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Poland Trip July 5 to July 21, 2013
Drive Around Tour and Pre-Congress Tour

Part 1 of 2 

 

Click here to download a PDF file of Part 1 PolandPart1.pdf

Click here to download a PDF file of Part 2: PolandPart2.pdf

 

Part 1  Southern Poland - Damona and Suzanna Drive Around - Poland Journal Part 1

Day 1 Saturday July 6  - Travel day Atlanta,GA /Stillwater, OK to Krakow, Poland

Day 2 Sunday July 7 2013 Krakow sightseeing - Wawel Hill

Day 3 Monday July 8 2013 - Krakow sightseeing

Day 4 Tuesday July 9 2013 - Drive Krakow to Zakopane

Day 5 Wednesday July 10 2013- hike

Day 6 Thursday July 11, 2013 - drive Zakopane to Czestochowa

Day 7 (IFMA Tour starts) Friday July 12, Friday - drive Czestochowa to Warsaw

Part 2  Pre Congress IFMA Tour of Northern Poland - See Poland Journal Part 2

 

 

Southern Poland - Damona and Suzanna Drive Around 

Damona is going to the INTERNATIONAL FARM MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION Congress and she invited me to join her on some pre-congress touring.  Yes!  I'll go!!!!!  What a great opportunity to see another country.

Click here for more about IFMA and the Congresses Here are the some web sites for the organization and congress:  http://www.ifma19.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/PRE.pdf, http://www.ifma19.org/pre-post-tours/, http://www.ifmaonline.org//index.php, and www.ifmaonline.org.

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Damona and I went to graduate school at Iowa State University (ISU) 1981.  She went on get her PhD and work at Oklahoma State University (OSU), where she is now acting head of the Agricultural Economics Department. This is same department where my father and my GRANDFATHER graduated from and worked!!!  Grampa participated in a program where he taught farmers in Bangkok, Thailand in 1958-1960.  He traveled the world and saw over 60 countries in his lifetime. Now I am doing the same.  Of course I would love to go to Poland!

Its a perfect time of the year for Poland - July in Warsaw - Average July temperature: 19C / 67F  July average high: 24C / 75FJuly average low: 15C / 59F.  The month of July has daily highs around 74F throughout the month, but may exceeding 85F or dropping below 63F only one day in ten.

Damona lived here in Poland for a year in 1992 on a USAID project to "support emerging democracies", the Polish/American Extension Project. She lived in the town of Krasiczyn - near Przemysl.  This map shows the location reference from Krakow and arrow near Przemysl.  The purple line is the border - she was 10 miles from border!  She had many interesting stories about her experiences that year.

 

 Damona here in 1992 


The IFMA offered a tour of Northern Poland the week before the congress and the tour of Southern Poland the week after the congress.  After the congress, Damona has AAEA (American Agricultural Association) meetings, so she couldn't do that tour.  So, we flew into Krakow a week before the official pre-congress tour and we did our own tour of Southern Poland.  Click here to jump to my journal of the official Ore Congress IFMA Tour of Northern Poland

 

 

Day 1 Saturday July 6 - Travel day Atlanta,GA / Stillwater, OK to Krakow, Poland

Travel day.  Atlanta has two airport terminals now: Domestic (accessed from I-75) and International (accessed from I-85).  My plane leaves from the International terminal.  So I drive to the car park place where I made a reservation at the Park 'N Go lot.  They only drop at the domestic terminal, so I have to take a shuttle to the International terminal - it was a long 20 minute drive!  The flight, everything was on schedule.   My flight

Fri, July 5, 2013  Depart: 5:55pm  Atlanta, GA (ATL) Arrive: 09:10am  Frankfurt, Germany (FRA)

1 Stop  change planes in Frankfurt, Germany (FRA)  Connection Time: 7 hrs 15 mins

Saturday 6 July 2013 Depart: 04:25pm  Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) Arrive: 05:55pm  Krakow, Poland (KRK) Next day

Total Travel Time: 18 hrs

Damona flights

Friday July 5, 2013  Depart:11:40 AM  Oklahoma City  Arrive:  1:30 PM Chicago Travel Time: 1:50

Depart: 5:25 PM Chicago   Arrive: 9:55 Warsaw Okecie Airport  Travel Time: 9:30    Boeing 767-300/300ER   DREAMLINER?!?

Saturday July 6, 2013 Depart:   Warsaw Okecie Airport  11:35 AM  Arrive: Krakow 12:30 PM   Travel Time:  0:55  Aircraft:  BOMBARDIER Q400 TURBOPROP-2 ENGINES

Arrive at the Krakow airport. I did have any checked luggage (only 1 carry-on bag and laundry soap, for my 2-week trip), so I went to directly to the tourist information booth and asked about a taxi to the hotel.  The cost was 78 PLN.  I met another really nice lady and we shared the cost.  We used this service:   Krakow Katowice Airport Transfers and Tours   www.irporttransfer.com.pl   Tel: +48 662 905 905   www.facebook.com/airporttransfercompl

There was also this service that Damona found on the Internet:  Krakow airport to Krakow (18 Km/30 mins)  http://www.suntransfers.com/krakow-airport-to-krakow

 

Another woman and her daughter wanted to join our taxi, but the girl in the information booth said that was not permitted. They only ordered the taxi for my hotel and the other  hotel. The  available taxis were asking 89 PLN. and she didn't want to pay that. Since she was not allowed to join ours, I'm not sure what she did. There would have been plenty of room in our vehicle. But I guess it's important to follow the rules when in a strange place.

Damona booked us at very nice hotel. We stayed here 3 nights: Saturday July 6, Sunday July 7, and Monday, July 8

Saski Hotel  http://www.hotel-saski.com/  Email: info@hotelsaski.com.pl   ul. Slawkowska 3   Krakow, malopolskie, 31-014  Poland

Room price per night:  PLN 375.25 ($119.90) per night  Balance due PLN 1125.75 (US$ 359.71) 

The hotel Saski is located at Slawkowska Street, about 2 blocks away from Main Market Square - "Rynek Glowny". In the photo below, our room the first night was the window above the hotel sign to the right.  The web site had this:

A hotel with traditions in the very heart of Cracow, The Hotel Saski is located in the centre of Cracow, in a splendid apartment house built in the 16th century. Its history, as well as its moderate prices, make this hotel an excellent place for businessmen and fatigued tourists wishing to relax.

That last part about "fatigued tourists wishing to relax."  Ha!  Saturday night was no relaxing night.  The square (and the street in front of our hotel) was full of very LOUD, shouting, singing, celebrating, drunk, happy people.  We had to open the window so the room was cool to (try to) sleep.  I'm sure glad I had ear plugs.  We switched to different room at the back of the hotel for the other 2 nights. Sunday and Monday night were not as loud in the square. 

        kralow saski hotel 

We considered chocolate for dinner, but then we found a nice restaurant on the Rynek Glowny, the Main Square.  Many people and things to look at!

   

We did NOT have dinner at McDonald's but here is their menu. A Happy Meal is 10.50 PLN or 3.20 USD.

     mcDonalds

 

Krakow Main Square "Rynek Głowny" 

This is main market square of the Old Town in Krakow, Poland located at the center of the city. It dates back to 1257, the 13th century, and œ at roughly 40,000 m (430,000 ft2) œ it is "the largest medieval town square in Europe." (per wikipedia and 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz.)

The Rynek Glowny square was renamed "Alter Markt", then between 1939 and 1945, the square was named Adolf Hitler Platz.

Krakow was spared destruction during WWII - it's grand history and remarkable concentration of architecture are everywhere. Unlike Warsaw - 85% of that city bombed by Hitler because of the Jew uprising.

After 44 years of communism, the Krakow Rynek Glony square had a new vitality.  Rynek Głowny is surrounded by historical townhouses, palaces and churches. The center is dominated by the Sukiennice (the Cloth Hall or Drapers' Hall), rebuilt in 1555 in the Renaissance style, topped by a beautiful attic  decorated with carved masks. On one side of the square is the Town Hall Tower, on the other the 10th century Church of St. Adalbert's) and there is the1898 Adam Mickiewicz Monument. Rising above the square are the Gothic towers of St. Mary's Basilica.

Cloth hall - It was a clearing house and market place for textiles. It is located in the centre of the square.  It contained trading stalls, particularly for the selling of cloth as well as leather, wax and salt, including exotic imports such as spices and silk. They were built from mediaeval times until the 17th century.  Krakow has the most famous example of an existing cloth hall building.  It was rebuilt in 1555 in the Renaissance style.

Building on the left is Cloth Hall:

krakow main square

Damona perusing the shops in Cloth HALL - selling kitsch items relating to Pop John Paul II (once archbishop of Krakow), folk art, and Eastern European crafts.

 

 

SHOPS in Cloth HALL
  


 

 

St. Mary's Basilica    http://www.mariacki.com/

Masses on Sundays and holidays 6.00, 7.00, 8.00, 9.00, 10.00 (po łacinie), 11.15, 12.00, 13.00, 18.30 6.00, 7.00, 8.00, 9.00, 10.00 (in Latin), 11.15, 12.00, 13.00, 18.30

on weekdays 6.00, 6.30, 7.00, 7.30, 8.00, 8.30, 9.00, 9.30, 10.00 (po łacinie), 10.30, 11.00, 18.30 6.00, 6.30, 7.00, 7.30, 8.00, 8.30, 9.00, 9.30, 10.00 (in Latin), 10.30, 11.00, 18.30

From Wikipedia

Architectural type Gothic-style.

