Poland Day Thirteen: Krakow To Warsaw: Snow, Castles, Czestochowa And A Change Of Plans
The horrors of Auschwitz were still troubling my mind when I awoke on another cold and rainy morning in Krakow. Fortunately, we had another busy day ahead of us, and I knew the best thing to honor the victims was to live and enjoy life, but always remembering the events that lead up to this holocaust. We must never forget.
So, after another delicious breakfast at our hotel, my sister, my niece and I met our guide for the day , Maciek, a intelligent young man with a vast knowledge of Polish history. We soon were off to Warsaw, with a stop at Czestochowa. We learned so much more about the city of Krakow as we drove it’s busy rush hours streets.
As we left the city limits of Krakow and entered the countryside the clouds began to clear and we saw blue skies, and snow! Lot’s of snow. We were told this is a very unusual occurrence for this part of Poland in late April.
I enjoyed the ride through the rural back roads, passing parks, farmland and the occasional small town. Here is a link to some more photographs from our ride through the Polish countryside. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Thirteen-Krakow-to-Czestochowa-April-20-2017-
We passed a few more castles as we made our way through the back roads of the countryside to Czestochowa. Soon we were on the outskirts of the city and in sight of the steeples of Jasna Gora. . Here is a link to some more photographs from our scenic ride to Czestochowa. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Thirteen-Krakow-To-Czestochowa-part-two-April-20-2017-
I had already visited this Shrine which played such an emotional role in my father’s life. He was dedicated to Her and told me that none of his children would be here since She saved his life during his service in World war II. More of my first visit a week earlier can be seen in my earlier blog post.
This time, however, Father Simon, during a mass, took us up to the painting and allowed us to photograph the sacred image up close. It was the first visit for my sister Linda and niece Kelly and they, like me, had a very emotional experience as they knelt in the presence of the icon so loved by my their father and grandfather. Afterward my sister and I agreed, Father Simon was sent to us by dad.
Father Simon, who spent many years in the United States, including a few years at a parish in Shenandoah, not far from my home in Northeastern Pennsylvania, gave us many insights of his travels and world view. He had to rush off for another tour but we thoroughly enjoyed our time with this delightful old monk. Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to the monastery. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Thirteen-Czestochowa-April-20-2017-
After ending our tour and leaving the monastery, we had originally planned to spend the rest of day in the town Czestochowa and then board a train to Krakow at 6:30 p.m. However, because of the cold weather, we inquired of our guided if he could drive us to Warsaw. He placed a call to the tour agency to see if he could drive the approximately 140 mile trip while we had lunch at U Braci a nearby pizza place.
We were happy to learn that Maciek would be able to drive us to Warsaw and we were soon on the major highway to Poland’s capitol city. The highway was much like our interstate highways here in the United States.
We saw the skyline of downtown Warsaw and it wasn’t long until we were at our hotel, the Warsaw Hilton. We said farewell to our great guide and we were soon checked in our rooms. Here is a link to some more photographs from our drive to Warsaw. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Thirteen-Czestochowa-to-Krakow-April-20-2017-
Dominating the skyline near the hotel was the “Russian wedding cake” also know as the Palace of Culture and Science. We would learn much more about this gift from Russia and constructed in the 1950’s.
We made our way back to the hotel and i was soon asleep after another long day in Poland. I was looking forward to the morning and some more exploration of Poland’s capitol. Here is a link to some more photographs from our evening walk. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Thirteen-Warsaw-evening-walk-April-29-2017-
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine