Poland Day Six: Walking In The Footsteps Of A Great Man: Karol Józef Wojtyał
After arriving at the Hotel Grodek in Krakow, I set up my electronics in my room and soon was in the lobby meeting my guide for the afternoon, a friendly and knowledgeable fellow by the name of , Adam. I arranged for him to drive me to Wadowice, the birthplace of my favorite Pope, Pope John Paul II.
Adam spoke fluent English, having taught himself listening to tapes and talking with tourists. We talked about the history and customs of Krakow and Poland as we drove through the busy streets of the city. We soon were on scenic country roads passing small towns and farm lands.
We soon made our way to the small town of Wadowice, where Karol Jozef Wojtyal was born and roamed the streets as a child. I had admired John Paul II since I first learned of his selection as Pope on a sunny warm October Day while in Philosophy class at King’s College. My philosophy teacher asked any person of Polish decent to stand, wherein, he informed and congratulated on the selection of a Polish Pope.
I have followed this kind, loving and man from that day until the time of his death. I was fortunate to have traveled to Rome and attend his funeral. I have read many of his writings and the biographies written about him. To walk the streets he walked and to see the house he was born in,and the church he attended was a very fulfilling and emotional experience for me.
There was a service being conducted, but, the priest, when asked by my guide, was kind enough to let me photograph and share this beautiful church. I reflected on how it much have looked to young Karol attending it while a child. Here is a link to some more photographs of the church. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Six-Wadowice-Basilica-Thursday-April-13-2017-
It was raining so I didn’t get to walk around the town but my guide did take me to a shop where we got enjoy the Pope’s favorite dessert, kremowka. As a boy, he and his friends would save their money to buy and share this cake. It was delicious.
My guide next took me to visit the impressive, and newly built, John Paul II Sanctuary. It was built with the intention of being one of the main shrines devoted to this great man, Pope and recently canonized Saint.
The shrine had many paintings, exhibits and personal possessions of the Pope, including blood stained robe he had worn during the assassination attempt that occurred in May of 1981. The Pope was never quite the same after this incident yet he forgave the man who tried to kill him.
There are many beautiful altars located in the shrine and I wish I had more time to spend and reflect on them. But we had one more stop and so I had to leave this beautiful place dedicated to the life of this saintly man. Here is a link to some more photographs from my visit to the Sanctuary. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Po;and-Day-Six-Krakow-John-Paul-II-Sanctuary-Thursday-April-13-2017-
We next drove the short distance to the Divine Mercy Sanctuary, which is also the final resting place of the Catholic Saint, Faustina Kowalska.I will confess I did not know much about this Sanctuary or Saint but I knew my mom, a devout Catholic would be glad I stopped to visit.
After taking in the view, and a lot of photographs we took a quick walk through the grounds of the sanctuary. Here is a link to some more photographs of the Sanctuary. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Six-Krakow-Sanctuary-of-the-Divine-Mercy-April-13-2017-
and a quick look inside the altar of the older Sanctuary adjacent to the new one. it was not nearing sundown and i was hungry and tired so my guide left me off at the Hotel. I was glad to have met Adam and i learned so much from his informative tour of Wadowice and Krakow. Here is a link to some more photographs from my tour. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Six-Krakow-Sanctuary-of-the-Divine-Mercy-April-13-2017-
I wish I could have stayed longer but it was another long day, and i was on the road again in the morning so I had to head back to my hotel. Here is a link to some more photographs from my evening walk. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Six-Krakow-evening-hike-
“The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.”
― Pope John Paul II