"Church of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven" is a brick Gothic church.
Originally built in 1221 (early 13th century), destroyed, then completely re-built in 1355-1395, the 14th century.
1666- gilded crown added, and it's famous wooden altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss (Wit Stwosz).
Stands 80 m (262 ft) tall

On every hour, a trumpet signal is played from the top of the taller of St. Mary's two towers. The tune breaks off in mid-stream, to commemorate the famous 13th century trumpeter, who was shot in the throat while sounding the alarm before the Mongol attack on the city.

The church is familiar to many English-speaking readers from the 1929 book The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly.

On 18 April 2010, in St. Mary's Basilica, a funeral ceremony of tragically killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria was held.

The coffins were later transported and buried in one of the crypts of Wawel Cathedral.

  

St Marys

On every hour, a trumpet signal is played from the top of the taller of St. Mary's two towers. The tune breaks off in mid-stream, to commemorate the famous 13th century trumpeter, who was shot in the throat while sounding the alarm before the Mongol attack on the city.  This is Damona's photo of the bugler.-They weren't kidding every hour - I heard it at 11 pm, Damona said she heard it a 2 am, 4 am....

 

    

Inside St. Mary's - This is the famous wooden altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss (Wit Stwosz)

Inside St. Mary's - look up to stars!

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Day 2 Sunday July 7 2013 - Krakow sightseeing - Wawel Hill

Breakfast at the hotel, then the next priority is Mass.  It's about 8:45 and we could have gone to St. Mary's, very near our hotel.  In the map below, our hotel is just above the red "1".  St. Mary's is in between the red "1" and "2".  But our plan was to tour Wawel Hill today, so we walked all the way to the yellow "1" to the Wawel Cathedral.  After mass we go directly to buy tickets at 10 am when the ticket booth opens.

 

   krakow map

It was longer walk than expected and we were a little late for mass at Wawel cathedral. Mass had already started.  We were lucky to find a portion of an empty bench in the back of the church to sit on.  You gotta admire these worshippers. If you are lucky enough to be seated in a pew, there was a kneeling board, but everyone else was kneeling on the hard marble floor.  Damona said that in the winter, you learned to put you gloves on the floor first and kneel on those.

 

 

After mass, we walked to the ticket booth and the line was already about 30 minutes long! There are daily limits to the number of visitors (they say "for conservation reasons") and the last entry is 1 hour before closing time.  We bought Audio guides and tickets to see EVERYTHING. There are 8 ticket (entrance fee in PLN and USD listed). The first three tickets had definite entrance hours:

Royal Private Apartments          25 PLN ~$8.5  (10:30 entrance)
State Rooms                          18              (11:30 entrance)
Crown Treasury and Amoury      18             (12:30 entrance)
Oriental Art                              3 
Lost Wawel                              1 
Dragon's Den                          10 
Sandomierska Tower                 4  
Leonardo da Vinci                   10  

Total 89 PLN. ~ $27 USD

 

WAWEL www.wawel.krakow.pl

Wawel. The Polish language does not contain the letter "V", so "W" is pronounced as a "V". So this the Polish pronunciation is "VaVel".
From Wikipedia, Eyewitness Travel book, and 1,000 Places to See Before You Die book

This is a fortified architectural complex, a citadel, erected over many centuries atop a limestone outcrop on the left bank of the Vistula river in Krakow, Poland
The complex has many buildings and fortifications; largest and best known is the Royal Castle and Wawel Cathedral
Oldest is Rotunda of the Virgin Mary dating to 970 AD.
Some wooden parts date to about the 9th century.

This was the Polish royal residence for more than 500 years.
The Wawel became a political power centre at the end of the first millennium AD and in the 9th century.

The first historical ruler Mieszko I of Poland (c.965-992) and his successors: Boleslaw I the Brave (rule 992-1025) and Mieszko II (rule 1025-1034) chose Wawel to be one of their residences.

At the same time Wawel became one of the principal Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque buildings were erected there including a stone cathedral serving the bishopric of Krakow in the year 1000.

From the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-œ1058) Wawel became the  royal residence and the capital of Poland.

Until 1611, the Wawel was the formal seat of the Polish monarchy; this was because Krakow was the capital of Poland from 1038 to 1569 and of the Polish-œLithuanian Commonwealth from 1569 to 1596. Later, it became the Free City of KrakÃw from 1815 to 1846; the Grand Duchy of Cracow from 1846 to 1918; and KrakÃw Voivodeship from the 14th century to 1999. It is now the capital of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship. Therefore the fortress-like Wawel complex which visually dominates the city has often been viewed as seat of power.

Wawel Cathedral was not only a place of coronation for the Kings of Poland, but also their mausoleum.

During the 20th century, the Wawel was the residence of the President of Poland; after the invasion of Poland at the start of World War II, Krakow became the seat of Germany's General Government, and the Wawel subsequently became the residence of the detested Nazi Governor General Hans Frank and Nazi headquarters during WWII.

Following the cessation of hostilities, the Wawel was restored and once again become a national museum, place of worship and centre depicting Poland's complex history.

wawel hill

Wawel - on the hill

Wawelll on the hill

 

Royal Castle and Private Apartments and State Rooms

 

Wawel State rooms

Once home to kings. It was built for Zygmunt I, the ruler of the Jagiellonian dynasty in 1502-1536.  It serves as a barracks at one time. And now it is restored recreation of how the royal residences appears in the 16th century.

Some ground floor room have retained their Renaissance wooden ceilings. The second floor apartments have preserved large fragments of original wall friezes

The Envoys Room, Deputies Hall - Sessions of the Lower House (Seym) were held in the presence of the king.

The astonishing ceiling coffer, reconstructed in the first half of the 20th century, shows 30 woodcarvings of human heads created in 1540. The original ceiling consisted of 194 of heads  was damaged at the beginning of the 19th century).

Tapestries commissioned by Sigismund Augustus are the most valuable treasure, and the only art object preserved from the original interior decoration. Woven in Brussels in the third quarter of the 16th century, they depict  biblical and grotesque scenes, entitled God speaking to Noah:  -The story of human life, and the coats of arms of Poland and Lithuania. There are also valuable paintings, Italian furniture, predominantly from 16th century Tuscany, and Polish royal portraits.

Renaissance portraits of King Sigismund the Old and of his daughter Anna Jagiello were painted by Marcin Kober. There is also an 18th century stove from the palace in Wiśniowiec.

Wawel State rooms

The Senatorial Room is the largest in the Castle and has tapestries that were untouched by the fire.

In other interiors among the objects that survived are marble portals and a magnificent early Roman Baroque fireplace,  as well as stucco ceilings, wall friezes, tapestries, paintings and funishings in The Governors Parlour, The Tournament Hall, The Planet Room, The Bird Room, The Royal Chapel  (built around 1602), The Eagle Room - original carved eagle ceiling was replaced inter-war period.

The Senators Hall -  The largest room in the castle for sessions of the Senate, important state and court ceremonies, royal weddings, theatre performances and balls. The first royal wedding, that of Sigismund I to Bona Sworza, took place here in 1518. The walls are decorated with large figural tapestries with biblical themes from Sigismund Augustus collection. A Classicist armchair has replaced the throne. 

 

We also toured:

Oriental Art Exhibit - Priceless trophies, Turkish carpets and prayer rugs; banners Persian the Turkish arms, Japanese and Chinese ceramics.

The Last Wawel Exhibit- You descend into an archaeological-architectural reserve.  It includes 10th century Rotunda of the Bless Virgin Mary, the remains of the royal stables from 16th century, and royal kitchens.

Wawel Hill - former buildings and fortifications - Bathory Courtyard (between the castle and the cathedral) in the middle.  Gates and towers protect the heavily fortified castle - Vasa Gate, Herbowa Gate, northern defensive wall of the lower castle. And 3 towers:"on  the Wawel": The Senatorial Tower, Theives Tower, and Sandomierska Tower 

Sandomierska Tower

We climbed the 137 steps to the top.

It was built around 1460 to defend the southern side of  Wawel Castle and royal apartments.

The tower was adapted to accommodate firearms and artillery. It has glazed windows, and a large chimney shaft that was connected to a tile stove on the third floor chamber.  The room may have served either as guards- quarters or as a prison for persons of high social standing.

In peacetime, the tower was used as prison. Confinement in the higher stories in the tower was regarded as "honourable punishment" and was reserved for the nobility. Common criminals were held in dungeons; one such dungeon survives in another of Wawel's towers are the aptly named Thieves's Tower. 

From the top of the tower - The Wisla  River - you can see the sports stadium

.Sandomierska Tower

 

From the top of the tower - Krakow city view

krakow from tower 

Krakow 

.Tower3

Crown Treasury and Armoury

 

Priceless objects from Crown Treasury

From the 14th century the insignia of royal power were stored here (crowns, sceptres, orbs, a sword, the Book of Gospels and a tray used in the ceremony of anointing a ruler), as well as a variety of valuables which were official state property.

Single objects were only removed on special occasions, primarily for coronation ceremonies. Lists were made of the Crown Treasury's content during regular audits. The first special public presentation of royal insignia took place in 1792. Three years later the Prussians broke into the Treasury and almost completely destroyed its contents.

Following the destruction of the royal insignia by the Prussians and the loss of almost all the treasures, the new collection, systematically augmented since 1930, only gives an inkling of the old magnificence of the place. Yet, it does include significant works of art, among them some historic artefacts, at the head of which is the Szczerbiec coronation sword - the most significant Polish historic artefact.

Casimir the Great's Room

The only remaining example of a formal apartment from the time of the last kings (the first half of the 14th century), with relics of a fresco bearing the monogram of Queen Jadwiga (the end of the 14th century).

A massive pillar that runs through the centre of all three levels of the Gothic tower residence is the inspiration for the name it was given: the Hen's Foot.

