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Published: August 11th 2009
Czestochowa Częstochowa, Wrocław, Karpacz, Kamiena Góra - Poland, July 20th-30th, 2009
View from the tower of Jasna Gora
After leaving Krakow, we began our journey to my hometown of Wroclaw. We stopped along the way in the pilgrimage town of Czestochowa for a brief two night stay. Czestochowa is one of many major pilgrimage sites for Christians around the world. This particular place is a pilgrimage site because of the painting of the Black Madonna which resides there. The painting is believed to have started bleeding when it was cut by invading Hussites in 1430, who after seeing the bleeding retreated in fear. This was percieved as a miracle of God, so to this day, hundreds of people from all over Europe gather for mass in the chapel that holds the painting.
Two days later we were finally in Wroclaw... or more specifically in Olesnica where my aunt lives. For the second time in our trip we had all the comforts of home thanks to my aunt. After making several day trips into Wroclaw, I can now say with confidence that this is my favourite city in Poland. We have seen all the major Polish city's on this trip now, and Wroclaw has just
as much history as any of them, but at the same time is a modern and vibrant city once you leave the old town. We managed to hit a few clubs with my cousin and his fiancee, which as usual ended not so good for me. I also had a chance for the first time since I left Poland to go and explore my old neighbourhood. Everything was just like it used to be, except for all the new buildings and the fact that everything old looked about half the size that I remembered.
While in Wroclaw we had the luxury of using my aunts place as a base to travel around the south western part of Poland. We took a week long trip first into the mountain vacation town of Karpacz. Again we were kindly taken in by friends of my parents (thanks again Jagoda & Gregosz) who have a small Pension right at the entrance to Karkonosze National Park. We spent one day climbing another decent size peak (Sniezka), and the next we got to see the surrounding area up close and personal thanks to our kind hosts. On our way back to Wroclaw we made a
Eating lunch in the town square of Kamiena Gora
stop in Kamiena Gora, where my grandparents used to live. Although there is really nothing to see there, we went back to visit some old friends and inevitably get drunk with them. And we did. Really drunk! After sobering up, I spent a day showing Andrea all the places where I spent time as a kid, and took her to the best pierogi place in the entire world... Bar Smyk in the center of Kamiena Gora. When I could no longer stuff any more pierogies into my new fat belly, we left back to Wroclaw. After a brief two night stay, we set of on our way to Prague with one more stop along the way, the home town of my friend Terrible Tom. He happened to be visitning Poland at the same time with his family. This again was a pretty messy three days. I would write more about our time there, but I don't really remember all that much, as we hit two party's in three days. I do remember seeing a really nice castle, Ksiaz, which along with its kilometres of surrounding tunnels, was to be one Hitler's main fortresses in eastern Europe.
By the end
of these last two weeks, we are quite ready to leave Poland. Everyone here is too nice, and keeps putting food and vodka in front of us. Since we have no self control, we eat and drink... and eat and drink. Now that we are leaving Poland behind, we quit eating and drinking for a while. Next stop, Prague, Chech Republic.
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