September 13 (Tuesday)

Breakfast at hotel had one of the largest spreads and with excellent coffee. We were all ready and waiting for the guide at the scheduled 7:45 am. Bob had all luggage loaded up.

Left the hotel at 8:05 am for the Black Madonna monastery in Czestochowa.
Sister Teresa was our guide, her enthusiasm and knowledge was very enjoyable. There was too much too see and digest specially for me. I need to learn more about it.

In general a very impressive and enjoyable place. The history of Poland is entwined in religion and wars and is very obvious in all the places we have visited, specially so here.

One unfortunate incident, where a woman tried to pick Joe's pocket and ran away when Joe turned around.

Left for Auschwitz around 10:30 am and reached around 12:30 pm. We have both read and seen much about it, and were not convinced that seeing it in person does anything more or shows respect for the unfortunate who were tortured and perished in these camps. We stayed out at both camps while the others went in. It was a beautiful day, warm and dry with a nice breeze. Unfortunately even now such atrocities and more are still going on around the world.

Lunch at Paragon Fishkalny, a self service fast-food place across from Auschwitz.

Óswieçim is the Polish name for Auschwitz and Brzezinka Polish name for Birkenau, it is also known as Auschwitz II. Both Auschwitz and Birkenau are German names.

Left Birkenau at 3:00 pm for Wadowice.

On the way crossed the Sola (a tributary of Wisla) river. Passed the chemical factory next to which was another camp where only English speaking prisoners were held. The factory is for gasoline and rubber.

The scenery changed to rolling and winding roads.

Arrived at Wadowice, the birthplace of John Paul II. Visited the Church where he was baptized and attended. The Church is right next to his house, which is under renovation.

The Church was Baroque style but subdued and welcoming.

We had to all get cream cakes, that were made famous by John Paul IIs reference to it during his speech in 1991.

Part of the drive was through winding country roads and then Hwy #7, which Gregortz warned us was the busiest and the most dangerous road in Poland.

Checked into Polski Pod Bialym Orlem Hotel (The Polish Hotel Under The White Eagle) which has an interesting history. It is a privately owned hotel, one of the oldest in Krakow opened in 1815 as "The White Eagle Tavern" in an old historical complex of buildings.

Across the street is the Gallery of Ancient Art (Galeria Sztuki Starożytnej), which was displaying Egyptian Artifacts/arts. On the other side was a McDonalds that Julie was happy to see and patronized and supported the American Polish economy.

Dinner at Farina, a Mediterranean restaurant and one of the very few that serve lobster.
Food B+
Service B

Polska Pod Bialym Orlem Hotel.
Facilities B
Service B+,
WiFi Fickle

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