Today, the first room of the Treasury houses precious stones (dating from 2nd C. BC  to 18th C. AD)

Ceremonial Weapons room contains the spoils of war from 17th-century Polish military campaigns. Among these are trophies and equipment made in the most noted Turkish, Persian and Polish workshops of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Armoury

 

Shaft weapons, two-handed swords from the 16th and early 17th centuries, along with the sword used by Julius II of Brunswick's guardsmen is also very valuable.

Suits of armour - The complete German plated suits of armour from the 16th century's are examples of the medieval tradition.  A tournament suit of armour from the Court of Artus in Gdańsk made by the Nurembergian armourer Konrad Poler c. 1490.  Scaled suits of armour used in Poland in the late 17th and in the first half of the 18th centuries are real rarities.

Western European weapons from the late 15th to the early 19th centuries. There are medieval and modern swords, rapiers, and sabres, curved swords, hussar sabres, and a unique czeczuga (an Armenian sabre).

Hand and projectile weapons - rifles, arquebuses, patrinals and pistols, ivory-incrusted and with etched decoration, from German, Silesian, French, Spanish and Polish factories (16th to the early 19th centuries). Cross-bows used for hunting and sports

14th C. Gothic basement rooms (with a vault supported by a central pillar) has cannons, howitzers and mortars  and copies of banners captured from the Teutonic Knights at Grunwald in 1410 hang under the vault in the first basement, reflecting the tradition of bringing trophies captured from an enemy to Wawel Castle. These banners were recreated in the 20th C. from very detailed descriptions by Jan Dlugosz and miniatures by Stanisław Durinek in his work entitled Banderia Prutenorum.  

The Czartoryski art museum http://www.czartoryski.org/   is famous for the Leonado da Vinci painting, but the painting was located in special exhibition at Wawel,

LADY WITH AN ERMINE  - Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani

 

 
Artist: Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

circa 1490

oil on wood panel

Cecilia Gallerani was the Duke's mistress; only 15 years old.

Leonardo represented her holding an Ermine either because her name, Galle, means Ermine in Greek or because Ludovico Sforza's emblem was "L'Ermellino"

         

And at the same time in Atlanta (where I live): 

    

Dragons Den -After 3, or 4, or maybe almost 5 hours of touring Wawel Hill and all the state rooms and exhibits,
this is the last thing to see.  We turned in our audio guides and entered the "cave". 

 

You start at the top of the Hill. This picture is the side of Wawel Hill that we descended - they had installed a very very long, tall spiral staircase that went down, down, down, around and down, around and down.  As I went down into the depths, I  imagined that they used a rope, or some kind of rope ladder before the nice, sturdy, steel staircase was installed.  There were lots of people - no stopping on the stairs to rest.  Constant Polish chatter from kids loving the experience. At the bottom we paraded through the caves.  Vast rooms with dripping, damp water.
We exited through this gate at the bottom.


Wawel Dragon2

From the caves was told the story of The Wawel Dragon

A popular and enduring Polish myth from the 12th century of the Wawel dragon is brought to life on the lower slope of the Wawel Hill by the river, by a modern fire-breathing metal statue of the dragon.

The statue is situated in front of Smocza Jama, one of the limestone caves scattered over the hill. He is named "Smok Wawelski". He was a mystical beast which supposedly terrorized the local community, eating their sheep and local virgins, before (according to one version) being heroically slain by Krakus, a Polish prince, who legend relates founded the city of KrakÃw and built his palace above the slain dragon's lair.  


Wawel Dragon1

 

I was so tired, and I was hungry, so I was walking slow.  We found this wonderful looking restaurant with a great menu of traditional Polish food. But they had run out of food so they had to temporarily close for an hour to buy more food. We kept walking and found a decent buffet place. 

The next night we went back to the Polish restaurant and got a great meal.

 

Polish FOOD

Now seems like a good place to mention the food. Damona was really looking forward to eating some good Polish food again.  

Polish cuisine is rich in meat, especially pork, chicken and beef, and winter vegetables (cabbage in the dish bigos), and spices.

Cherry drink - with fruit on the bottom. And the nettle soup

Soups

 

Żurek Zupa pomidorowa - Tomato soup usually served with noodle or rice.

żurek - sour rye soup

Zupa grzybowa - mushroom soup - quite different from the North American cream of mushroom

Kartoflanka - Potato soup.

barszcz - beet borscht - had lots of this. Very good.

Chłodnik - Cold beet soup made of soured milk, young beet leaves, beets, cucumbers and chopped fresh dill.

flaki - tripe soup ( we did not have this)

Kapuśniak - Cabbage soup with chicken, carrot.

Zupa jarzynowa - Chicken with vegetables boullion base vegetable soup.


The Polish national dishes are

Pierogi - Boiled dough pockets filled with stuff

Pierogi Ruskie - filled with cheese, potatoes
Pierogi Tradycyjne - filled with port meat
Pierogi Wigilijne - filled with cabbage and mushroom

Kielbasa - sausage, many varieties
Kotlet schabowy - type of breaded pork cutlet
Gulasz - stew of meat, noodles and vegetables (especially potato), seasoned with paprika and other spices usually eaten with buckwheat kasza.

Kotlet schabowy - breaded pork cutlet

 

The side dishes are

Kartofle Gotowane - Simple boiled potatoes sparkled with parsley or dill.

Shredded root vegetables with lemon and sugar (carrot, celeriac, seared beetroot). A Cole Slaw blend of freshly shredded cabbage, carrots, mayonnaise and spices.

Sałatka Warzywana or Jarzynowa - Polish Vegetable Salad is a traditional Polish side dish with cooked root vegetables, tomato, potato carrot, parsley root, celery root, combined with cucumbers.
Sałatka Burakowa/Buraczki - Finely chopped warm beet root salad.

Kasza gryczana - Cooked buckwheat groats.

Sałatka Warzywana or Jarzynowa

 - A "Bouquet of salads"  shredded beets, cole slaw.

Kartofle Gotowane - Simple boiled potatoes sparkled with parsley or dill.

 

Desserts

Sernik Makowiec - Sweet poppy seed-swirl cake, with raisins walnut.
Sernik - Sernik (cheesecake) is one of the most popular desserts in Poland. It is a cake made primarily of twarÃg, a type of fresh cheese, eggs, vanilla, raisins and orange peel, served cold.
Budyń - Pudding, usually comes in many different flavors, such as sweet cream, chocolate, and even cherry.

Szarlotka - apple dessert

 

Lodi (ice cream

 

 

 

After dinner we went for a walk.

We found the train station - You had to enter the shopping mall, beautiful, modern, hundreds of stores and eateries shopping mall - take the escalator down to the train station.  What a modern system!  Kiosks for buying your ticket in English!  Well marked signage for the platforms. 

This was NOT THE CASE in 1992 when Damona lived here.  She told me about frustrating stories try to buy a ticket, and you hope the ticket if the for the correct train.

Then you hope you can find the correct platform and the right train to board. 

Damona said one time, she did not figure that out in time. The train was starting to pull away from the station and she realized that was the train she was supposed to be aboard.

She told Claudia that we visited the train station - and Claudia had similar frustrations with the language, signage, and getting help with the whole transportation process. 

I imagine you really did need to know the Polish language.

 

On our walk, we also found the Grunwald monument.  

The Battle of Grunwald was part of the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War.

Occurred 15 July 1410 (603 years ago)

It was a Decisive Polish–Lithuanian victory - They defeated the German–Prussian Teutonic Knights

It was one of the largest battles in Medieval Europe and is regarded as the most important victory in the history of Poland, Belarus and Lithuania. The battle shifted the balance of power in Eastern Europe and marked the rise of the Polish–Lithuanian union as the dominant political and military force in the region.

On December 11, 1939, the Nazi's build a wooden fence around this monument.  They began to demolish it.

The metal parts were sent to foundries. Despite the German guards, Polish were decorating the fence with flowers.

The demolishing was finished on March 6, 1940.

Before that, 4 Polish workers bribed the Germans guards and took away metal shields featuring the Polish eagle emblem and the Czech lion emblem, and King Jagiello's sword, and concealed them.

This is my photo from our walk that night in Krakow.


This my photo of an exhibit in the Schindler Factory museum.
These are the original elements of the demolished monument.
 1410.
.

This head laying in the middle of Rynek Glowny square commemorates the importance of the Grunwald monument (I think...)

Sunday night we moved our room in the hotel to an internal room that is not on the main street. 

It was a much quieter night - because it was Sunday night

 

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Day 3 Monday July 8 2013 -  Krakow sightseeing: Wawel Cathedral, Jewish Quarter,Schindler Factory

At the end of touring yesterday, we checked into going to the Cathedral Museum.

We decided NOT to do it yesterday and to start out with this museum today. 

Here is the Cathedral.

Wawel Cathedral

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That statue in front is who I affectionately kept referring to as "The guy"  as in THE POPE from Poland. 

He was archbishop Karol Wojtyla from 1963 until his election as Pope John Paul II in 1978.

 The guy - THE POPE

Tour The Wawel Cathedral museum

www.katedra-wawelska.pl
www.wirtual.katedra-wawelska.pl



The Wawel Cathedral aka "The Royal Archcathedral Basilica of Saints Stanislaus and Wenceslaus"
A Roman Catholic church
More than 900 years old
The current, Gothic cathedral, is the third building on this site:


the first was constructed in the year 1000 and destroyed in the 11th century;
the second one, constructed in 1142,was destroyed by a fire in 1305.
construction of the current one begun in 1320, the 14th century and complete 1364.

The Cathedral comprises a nave with aisles, transepts with aisles, a choir with double aisles, and an apse with ambulatory and radiating chapels.

The main altar, was founded about 1650.

The high altar was the coronation altar of Polish kings for 400 years.

The crypt beneath the Wawel Cathedral holds the tombs of Polish kings, bishops, national heroes, generals and revolutionaries.
Graves date from 1118.

