthia Bielec McDonald.

May 17th, 2019

 

In September of 2018, my husband and I engaged PolishOrigins for a 3 week customized genealogy tour to visit the ancestral villages of all four of my grandparents. We had many memorable experiences, but these events in particular had impacts beyond what I ever expected or imagined. This is one of two stories in which the effects of our discoveries in Poland continue to have a ripple effect. Also, this story will give you some idea as to the sense of how the PolishOrigins guides work their magic! Think treasure hunt…

 

 

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Poland on a whim. Genealogy Tour with Denise in 2016.

March 12th, 2019

 

Three years ago on a whim, I booked myself a ticket to Poland.  I then booked a tour with PolishOrigins. I hoped and prayed that they were everything they claimed. My prayers were answered in the most spectacular way.

 

Denise, Krzysztof and Zenon in Krzywa in 2016.

 

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We will take you ANYWHERE in Central Europe.

December 17th, 2018

 

In the correspondence with our future guests, a few questions and doubts repeat frequently. Let me answer to some of them today:

“Do you travel to Ukraine?”

“Do you do tours in Vilnius?”

“My grandfather emigrated from Silesia, will you travel there with me?”

We are based in Kraków, so I understand your doubts. But: We will take you ANYWHERE in Central Europe on the tailor-made genealogy tours. By Central Europe I mean: the whole territory of today’s  Poland and our neighboring countries: Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania. Those are the most popular destinations, where we organize trips regularly.

 

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Roraty, St. Lucy and the weather predictions – Advent in the old Poland.

December 10th, 2018

 

Advent from the Latin adventus means “coming” and in Christian churches, this is a time of preparations for Christmas and for celebrating the return of Jesus Christ.

Advent lasts about four weeks, preceding Christmas (four Sundays of Advent), but in the old tradition it began on November 12 or 14 , just after St. Martin’s day and lasted 40 days!

There are many interesting and disappearing customs and traditions that are a combination of religion, observation and the rhythm of nature and a pinch of some magical beliefs – as it always is in the traditional cultures. Below you will find some of them.

 

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Thanksgiving 2017.

November 28th, 2018

 

Forever more I will have the fondest affinity for red geraniums and white lace curtains…they are the welcoming symbols of every Polish living space.

 

Photo credit: our guest from July 2018, Dawn S.

 

When my childhood and lifelong friend, Sue, and I were chatting last fall she said that she hoped to visit Poland one day, I agreed and said, “Let’s go in July!” and so we did. Many of you have asked how my visit was. This is my story, and these are my memories.

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Dawn and Walter’s trip to Poland and Slovakia. July 12, 2018 – A Necessary Hike.

November 16th, 2018

 

When we woke up we were very excited to see that there was no chance of rain for the time that we were planning on being at Spišský hrad, Spiš Castle that morning. We had breakfast in the dining room of Boutique Hotel Pracháreň and we quickly returned to our room, finished getting ready for the day, and maybe snapped a couple of parting scenic photos out of our bedroom window.

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Dawn and Walter’s trip to Poland and Slovakia. July 11, 2018 – Time to Say Good-bye.

November 15th, 2018

 

At 8:30 we met downstairs in the dining room for our last breakfast with Lucjan. Today was the last day of the tour  with him and although I was pretty  tired from all the travel, family meetings, and sights I was feeling sad that our time was coming to an end. After breakfast we had made plans to sit and review what we had accomplished and to come up with a plan for what still needed to be done. Lucjan came to our room and he and I sat down in the sitting area to discuss things. We took this time to exchange gifts, I gave Lucjan two of the fabric bowls that I made, and he gave us a magnet and collectible plate from Przemyśl, his hometown. Before too long there was a knock on the door and a cleaning person informed us that it was check out time and that they needed to clean the room. They very generously offered to let us finish our discussion in a sitting room.

Lucjan gave us a magnet from Przemyśl, his hometown.

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Dawn and Walter’s trip to Poland and Slovakia. July 10, 2018 – How Many Meals Can You Eat Pizza in a Row.

November 13th, 2018

 

Lucjan, Walter and I met for a breakfast at Šariš Park. What impressed us most wasn’t the meal but
how a member of the staff was washing all the windows. She would balance on top of the chairs,
sometimes standing on one leg as she stretched and contorted herself into whatever shape was necessary to get the job done on the inside and outside of all the windows in the restaurant. By the time she was done the windows were spotless.

The route of the fourth day of the tour.

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Dawn and Walter’s trip to Poland and Slovakia. July 9, 2018 – On to Slovakia.

November 8th, 2018

 

We met Lucjan in the dining room around 7:45 and again had the huge breakfast buffet set out for us. We made sure to take advantage of what was set out, though I steered clear of the pâté and pork jelly. Walter and I ate a more traditional American breakfast and Lucjan, in what I am assuming was a more European way, had his breakfast, maybe including the pork jelly. No matter what continent we had come from we all indulged in the baked goods. Walter and Lucjan had discovered the joys of a Nespresso commercial coffee machine, one in which the coffee has the cream added at just the right temperature to create a masterpiece of coffee the day before. This morning they again made good use of it and by the end of our breakfast they were both suitably caffeinated and ready to go.

The route of the third day of the tour.

 

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Dawn and Walter’s trip to Poland and Slovakia. July 8, 2018 – Cousins, cousins everywhere.

November 7th, 2018

 

Having been treated to a quiet and cool evening’s sleep we woke up raring to go. We headed down to meet Lucjan for breakfast and to check out the breakfast buffet that was included with our stay. I walked into the dining area and absolutely couldn’t believe my eyes, there was the biggest buffet of any type that I had ever seen.

 

The biggest breakfast buffet I’ve ever seen.

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