Poland Day Nine: Living My Father’s Dream: Easter At Czestochowa.
As I stated in my prior blog post, I awoke on Saturday evening to the sounds of explosion of fireworks coming from the monastery at Jasna Gora. The next morning, Easter Sunday, I again awoke to the sound of fireworks. This time they were being set off for the morning services at the Church of the Holy Cross and Nativity of Mary located in the monastery. They were also accompanied by the beautiful opening songs of the Easter sunrise service being played over the loudspeakers located throughout the Monastery. Here is a link to a YouTube video I took form my hotel room. https://youtu.be/SQgSH6UXvRk
It was a glorious day outside. It was cool, with near freezing temperatures, but the skies were clear and bright sunshine lit up the towers of the monastery . . I quickly changed into my less dirty cloths, I still hadn’t found a laundry open, and walked to the magnificent fortress that is Jasana Gora, towering on the hilltop in the April sunlight.
I arrived just as the fireworks were ending and mingled in with large crowds of people entering the gates to attend the sunrise services.
The services were in Polish and it took me back to the days of my childhood when Easter and Christmas services were conducted in Polish. at out local church. I didn’t understand the words but they were so beautiful to hear.
At first I didn’t want to take photographs or video the services, out of respect, but noticed many of the attendees were videoing the service with their smart phones so I did too. I wanted share some of this beautiful songs and services with my friends and family back home. Here is a link to one of these videos. on my YouTube Channel. https://youtu.be/jzKSxb9l1gg
The mass was long, lasting one hour and forty minutes but I enjoyed every second of it. I knew how much my dad would have loved being here and I knew he was happy I made this journey he so wanted to make. Here is a link to another video of the services. https://youtu.be/w5nWG3ilA40
I was so overtaken by the music, the prayers in the Polish language and the magnificence of the church. I was sad when the services were over. But it was a wonderful experience, one I knew my dad wanted to enjoy during his lifetime, and I also knew he was with me in spirit in that church. Here is a final link to some more of the service. https://youtu.be/b9GP-7LV5II After the services I walked under the beautiful sunshine back to my hotel. Here is a link to some more photographs of Easter morning at Czestochowa. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Nine-Easter-Czestochowa-Jasna-Gora-morning-April-16-2017-
I returned to the hotel for breakfast and was surprised to find the traditional Polish food they put out for their guests. It once again took me back to my childhood, when the first meal on Easter morning always consisted of food from the blessed Easter basket. My dad would always eat a blessed egg first.
After breakfast I decided to walk to the bus station to purchase a ticket for my return to Krakow, where I would meet up with my sister Linda and niece Kelly, the next day. It was cool and windy but a beautiful day for a walk.
I walked the tree lined residential streets of Czestochowa contemplating on the lives of the people who lived and worked in this town I was coming to love.
I continued my walk through the commercial districts near the bus station.
I walked by some parks and memorials and, after about a 1 1/2 mile walk I found the bus station.
I was surprised to find there was no bus service on Easter and the station was closed. I was also told, by a person I believe was homeless, that there may not be bus service the next day either since Easter Monday is also a big Holy Day in Poland. He suggested I visit the train station since he thought the trains would be running the next day.
So I was off to find the train station,which I soon did, a newly constructed modern building. The only problem was the only woman working who spoke no a word of English and made no real attempt to help me. All she would say was Polski meaning for me to speak Polish.
I was frustrated, trying to find ask about train schedules and times to Krakow, when a kind gentleman, who spoke very little English came to my aide and helped me obtain a ticket. The only problem was he told me I had to use another train station! And he knew nothing about it. Well the only thing I could do was to hope to figure out where that station was by 10 am the next morning.
I was becoming very familiar with downtown Czestochowa now and made my way back to the central avenue that leads back to the Monastery and my hotel.
There were not many people out since it was Easter morning and many were attending services. I heard music loudly broadcast from loudspeakers from a few churches I walked by.
I made my way past the closed businesses, shops and restaurants back to my hotel. Thankfully I soon found out, with help from the staff at the desk, where the second train station was located, a 10 minute taxi ride from the hotel. It was near noon now and, just after I returned to my hotel, the clouds returned and a cold and heavy rain fell for most of the afternoon. I took advantage of the down time by working on a few blog posts and editing the many photographs I was taking of beautiful Poland. Here is a link to some more photographs from my morning walk. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Nine-Czestochowa-walk-to-train-station-April-16-2017-
Still, while I kept myself busy, I was waiting patiently for the rain to stop so I could explore more of Czestochowa with my camera. And late in the afternoon it did, well it slowed down to a light drizzle anyway and I quickly donned my rain gear and started walking in the park across from my hotel that adjoins the monastery.
There were quite a few other people with the same idea. There were a number of families with small children enjoying the ponds in the park.
And the ducks that lived on them. I am sure the ducks were enjoying the weather.
The many old trees were now covered with the new, light green leaves of Spring and made for a nice place to walk.
There were a lot of statutes and monuments in the park but, once again the rain began to intensify. Soon it was a steady downpour so I made my way back to the hotel. Here is a link to some photographs from my short hike in the park. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Nine-Czestochowa-afternoon-park-walk-Sunday-April-16-2017–
It was now evening and I was just deciding I would have to have dinner in the hotel when the rain again stopped. I wanted to try a highly recommended pizza restaurant near the Monastery about a half mile from my hotel. It took me a little while to find it but when I did I found it was closed. As were all of the other restaurants in the area. I made my way to the main avenue and, it being Easter, found them all closed too.
I was heading back to the hotel when I happened to see a couple enter a business. I followed them and discovered the Czekoladowa Nuta. It seemed to be a pastry and coffe shop but I entered and learned they do serve food. I sat and enjoyed an excellent pasta dish for dinner.
And the dessert was heavenly another version of the popular goat cheese cheesecake. This one was so light and delicate, it reminded my of the texture of an angel food cake, and yet so flavor.
I was glad I found this wonderful place. It was dark when I made my way back to the hotel, in a light and cold rain. But it was a very enjoyable way to spend Easter. I called my family at home before retiring for the night, and fell asleep looking forward to meeting up with my sister and niece in Krakow in the afternoon.
“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.” – John Hope Franklin