Pope John Paul II considered being buried there also at one point in time, while some of the people of Poland had hoped that, following ancient custom, his heart would be brought there and kept alongside the remains of the great Polish rulers. (John Paul II was buried under St. Peter's Basilica, a papal burial site since antiquity, instead.)

Pope John Paul II offered his first Mass as a priest in the Crypt of the Cathedral on 2 November 1946.

There are 8 bells in 2 bell towers. The most famous is the Zygmunt (Sigismund) Bell in the Sigismund Tower.

Wawel Cathedral
 
Wawel Church map
 
Wawel cathedral tomb map
 

The crypt beneath the Wawel Cathedral holds the tombs of Polish kings, bishops, national heroes, generals and revolutionaries.

Graves date from 1118.

We entered the Royal Tombs at #20 on the map.  You descend the stairs and there is a wonderful aroma of flowers. There are many, many flowers piled on the tomb in the corner of room #21.

The photo below is #29 on the map is The Sarcophagus of Maria and President Lech Kaczynski.

The Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria were tragically killed in an airplane crash. The funeral was held in St. Mary's on 18 April 2010. The coffins are buried here in one of the crypts of Wawel Cathedral.


 Wawel Cathedral tomb

Permanent Exhibitions in the Wawel Cathedral Museum

Wawel Cathedral Royal Room
Wawel Cathedral Royal room 
Wawel Cathedral Treasury Room (11th - 16 Century)
Wawel Cathedral Treasury room 
Wawel Cathedral Treasury Room (17th - 20 Century)
Wawel Cathedral 
Wawel Cathedral Papal room
memorabilia related to pop John Paul II - his cardinal and papal clothes (cassocks, birettas, zucchetti and saches.
Wawel Cathedral 

 

Sigismund Bell at Wawel Cathedral

Named for King Sigismund I of Poland

Diameter 2.42 m (8 ft)
Total height (incl. yoke) 4.60 m (15 ft)
Weight 12,600 kg (~28,000 lb)
- body 9,650 kg (~21,000 lb)
- clapper (with belt) 365 kg (800 lb)
- yoke 2,160 kg (4,762 lb)
- other parts 425 kg (~1000 lb)

Caster: Hans Behem
Materials:  Bronze (80% copper, 20% tin), iron (clapper), leather (clapper belt), oak (yoke)

Cast in 1520. Installed 1521. New clapper in 2001.

The original iron clapper made about 12 million strokes during the 479 years of its history. It broke and underwent repairs in 1859, 1865, and 1876. After it broke again on 25 December 2000, it was replaced by a new one -œ paid for and cast by Krakow metallurgic companies on 14 April 2001.

Musical note F#
Earshot 30 km (19 mi)
Number of ringers 12 bell-ringers


The Royal Sigismund Bell (Polish: Dzwon Zygmunt or Dzwon Zygmunta) is the largest of the 5 bells hanging in the Sigismund Tower of the Wawel Cathedral.

It tolls on special occasions, mostly religious and national holidays, and is regarded as one of Poland's national symbols.



 

Left hand over your heart, and right hand on the clapper,

or was that right hand over your heart, and left hand on the clapper?

 Make a wish and it will come true.

 

 

View from the top of the tower

 

 

Damona descending the steps in the tower - one of the "smaller" bells hovering over-head....

 

After a couple hours at the Wawel Cathedral and museum, we got a sandwich at the cafe.  I also got some coffee.  That was relaxing - then came our big walk.

 

There is a wonderful "Cracow Sightseeing Tour" with a double-decker bus that you can hop-on and hop-off. Price is 55 PLN (16.66 USD) for one adult.  email: crasowsightseeing@gmail.com tel: +48 795 003 231. The bus stops at Wawel Castle, Koscuiszki's Mound, Jewish Quarter, Schindler's Factory, and City Center -where our hotel is located.  Perfect. Except that the bus runs every day of the week EXCEPT MONDAY. And today is MONDAY.  Ughh.. 

There are also many, many "tour guides" offering rides on their golf carts.  We didn't really want to do that, so we started walking.  South to Kazimiera - The Jewish district. 

On the way, we saw this:

 Church of SS Peter and Paul

The first Baroque building in Krakow. Erected 1580s.

Figures of the 12 Apostles are copies of the 18th century statues.



This the bralle version of the church.  No kidding.
Almost every place we visited had these "please touch this" model of the building. 
A bralle explanation is included.  The Wawel model was about 6 feet square (huge).
This is the model for the 12 Apostles church:


The front

The organ at the back of the church

Jewish District - The Kazimierz district

The Kazimierz district in Krakow was home to a significant Jewish community from the 14th century on until the Holocaust in the Second World War.

Founded in 1135 by King Kazimierz Wielki.  It had its own town hall, market square, and churches.  Religious persecution of Jews in Europe brought many here in 1330's.  In 1494 the king expelled Jews from Krakow and the defensive walls were built.   In 1820's Kazimierz was incorporated into Krakow and the wall were pulled down.

In 1939, about 70,000 Jews lived in Krakow.

During the Second World War, the Jews of Krakow, including those in Kazimierz, were forced by the Nazis into a crowded ghetto in Podgarze, across the river.

 

Sign in the museum:

The reasons given by the occupying authorities to justify the establishment of a 'Jewish residential district" were police supervision and health care. in the German propaganda, the Jews were presented as carriers of diseases. Isolating them was claimed to protect both the Germans and the Poles; in fact the ghetto was a labour camp, while its residents were a slave workforce exploited to the benefit of the economy of the Third Reich.

 

The area of the ghetto covered several streets, lined with 320 houses, usually one- or two-storey ones. Before the establishment of the ghetto, the houses were inhabited by some 3 thousand people, now they had to accommodate 17 thousand residents. In April 1841, during the Pesach, a holiday celebrated to commemorate the Exodus of Jews freed from slavery in Egypt, bricklayers began to build a wall surrounding the ghetto. The windows and entrances facing the Aryan side were walled in.

 

 

Most of the Jews were later killed during the liquidation of the ghetto or in death camps.

Only a few hundred survived the war. 

In 1993, Steven Spielberg shot his film Schindler's List largely in Kazimierz (in spite of the fact that very little of the action historically took place there) and this drew international attention to Kazimierz. Since 1993, there have been parallel developments in the restoration of important historic sites in Kazimierz and a booming growth in Jewish-themed restaurants, bars, bookstores and souvenir shops. Not only that, there are also Jews returning to Kazimierz from Israel and America. Kazimierz with Krakow, is having a "booming growth in Jewish population recently".

The current Jewish population in the city is around 200. They live in an "area about 300 by 300 meters in a some-what run-down suburb" (Lonely Planet). Only 2 synagogues continue to function.

 

The Old Synagogue, dates back to end of 15 century.  It now contains a Jewish History museum. 

We got there about 1:40 and they would not let us in because the museum closed at 2 pm.

 

Text on the sign in front of the synagogue:

 

The Oldest Synagogue - Stara Synagoga Szeroka 24 www.mhk.pl   email: statsynagoga@mhk.pl

Dear Visitor, The oldest synagogue in Poland, one of Europe's oldest synagogues, will attract your attention with the beauty of its Gothic-Renaissance interior. In its former prayer rooms for men and women, you will see various interesting exhibits which will provide a complete explanation of Jewish holidays and rituals as well as the home and family life of the Polish Jewry. This legend-surrounded site was where the "Jewish Town" began centuries ago. It is a must-see for all those who want to understand why tourists from all over the world begin their visit to Kazimierz a the Old Synagogue.


The Tempel Synagogue, still active. There is also an Old Jewish Cemetery.

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We walked to the other Jewish museum: The Galicia Jewish Museum

This is the text on the sign in front of the Galicia Jewish Museum's mural:

The mural was selected in an open contest. The winning project was designated by Krakow-based graphic designer Marcin Wierzchowski.


The project is inspired by a Jewish paper cut. I wanted to show the Israel that existed for centuries in Krakow during the Diaspora (on the right) and the Israel today that returned to the homeland and developed the modern state. Both worlds originate from the same roots, and their fate is guarded by Providence - the Hamse hands.
- Marcin Wierzchowski


The mural was completed in May 2013.

The museum was "in your face" pictures of the truth be told,

you CANNOT deny that it happened. Real experiences presented to educate. 

There was a large class of young students being educated. 

The teacher spent time in each area of the museum to tell them about The Holocaust: Site of Massacre and Destruction.

 

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Entrance to the main Auschwitz camp

Entrance to the main Auschwitz camp

The first prisoners arriving at Auschwitz were greeted with the following words by its commander:

 'You have not come to a sanatorium here but to a German concentration camp.

The entrance is through the main gate with the inscription Arbeit Macht Frei [work makes you free].

 

There is only one exit: through the chimney of the crematorium.

If there's anybody who doesn't like that, he can walk into the [electrified] wire [fence of the camp] right away.

If there are any Jews in the transport, they have no right to live longer than 2 weeks, priests for 1 month, and the rest for 3 months.

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Interior of a barrack in Auschwitz-Birkenau

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Interior of a barrack in Auschwitz-Birkenau

No one who was not present during those terrible times can say what Auschwitz was actually like.

Even though so much of the physical fixtures has been left behind

 - watchtowers, barbed wire, and the ruins of the gas chambers

 - none of it can adequately convey the reality of the horrors enacted there daily.

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Barracks like this (in the photo above and below)  were the 'living quarters' for the prisoners in the labour camp; through the use of three-tier bunks, as many as 800 people

 - starving, exhausted, and battling with lice -

were crammed into a building that was originally designed as military stables suitable for 53 horses.

