A few have asked me what I liked the best about my trip to Poland. Well, first and foremost, it was meeting some of my relatives. Hand down, that was the best best best part of the whole trip.
But aside from that, I did have a few favorites. Maybe it was because after we’d been there a while, i became more accustomed to being in a foreign country, but my overall favorite cities, in perhaps this order, were:
I guess I liked Kraków best of all for a few reasons. First and foremost is the history of it. To climb Wawel hill, to walk through the churches where Polish kings, royalty, and all sorts of famous people had tread was an extraordinary experience. I cannot really explain it, but i felt the heart and soul of Poland there. To see the tombs of kings was amazing. To climb the tower at St. Mary’s where they saw the Turk invading hundreds of years ago–outstanding. To make purchases in the sukiennice where traders traded thing long ago was awesome. And to just wander the streets and mingle with the people was a fabulous experience. So for all those reasons, I pick Kraków as number one, and as the city I’d most like to go back to spend more time in.
Zakopane was excellent as well but for other reasons. I guess a lot of it had to do with the mountains and my feeling of being close to the Górale, the mountain people, since that was my grandfather’s heritage. We had an excellent meal there, and afterwards entertainment by a Górale band, and it was wonderful. I have some video from that which I’ll have to post some day. Of course seeing the Tatras Mountains was fantastic, too. I loved it. And seeing the local architecture, eating some Osćypek, seeing how it was made–all of it felt “connected” to me in some way. Add to that our stops in nearby Ludzmierz where my great-grandmother was born, and Krauszów, where my great-grandfather was born, and it was quite a moving experience.
Finally, I enjoyed Gdańsk quite a lot. Part of it was the touristy-ness of the area. Part of it was respect for the birthplace of Solidarność. Part of it was because I have relatives there and know I’ll be back for a visit. And the river/canal…very pretty. And maybe it was partly because it was the first city I visited.
As I think more and more about it now, I’d really want to add all the places I visited to the list, because all were very special in some way. I’m sure there are some I’ll never visit again, but I know for sure I will visit some again. And again and again, I hope. It’s a wonderful country and I’m looking forward to returning again soon.