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Auschwitz-Birkenau: the vast expanse of the labor camp

Auschwitz-Birkenau: the vast expanse of the labor camp

Prisoners who were set to work as slave labourers suffered and died in the most appalling conditions

 - overwork, starvation, sadistic beatings and other punishments, exhaustion after prolonged roll-calls in all weathers,

torture, shocking sanitary conditions, being used for so-called medical experiments, or arbitrary execution.

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Following regular inspections, those considered to be too weak to work were sent to their death in the gas chambers.

The unimaginably vast number of victims, the depths of the depravity of the perpetrators, the sheer scale of the operation

 - these things and more, are what has made Auschwitz synonymous with the evil of the Holocaust.

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Interior of the gas chamber still standing in the main Auschwitz camp

 

"Mummy, when they kill us, will it hurt?"

"No, my dearest, it will not hurt. It will only take a minute."

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It may have taken only a minute - but it is enough to keep us awake till the end of time.

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Whew. what a somber experience. It can't get worse than that was.

We ask the guy at the desk in the museum about the Schindler Factory.

He checked online and he told us that it was open until 6 pm (I think that is what he said). 

So off to the next sight to see.  So we are walking, walking, we cross the river over the bridge and we end up here

 - in the middle of this square with these chairs.  This is the Heroes of the Ghetto Square "Plac Bohaterwo Getta"

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Heroes of the Ghetto Square

 

The message on the sign says:

Auschwitz, Memory, World

Auchwitz goes beyond geographical, political, or social boarders (sic). It goes beyond imagination. Today we contribute the tomorrow's world whose principles and values are created in a total opposition to that that a human had experiences in Auschwitz. To understand this world and indispensable mechanisms to protect a man it is necessary to become away of the plausibility of threats. The responsibility of tomorrow can only be born within memory and awareness. And exactly this purpose serves today every single individual at the Memorial Site.


- Piotr M. Am Cywiriski
Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum


In the first line on the sign, I hesitated when I read "boarders" and I knew it should actually read "borders". I have to say that, it really used to bother me when I saw incorrect use of English words or grammar. But I have come to really appreciate the fact that they have made the effort and tried to provide an English translation. It helps me appreciate what I am looking at. The fact that an improper word or apostrophe was applied is not a problem. I think it adds character and a uniqueness to the translation. Thank you for the most appreciated effort of providing an English translation.

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Around this Jewish area, there are lots of people around, and tourist golf carts.

We follow the crowds, through a neighborhood, through a "tunnel" connecting neighborhoods. 

I'm guessing that was the controlled through-way from the walled Jewish district to the Schindler factory.

So we find the factory.  Take picture of the outside of the building, go inside.

There is no line becuase all of the tickets for the rest of the day until closing time are GONE! 

It is Monday Entrance if FREE on Monday, so many, many people visit on Monday.  Crud!

Now what.  We could not see the museum today.  Damona mentioned coming back tomorrow.

I said I was OK with just saying that we had seen the factory.  I didn't need to actually do the tour. 

I did not particularly want to walk all the way back here tomorrow, and if we got the car, it would be tricky trying to drive here. 

So a decision was made on Monday to just walk back to the hotel - but stopping at the Polish restaurant on the way. 

 

I think that is where I got the fried Zander (a white flaky fish) yum, yum and yum.

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Day 4 Tuesday July 9 2013 - Drive Krakow to Zakopane

Coffee and breakfast in the hotel restaurant.  I wanted to change some more USD into zloties (PLN), so Damona got directions (in Polish!) from the door man.

We walked a brisk 200 meters to the bank.  I had travelers checks, but I also US dollars. I figured travelers checks were safer to carry, so I exchanged the US dollars. 

The rate was OK, 3.238. I got 3.30 in Zakopane, but I only got 2.80 in Atlanta.

 

Walk back to the hotel, then we took a taxi to the airport to pick up our Budget rental car. 

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Damona did all the rental car and hotel arrangements (Thank you!).  We got all the insurance and a GPS that spoke English. 

That was super great to have because there is no way that I could have helped navigate in that language on those streets.

 

Rental Location:  Krakow, Krakow Balice Airport  Telephone ( 48-12-2855025 )

Return Location:  Warsaw, Warsaw Okecie F Chopin Airport  Telephone ( 48-22-6504062 )

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR RENTAL

Travel to Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania or Albania is forbidden.

 

This was interesting in the fine print of the rental agreement: 

Please be aware that with effect from 01 July 2012, a law will be brought into force, requiring every car in France to carry a single use breathalyzer kits. A fine of EUR 11.00 will be charged to anyone not carrying a breathalyzer kit in their vehicle from 01 November 2012. Therefore, if you wish to take your Budget vehicle into France you will need to ensure that you have a breathalyzer kit to avoid this fine.

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So we exit the airport and start to follow the directions from the GPS. 

Oops, a little stall in the intersection with traffic in both directions. 

Damona handled it great and we were on our way.  before we knew it, we were driving in the country back to the airport. 

Another little oops detour to find the correct road out of town. 

Before I left, I had done some research on Google maps and I brought those directions with me:

 

About a 2 hour drive to Zakopane  http://www.promocja.zakopane.pl/

From Google maps  Driving from Krakow to Zakopane 106 km, 1 hour 38 mins E77 and Route 47

 

  

Driving directions from Krakow to Zakopane
Suggested routes
106 km, 1 hour 38 mins E77 and Route 47
135 km, 2 hours 25 mins Route 47

1. Head south on Westerplatte toward Doktor Ludwika Zamenhofa 600 m
2. Turn left onto Starowiślna 400 m
3. Take the 3rd right onto Józefa Dietla 600 m
4. Turn left onto Krakowska 700 m
5. Continue onto most Marszałka Józefa Piłsudskiego 170 m
6. Continue onto Legionów Józefa Piłsudskiego 150 m
7. Turn right onto Kalwaryjska 1.0 km
8. Continue onto Wadowicka 850 m
9. Continue onto Zakopiańska (road South out of town) 5.7 km
10. Continue onto Góra Libertowska 1.7 km
11. Continue onto Myślenicka 5.3 km
12. Continue onto Route 7/E77 Continue to follow E77 47.8 km
13. Continue onto Route 47 Go through 2 roundabouts 40.8 km
to Zakopane

fuel cost: PLN54.62

I thought the fuel cost was a nice touch for Google maps. 

It seemed like Google maps were good directions, but I found out quickly that there is no way that I could have navigated us using those Google directions

 - the traffic and language was just too foreign.  I couldn't pronounce anything correctly.  So I am so glad that we had the GPS. 

We finally found our way to the highway (they call it a "motorway"), then it was a nice drive after that. 

Of course, I was just a passenger.  Damona had to deal with the fast drivers, honking behind us, so we change lanes and they speed by. 

Does anyone in this country really obey what we think we figured out was the speed limit?

The sign says 97, as in 97 km per hour.

On the highways there are electronic signs that display 2 temperatures - the air temp and the asphalt temperature . Why would you need to know the road temp?  Email me is you know the answer. Maybe so you know if you can cook eggs on the road?  Or the quality of the road is worse at certain temps so you have drive slower?  I don't know.

Ha! Maybe to know the condition of the road. Anyway, the top temperature says 26.4 C. 

Here are some signs we saw on the road.

Gas price is 5.38 to 5.59 (per liter) for grade 95 (is that octane?)

 

Check out these signs:

Deer crossing for the next 1.5 km

Speed limit is 70 and it is photo enforced.

?No blue vehicles allowed?

?A tractor, a horse-drawn carriage, and a bicycle may use this road.

 

Look out! Don't hit a pedestrian!

    

 

Little girl with a balloon crossing the road:

 

You are entering a town

You are in the town, and the speed limit is 70

You are leaving the town

Late afternoon, we got to the hotel.  GPS took us right to the parking lot.

Damona reserved all our hotels on Booking.COM. In Zakopane, for 2 nights we stayed at:


Hotel Sabala
Address : Krupawki 11 Zakopane, 34-500 Poland
Phone: +48182015092   Email: recepcja@sabala.zakopane.pl



Cost was  PLN 686.11 + 54.89 VAT (8%) = PLN 741 + PLN 80 for 2 days in their parking lot

So cost for 2 nights was $254 (or $127 each).


It was a very nice hotel in a perfect location - right on the main tourist walking street "Krupowski"  We could look out our window and see the pedestrian street below.

 

 

 

On this "central promanade", there were many shops, restaurants.

here must have been a hundred places selling ice cream, which is "Lody" in Polish.

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We walked down the street and found a wonderful place for a late lunch.  Gazdowo Kuznia   http://www.gazdowokuznia.pl/index.php/gazdowo-kuznia-en

Damona got the best meal.  I tasted one of her Pierogi ruskie.  Yum.  

Here is the restaurant and the receipt with Pierogi ruskie. At another restaurant, I got "Pierogi z niesen". That wasn't as good at the ruskie.

 

   

 

 

After eating, we walked to the Mt. Gubalowka funicular. 

Lonely planet says it is a "favourite destination for those tourists who don't feel like giving their legs too much exercise."

 

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Once you are at the top, this sign indicates that you can take a cable car, a 2-person chair lift, a 4-person chairlift, ski down, or ski jump. 

None of those options are available in the summer time.

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This bear and wagon with 2 (very hot) dogs is the first thing we saw at the top.


This sign indicates there is a chair lift here, and a half hour hike to the left.


 

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Talk about an obstructed view - ZORBING balls on the side of the mountain.

 

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So maybe you just asked "What is Zorbing"?.  Here is a picture of me zorbing down a mountain Tennessee. 

I got INSIDE this ball, and bounced down the hill. What a blast!

The two balls on the left have people inside.  The track on the right side of the picture is returning the empty balls to the top of the mountain.

 

 

Now back to Poland, and now we're talking. THIS IS A VIEW!

 

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Day 5 Wednesday July 10 2013 - hike

 

Damona got up earlier than me. I got up at 7:45. It sure felt nice to sleep a little later this morning.

We had breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Damona was studying this hiking map of the trails in the Tatras Mountains.  There was a little paragraph description about each dotted line on this map.


I told Damona I wasn't in great cardio shape, so she was very nice to pick out an easier hike that went to a lake.

When we went to the front desk to get directions. The girl at the desk  told us that hike was going to be very very crowded.  And there was very limited parking now (because we didn't get up at the crack of dawn). And it was very near the border. She said people on wheelchairs and families with small children do that hike, so be prepared for crowds.  The hike is on a paved road.

That did not sound like something that we wanted to spend the day doing.  So she recommended this other "blue" trail hike.

She gave us directions to ride the bus - go out to the end of this road and the bus stop is right there and take the bus to Kuznice.  We waited at the bus stop at the end of the street. We waited, waited at the bus stop. There was no bus with a sign going to Kuznice.

Damona walked to the corner and saw a bus turning the other direction that was going to Kuznice. So we left the bus stop where we were waiting and walked up the street and found the bus depot and there were buses waiting to take us where we needed to go. 

So we get to Zuznice after a short (10 minute?) bus ride. Here was this big map and we found the "blue" trail. 

 

So we start up with the trail.  It was very wide and there was a bunch of (a lot of) other people. The wide stone path went up, up, and up. Up. And Up. Lots of people.  A whole huge big bunch of chaperoned kids. What the?!?.  We get to a place where the trail is blocked that there is a house taking toll. We pay the toll. 42 PLN each. Keep going up.  We get to a (ski) lodge.  It a place for known skiing. I can see lift chairs. I have to eat something - my cheese sandwich that I made with bread from the breakfast table.

We've been hiking about an hour.  Damona realizes that we are not on the blue trail that we wanted. We wanted the blue trail that went to the lake. This trail does not go to the lake.  This trail goes on for another 2.5 hours and it does not end up at a lake. Now what do we do?

We opted to turn around and go back down the trail.  Back to the beginning.  Go a little further to the beginning of the other blue trail. 

At the bottom I bought a sweet roll and some Poweraid to drink.   We had another toll gate. Damona was smart to have saved the toll receipt from the other trail so we didn't have to pay again. 

So we find the trail that she wanted to do in the first place. 

Here is the sign for the trail we wanted Hala Gasienicowa This trail has a hut where we anticipated I would stop, and then Damona would continue to the beautiful views at the lake. 

So I start up this trail with Damona. She is very sweet and tries to stay behind to let me set the pace.  Yeow.  This is HARD!  This trail is a lot more narrow than the other trial. Maybe 6 feet wide and not a single flat surface to step on it is all rounded rocks that you have to balance to step on (as you can see in photo below.  And this trail was STEEPER. 

This is a tough hike (for me).  Oh yeah, did I mention it is steep.  Much steeper grade than the other "blue" trail hike. I lasted about 40 minutes (after the first hike was about one hour already)


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After almost 2 hours of what I would call, not easy hiking, I told Damona that I was just not enjoying this. Maybe if I was in better shape I would have liked that.  I did not see the sense in flying around the world to sweat on a steep hike to a lake, when I could do the same thing at home in the North Georgia mountains.

It probably is a beautiful view at the top and a pretty lake, but I can see that in Georgia any time, so I just could not enjoy doing that on my vacation.

So I turned around. I walked very very slowly down. Now I enjoyed that because I knew it was ending soon. I visited this manor-park complex in Kuznice and enjoyed the nature exhibits museum an the Carriage house.



After my relaxing touring, I found the bus back to Zakopane. I had a nice, slow walk down the tourist-laden crowded pedestrian street. There is so much to look at - artists, musicians to stop and listen to, performers to watch.  The guy playing music while his dog laid on his back was drawing quite a crowd. I can't imagine why. It's a dog laying on his back!

I found my way back to the hotel.  I ordered a bowl of goulash from the restaurant.  I sat out on the balcony and watched the people. Now that is a vacation.

Now back to Damona.  She had hours and hours more of hiking. And she took some beautiful photos.



1 
Rough (not smooth) trail, beautiful scenery

 
         Nuns hiking!



Here was the final destination: Czarny Staw Gasienicowy - The Lake.





 

Damona at The Lake

 
 



 

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Day 6 Thursday July 11, 2013 - drive Zakopane to Czestochowa

The plan for this day was to drive from Zakpane to Czestochowa.

Before we get in the car for the 4-hour drive,  Damona, being the adventurous,

on-the-go type that she is, planned one more visit to mountains this morning.

She was up early again and off to take the cable car to the top of Kasprowy Wierch. 1987 meters high. 

Yesterday, we saw the long line of people waiting for hours to ride up. 

So Damona was in line by 7:30 am and she was on the first car to the top. 

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There is a requirement that you have to stay at the top for 2 hours before they will honor your ticket back down. 

It was very foggy at the top but she was prepared with postcards to write.  She did not have to wait 2 hours before she could ride back down.

The Pope was up there!

 

 

I had finished breakfast and I went out to the hotel balcony, and there was Damona walking up the steps to the hotel.

She was back from her morning adventure.  Perfect timing because it had just started to rain.

We went up to the room to get our luggage.  It was pouring rain as we were loading our luggage.  The porter at the hotel did not help us.  He did NOT get a tip.

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So we are on the road to our next city.  We were supposed to go from Zakopane to Czestochowa (pronounced "Chestahova"). 

This sign is a map of that route. Zakopane is at the bottom of the map and Czestochowa is at the top.

There are many, many churches that you can stop and see all along the way.  It looks like a very nice route for a religious tour. 

 

 

Well, we decided to divert our plans today.  We were disappointed about not seeing the Schindler factory on Monday when we were in Krakow.

Damona suggested we drive back to Krakow to see the factory, then we could continue to Czestochowa (Chestahova). 

I did not look forward to trying to find the factory Krakow, but the GPS was doing such a great job, and Damona was willing to drive back to the big city, so here we go - back to Krakow. 

She entered the address of the factory in the GPS and off we went. 

There is no way we could have found it without the GPS, and it really helped that we had already walked there 3 days ago. 

We were in Southern Krakow and near the area of the factory, and Damona saw the Heroes of the Ghetto square and she knew exactly where we were.  

She parallel parked on a side street, then we walked to the factory.

Oskar Schindler's factory   http://www.oskarschindlersfactory.com/

Oskar Schindler Factory Krakow Street: Lipowa 4

On Monday free entrance only for individual tourists. Please note that the number of free tickets is limited. This means the earlier You come the better.

Normal entrance ticket price is 19 PLN ($6 USD). They also have reduced, Group, children, senior, family ticket prices
Last entrance 90 min before the exhibition is locked down.

Exhibition is About:  

Subject of the permanent exhibition in the Oskar Schindler Factory is about Krakow Under Nazi Occupation from 1939 till 1945.

Details of the exhibition:

History of Krakow city and it's inhabitants are the main topics of the exhibition presented in the Schindler Factory.

You can find a story about NAZI Germans that arrived into Krakow on the 6th September 1939 as well.

The new bigger exhibition consists of much more than you can usually find in a typical Museum all around the world.

The exhibition space is so well distributed that when you walk around the tourist route You can feel like almost in a theater that is because of elements of stage design and multimedia solutions.

Krakow's past has been recreated here in an evocative way in order for you to experience it in almost tangible way.

The exhibition precisely presents the tragedy of the II world war as well as every day life of the whole city of Krakow in a personal and collective dimensions.

The reality is presented in Various aspects at: recreated hairdresser's salon, stereoscopic studio, typical Krakow basement apartment, in the street, etc.

It is also presented in documents like : period photographs, ordinary objects, newspapers, personal and official documents.

It takes from 1,5 hours to 2 hours to visit the grounds of the Oskar Schindler Factory.

The facility located at Lipowa 4 is far more than a museum.

You can find here as well: attractive educational activities, a bookshop, a cafe, a cinema, and a temporary exhibition area.

 The wartime is pictured on videos on which natives speak about their feelings at the time of the war therefore you can feel their personal comments.

 

Sign on Schindler Factory

Fabryka Schindlera
Schindler Factor
1939-1944

Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.
- Talmud Yerushalmi, Sanhedrin 4:12

Oskar Schindler
1908-1974

Plaque erected by: Jewish Community Council of Cracow Students and Faculty of Albion College (Michigan, USA)

The medal for the Righeous Among the Nations awarded to Schindler by the Yad Vashem in 1963 feature a line from the Talmun: He who saves one life, save the world entire". And how many worlds did Oskar Schindler save? If it weren't for him, there would not be me, and there would not be my family either, nor our descendants - my daughter and my two grandchildren, my brother Rysio's tow sons, my cousin Olek's children. The children and grandchildren of the others saved by Schindler... How many worlds did Odkar Schindler really save, the, when he save 1,200 people? They are countless....
-Bronislawa (Niusia) Horowitz-Karakulska

Here is the Schindler factory building. The famous gates where workers entered are in the middle. 

In the windows in the photo above, notice the pictures of some of the Jews that Schindler saved

Now read this quotation by Hans Frank: 

From Wiki:

Oskar Schindler (28 April 1908 – 9 October 1974) was an ethnic German industrialist, German spy, and member of the Nazi party who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his enamelware and ammunitions factories

He is the subject of the 1982 novel Schindler's Ark, and the subsequent 1993 film Schindler's List, which reflected his life as an opportunist initially motivated by profit who came to show extraordinary initiative, tenacity, and dedication in order to save the lives of his Jewish employees.

1936 - Schindler joined the intelligence service of Nazi Germany.
1939 - joined the Nazi Party. He collected information on railways and troop movements for the German government.
He was arrested for espionage by the Czech government but was released under the terms of the Munich Agreement in 1938.

1939 - He obtained an enamelware factory in Kraków, Poland, which employed around 1,750 workers. A thousand were Jews

He protected his Jewish workers from deportation and death in the Nazi concentration camps. Initially Schindler was interested in the money-making potential of the business. Later he began shielding his workers without regard for the cost. As time went on, Schindler had to give Nazi officials ever larger bribes and gifts of luxury items obtainable only on the black market to keep his workers safe.

1944 - Germany was losing the war and began to close easternmost concentration camps and evacuate prisoners westward. Many were killed.

Schindler convinced the SS to allow him to move his factory to Brünnlitz, thus sparing his workers from certain death in the gas chambers.

Using names provided by a Jewish Ghetto Police officer, he compiled and typed the list of 1,200 Jews who travelled to Brünnlitz in October 1944. Schindler continued to bribe SS officials to prevent the slaughter of his workers until the end of World War II in Europe in May 1945, by which time he had spent his entire fortune on bribes and black-market purchases of supplies for his workers.

Schindler moved to Germany after the war, where he was supported by assistance payments from Jewish relief organizations.
After receiving a partial reimbursement for his wartime expenses, he moved with his wife to Argentina
When he went bankrupt in 1958, Schindler left his wife and returned to Germany, where he failed at several business ventures and relied for financial support on his Schindlerjuden ("Schindler Jews") – the people whose lives he had saved during the war. He was named Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli government in 1963 and died on 9 October 1974.

In 2011, I saw the cemetery in Jerusalem where Schindler is buried.

A postcard:

The enamelware that the produced in the factory


THE MUSEUM

The TKS tankette

A small Polish reconnaissance tank,

Armour thickness 3 to 8 mm

Armed with Hotchkiss machine gun model 1925.

The crew numbered 2 soldiers.

The TKS was designed in Poland in the 1930's partially on the basis of a British model.

A globally innovative solution in the tankette was the turning periscope that enhanced its area scanning function.

In 1939, the TKS tankettes formed the bulk of the Polish armoured forces. Their task was to provide reconnaissance and backup.

During the fights in September 1939, the tankettes were also used for infantry support and took part in the fights against German tanks. Due to insufficient armour and armament, they sustained severe damage when confronted with German armoured forces and anti-tank artillery.

Only the TKS tankette armed with a 20 mm caliber heavy machine gun FK-A model 38 could confront German light tanks on equal terms.

Unfortunately, before the outbreak of the Second World War, very few of them had come into use.

Eight TKS tankettes armed with a 20 mm HMG served in the 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade which fought on the territories to the south of Krakow.

TEXT of some SIGNS in the Museum

Krakow 1918-1939

After 123 years in bondage, Poland regained independence in 1918, Krakow continues as the cultural capital of Poland. After the long decades of Germanization, school children from all over Poland traveled to Krakow to learn about their Polish identity in Wawel, in Rynek Glowny, and in the churches.
During the Interwar period, Krakow was a city full of contrasts, with the powerful conservative bourgeoisie and Catholic clergy on the one hand, and the active socialist movement on the other, supported by the masses of workers at the factories in Podgorze. In 1923 and 1936, there were huge socialist and communist demonstrations in Karkow. They were pacified bloodily by the police and the army.

One fourth of the residents of interwar Krakow were Jews. Despite regular appeals from the extreme rightist circle to boycott Jewish shops, and numerous anti-Semite policies and excesses, Jews were highly placed in the Municipal Council, lectured at universities and managed large enterprises.
In the 1930's the population of Krakow was increasing by approximately 5,000 each year (4,000 were people coming to Krakow in search of jobs.
Krakow was entering the 1940's with bold plans.

THE LAST MONTHS OF FREEDOM

March 27, 1939. The Polish government floats a loan for anti-aircraft defense and artillery - HOWEVER, the collection of money for the fund continued. Donations came from indigent people who lacked cash so they offered only valuables, such as wedding rings, jewelery, and other mementoes. We shall also underscore the generosity of children who gave away the model content of their money boxes to the Defense Fund. (IKC, no. 101, p.20)

May 6, 1939. The action of subscribing to the Defense Fund Load is over. 11,500,000 PLN/zlotys collected in Krakow and 23,100,000 in Krakow Province.

May 11, 1939. The board of Associations and Owners of Cinemas and Theaters stops showing German movies. All press distributors stop selling press in German.

June 16, 1939. The court sentences gunner A. Kitzinger to death for being a German spy. Then death sentence is executed the next day.

August 5-6, 1939. Marshal E Rydz-Smigly at the meeting of the soldier of the Polish Legions in Krakow: "We shall use every means to wholly oppose every attempts at violating the interests, the laws, and the dignity of our country"

August 9, 1939. M. Kot a worker at a military unit in Krakow is put to death for the betrayal of state secrets.

August 15, 1939. Celebration to commemorate the anniversary of the 1920 Polish-Soviet battle of Warsaw .


The Germans moved into Poland FAST, as in 1 week:

In 1939:  190,500 Poles, 68,480 Jews, 500 Germans. The population of Krakow was 259,000.

May 1943:  151,900 Poles, 20,900 Germans, 8,700 Jews, 1,900 Ukranians

Rynek Glouny square was renamed Alter Markt, then it was Adolf Hitler Platz.

Once Jews were liquidated, the Poles would be resettled to Podgorze.

The German occupation was 5 years 4 months, 12 days.

September 3-4, 1939

September 5-6, 1939

 

September 7-16, 1939


 

This is the wall they built around the Jewish district in Krakow:

 

I am so glad that we visited the Schindler Factory.  After the museum - walk back to the car, and drive Krakow to Częstochowa.

We had some tolls on this drive

The toll charge when Damona  was driving: 9 PLN.

We found our hotel in Czestochowa.

 

Czestochowa hotel Thursday July 11

Hotel Wenecki
Address : ul. Berka Joselewicza 12 Częstochowa, 42-200 Poland
Phone: +48343243303
Email: recepcja@hotelwenecki.pl


PLN 148.15   VAT (8%) included  PLN 11.85   Total Price  PLN 160
 
Hotel Wenecki is situated 2.3 km from the Jasna Gara Monastery and offers free on-site parking in the backyard. Częstochowa Giawna Train Station is 700 metres away.  

Hotel Wenecki is located in a renovated tenement house in the centre of Częstochowa and offers elegant rooms with flat-screen TVs. Guests can play billiards or relax on the sunny terrace.

37 rooms at Wenecki are decorated with Victorian-style wallpapers and offer modern conveniences, including satellite TV. Each one has modern bathroom with shower and a hairdryer.


Room Details : Features a TV with satellite channels, as well as a bathroom with shower and hairdryer.
Internet Wi-Fi is available in all areas and is free of charge.
  

 

The restaurant serves Polish and Mediterranean cuisine and features murals of Venice.

There also is a 24-hour drink bar, where guests can enjoy a game of darts. Buffet breakfast is available at surcharge.

 

The GPS took us directly to the Hotel. The problem was where to park.

We drove to the end of the street. Construction on the intersecting street made it look like there was a drop-off that you could NOT drive through. 

Damona started backing up when a nice guy on the sidewalk said it was OK to drive on the construction street.  So we turn around.

Go back to the front of the hotel. When we check in they opened the gate to the parking in the "back yard". Damona did a great job of squeezing the car into the teeny spot they designated for us.

We're on the third floor. No elevator. I started dragging my suitcase up the stairs and someone from the hotel came to carry it up for me.  That was nice.  The room was big.

We put our stuff down then went directly down to the restaurant to eat.  I was starving. 

Damona ordered something delicious - shredded, fried potatoes on the bottom, and ? on top.  I should have written it down.  I got the meat perogi's.  They were OK.  I should have stuck with the russkie (cheese and potato) perogi.

After dinner, we went out to walk around and look for this huge monastery. 

We turned toward a church that we saw and found this:

"Krakers Computery"

and

Holy Family Metropolitan Cathedral

The sign on the church:

One of the largest churches, not only in Poland but also in Europe. The cathedral was erected is (sic) stages 1901-1927. Neo Gothis, masonry with bricks; architectural details made of stone and sandstone, the church as three aisles, an elongated presbytery and its facade is topped with two towers. Interior finishing made of Scandinavian granite obtained from a demolished monument of Tsar Alexander II.

 

Except for the nave, the windows and rosaces have stained glass ornaments depicting some important events from the nation's history. Under the Holy Virgin Mary of Czestochowa chapel there are graved of Czestochowa bishops. Since 1925, after the establishment of the Czestochowa diocese, the church has served as a cathedral and today is a metropolitan cathedral.

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We should have gone opposite direction. 

In map below

The arrow from the top is pointing to where our hotel is located.

The arrow from the side is pointing to the Holy Family church.

The big green blob in the middle of the map is reason people come to this city: to visit "Jasna Gora" shrine and monastery.

  

We found the big major road  - Aleja Najewietezej Maryl Panny. Look to the end of the road and see this:

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Half of this pedestrian walkway was still being built.  They are getting ready for major influx of tourists. 

They also need some more hotels and elevators in those hotels.

At least they have the fast food - There is sign for McDonalds above the KFC sign:

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It was getting late, and dark, so we walked back to the hotel.

Day 7 Friday, July 12 - Tour Czestochowa, drive to Warsaw

Really good breakfast at the hotel.  They had about everything (except porridge).

We packed up, loaded the suitcases into the car and drove up the road to the monastery. 

About 10:30 AM - found a great place to park on the street.  We walked through the park in front of the monastery. 

Looks like they allow skateboard, bike, and roller blades, but are limited to a speed of 10 km/hour. Too funny.

 Here is tour information about Czestochowa and Jasna Gora

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We entered through the Monastery Gates:

One the map: #20 The Lubormirskis' Gate, #19 The Gate of Our Lady of Victory (the Queen of Poland), #18 The Gate of Our Lady of Sorrows

From the tour book: The Lubormirskis' Gate, the Stanislaw August Gate, the Gate of the Sorrowful Virgin Mary, the Bank (or Jagiellonian) Gate

This is The Monument of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski:

Text on the SIGN in front of Jasna Gora:

Jasna Gora (Bright Mountain) is a spiritual capital of Poland. Here, in front of the Holy Picture of Mother of God called "The Black Madonna", generations of Poles did entrust Her with their fates and the fate of Poland as well, believing and recognizing the Lady of Jasna Gora as the Queen of Poland. The cult of Miraculous Picture of God's Mother was supported by Polish sovereigns from its beginning of the 16th century. Later, in 18th century or earlier, the cult crossed borders of Poland and first spread out in other European countries, then in other parts of the world. At present, Jasna Gora is one of the most important pilgrimage centres of Christians. About 4 million people from 80 countries come here and visit the sanctuary each year.

The complex of basilica and Pauline monastery has got both religious and historical significance. It is the highest-class monument of sacral and military architecture famous also for its rich collection of art and various things historical value. The following objects are the most important places there: The Chapel with Miraculous Picture of God's Mothers, Knights Hall, Library, Refectory (Dining Hall), Sacristy, banks with stations of Crucial Way, Treasury, Museum of 600th Anniversary of Jasna Gora, St. Roch Bastion, Golgota of Jasna Gora, a series of painting by Jersy Duda-Gracz inspired by the Passion of Christ, and the 106-meter high tower, so unique and characteristic for the sanctuary.
More information is available on site.

 

We went directly to the Information center to rent audio guides.

The priest behind the desk said there is a big group coming at 11 AM.

He doesn't know if they have their own headsets so he doesn't want to give us one.

It was 10:15. He gets up from his chair behind the counter and proceeds to lead us into the Basilica and give us a personal tour. 

It took me awhile before I could understand his accent and he was talking very fast. We went everywhere around the whole place, inside , up, down. 

1382 begin building, then it was rebuilt.

he wrote something in my book here   "KOBIETA I SWIAT NIEMAJA LAT"  It means: "For women and work, don't count the years."

"coptic" means Catholic, but not under the jurisdiction of the pope.

1599 Bible is finally translated to Polish.

This is the "BazyLika" - "The Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Founding of the Holy Cross" aka "Basilica of the Holly Cross and the Nativity of the Virgin Mary"

Very ornate white ceiling. The front altar:


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The "BazyLika" organ in the back - The organ has 105 pipes + 15 pipes in the front so there are 8000 pipes total.

 

The Black Madonna

The most important icon of the Catholic faith in Poland, depicting the Virgin with the Christ Child, was probably painted in 1434 on top of an older Byzantine icon - the original Black Madonna, which was damaged by robbers in 1430.

The worshippers are standing in #30 The Adoration Chapel looking toward #1 The Chapel of the Miraculous Image

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The Black Madonna has specific times when she is "unveiled" so you can walk, or some devouts were crawling on their knees around her.

You enter on the left, go behind, then exit on the right side.

St. Paul is on the left of the Black Madonna.

Interesting information from the pamphlet

The image of Our Lady of Jasna Gora, also known as the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, having dimensions of 121.8 x 81.3 cm, depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the Child Jesus on left hand. The image represents monumental and dignified iconographic structure of a Bizantine Hodigitria, the one who points the way to salvation. She is a Guide, leading the entire humanity to Jesus Christ.
According to the legendary tradition included in the narratives, the image was supposed to be taken from Ruthenia by the Polish Prince Lasdislaus of Opole, After he founded the Jasna Gora Monastery in 1382, he entrusted the Icon to the care of the sixteen Pauline monks, who arrived through Hungary.

The Image was created most likely in the second half of the XIII century as the Balkan Icon. It was painted with tempera on a canvas, which was attached to the surface of the three lime tree boards, with nimbi carved in them around the head of the figures.

In the years 1430-1434 the icon was the subject of an extensive renovation in Krakow in the court of the King Ladislaus Jagiello. It took place after the robbery and assault on Jasna Gora, which was most likely committed by the Hussit Iconoclasts from Bohemia. At that time the fill in of the painting has been completed as well as come formal transformation, which gave the image characteristics of gothic art. The image of Our Lady of Czestochowa in the present form is a unique example of a harmonious combination of Bizantine art of the East with the Latin culture of the West.

Four diagonal slashes crossing each other, which are visible on the right cheek of the Blessed Mother, are real cuts made by a sharp tool. they are gradually deepening the in the layers of the paint, going as far as injuring the background. Two longer slashes, on the face and on the neck, were pointed out by being painted with vermilion as blood scars in order to commemorate a sacrilege done in the year of 1430.

The heroic defense of Jasna Gora in 1655 during the Swedish invasion became a very important event in the history of Poland. In the spirit of thanksgiving for saving the painting, the monastery and the entire country, King John Casmir made his vows in 1656 in Lvov, in which he appointed the Mother of Jasna Gora the Queen of the Polish Crown. From that day Jasna Gora became a throne of a victorious Queen and a place where everyone could confide to Her all their individual, family and national issues. Blessed John Paul II entrusted to her his entire Papal mission with his famous motto: "Totus Tuus ' "Totally Yours, Mary!"

 

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The crown and robes are changed about every 4 to 5 years on the black Madonna. 
Here are some throughout the years:
 
In the museum - the actual crown and robes:

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After we saw the Black Madonna, the priest took us up to the "The Golgotha Gallery" where the painting of Jersy Duda-Gracz are on display.  www.m.jci.jasnagora.pl

The gallery was open to the first level below and we could hear that mass was in session - Mass in KapLica Our Lady's Chapel.

These were painted 2000-2001. The paintings are number #2582-2599 (so there is 18? of them?)

The paintings are inspired by the Passion of Christ

One is labeled:

Golgote Jasnogorska

Jerzego Dudy Gracza

The way he painted Jesus eyes very spooky. Jesus has very big, wide open eyes Not sure what is the right word to use here...

And now, my meanderings/ministrations about these paintings by Jersy Duda-Gracz inspired by the Passion of Christ:

 Damona and I were talking about these the day after we saw them.  I was trying to find the appropriate adjective to describe them.  Damona said she really like the paintings. My response was that I did NOT like them. This was a case where I just didn't understand what I was looking at and I didn't know how to appreciate what I was seeing. 

They were painted from the context of the suffering of the Polish people - the feelings of the Polish hardships were reflected in each painting. They portrayed the suffering of the polish people. yes. that it did.

The paintings were  different from the traditional. That is why my response was that I didn't like the paintings. I have to come to admire and expect the traditional. And here is something that was not traditional. Here is something so unique from such a perspective that the Polish people can relate to, they can be pulled into Jesuss' suffering and they can relate to the horrific injustices.

When I was looking at the paintings, I was not comfortable with, or rather I did not understand the perspective of what I was seeing.

I do not appreciate tourists who are disrespectful at a site because they don't know the history of what they are seeing, or where they are. Like the very LOUD, aggressive man in the Sistine chapel. I was trying to absorb the ere of the place, and I couldn't because of his distractions. Being honest, I can say that I am also guilty of not knowing how significant some places that I have visited. Only when I come home and write these endless travel journals do I come to realize the importance and impact of the place where I physically visited.

Right now I'm really struggling with knowing that I was in Tahir Square 2 years ago, and just last week 1000 people were killed in Egypt. I can picture their encampments. When we were there, we became frustrated with the transportation strike and how long it took us to get to the Egyptian Museum on the square. These people are changing the course of history in their own country. I didn't appreciate the hugeness of what was happening.  I was just an observer. I shouldn't have those boisterous expectations to be catered to) as a tourist). 

That was digression!

The priest took us to more museums.

They had a Rosary made of bread - it was made/used in Auchwitz.

A Monstrance" made 1670.

Ceremonial "Mace"  there are 8 of them. made around 1650.

Nothing in English here. All items labeled in Polish. So they don't want foreign tourists. The construction down the middle of the street will encourage groups of tourists but they need hotels.

There are 90 priests and 30 brothers in the monastery.

Jan Pawel II papiez John Paul shot.  And the black Madonna saved him. 

We were rush, rush, rushed everywhere around the monastery and basilica.  The priest was talking fast and moving quickly to get us through the tour fast.  Then he phone rang. The other big tour group had arrived and he had to go to the front.  Whew.  Now Damona and I could leisurely walk back to things and absorb what we just saw....

It started to rain. Really, really, hard rain.  Very very wet people came running into the chapel.

We still tried to locate and look at everything.  At one point we were trying to find the Treasury.  It was right above the Sacristy - which looked like a very off-limits place for tourists.  I showed the man at the Sacristy door the picture of the Gold embroidered robe and ask him how to get to see it.  He walked us right into the Sacristy, through the room, exit the back of the room and he pointed to the steps going up.  There was another entrance from the outside of the building where others were coming in from the rain.

After hours of touring, time for lunch. We found a great place to get some pasta.  Yum.

Then back to the car and drive to Warsaw. When we got near the airport, Damona stopped to fill the rental car up with gas.

Then we followed the airport signs for rental car return.  It seemed awkward to leave the car in the parking garage, level 4, but we did.  Then haul our luggage into the terminal where we turned in the car keys.

Next was a taxi to the hotel where the IFMA tour starts.

 

Continue with Part 2  Pre Congress IFMA Tour of Northern Poland - See Poland Journal Part 2

 

 


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