Poland Day Fifteen Sopot And Oliwa. So Nice To See The Sea Again.

After our tour of Gdansk we  boarded a local train for the short 15 minute ride to Sopot. Along the way we passed the famous shipyards of Gdansk where Lech Walesa began the solidarity movement that, with the help of Pope John Paul, brought down the Communist regime in Poland. gdansk poland shipyard

We soon arrived at the train station in Sopot and walked through this resort town  seeing some of it’s famous landmarks,

including the famous “crooked house”.

We walked into the square which contained many restaurants and shops. One of them was serving this delicious looking treat, waffles, ice cream and strawberries. 

It was well past lunch so we decided to eat,  and this time, something besides traditional Polish food.  So we stopped in the Avocadoa Japanese style restaurant.  The food was delicious, one of the best Japanese meals I was ever served and I have eaten in a lot of Japanese restaurants on this planet. I never would have thought I would have such great Japanese food in Poland. 

After lunch we walked down to the beach. It was good to see the  Baltic Sea again. I last saw in it Helsinki Finland when I toured Scandinavia. Photographs and comments about this trip can be found in the archives of my blog. 

As my sister, niece and guides walked the pier I found myself photographing the many shore birds in the waters next to the pier. 

I enjoy watching the seagull and other shore birds and can spend hours at a beach photographing them. I was watching three seagulls interact and was ale to learn it was a family and mommy was feeding her youngster. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw  at Sopot. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Sopot-birds-April-22-2017-

I wish we could have stayed here for a few hours, or days, or weeks, but it was now getting late in the afternoon and we still had a few stops planned before our train ride back to Warsaw. . We walked back to the train station and took a short trip to Oliwa a section of Gdansk.   Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to Sopot. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Gdansk-Sopot-beach-April-22-2017

Our guides chose a visit to Oliwa for two reasons, one was the beautiful 16th century Oliwa Cathedral, and the other a visit to, reportedly, the best pierogi restaurant in Gdansk, Mandu. 

We left the train and walked the peaceful streets of this quiet town to make reservations at the Mandu restaurant. We were told there was a line and it would be an hour wait. Kasha volunteered to wait in the line in the hope of getting a seat for us and we continued on to the Cathedral. 

It was a nice walk in the late April sunshine, and we made our way through a tree-lined park with canals, 

flower gardens,

and ducks. 

As I had  found in every city, town and neighborhood during my visit to Poland there was always some sort of remembrance to the horrors of the Nazi occupation during World War II.

We arrived at the Cathedral

just as a local orchestra was starting to rehearse  for a concert. So we were able to view the beautiful altars, 

painting and

relics as they performed soothing classical music. Here is a link to the music on. my YouTube channel https://youtu.be/ddWQ8HUrk9s

As do most churches in Poland there was a memorial, altar, painting or statue of the Polish Pope, Pope John Paul II. Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to the Cathedral. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Oliwa-Cathedral-April-22-2017-

We were hungry but we hadn’t heard form Kasha so we walked back to the restaurant to still find long lines and a half hour wait. We all tried to implore the hostess of our plight, we had a train to catch, and we wanted to try the best pierogi in Poland, but it didn’t work.  

We left, disappointed and hungry and took the local  train back to Gdansk. As we waited for a train we all watched the antics of this local cat in a yard next to the train station. Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to Oliwa. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Oliwa-walk-April-22-2017

After a short wait at the train station in Gdansk, and an interesting visit to the bathroom,  we were soon on our way back to Warsaw. I had a surprisingly good meal, for train food, on the ride. .

We arrived back in town late and I was soon in the hotel, realizing the next day would be my last in Poland. I also started planning my return. It is a wonderful country. And I have so much more to explore.  

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”- Andre Gide

 

 

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Poland Day Fifteen A Train Ride To Gdansk And Poland’s Baltic Coast.

It was another early start on Saturday morning.  No time for breakfast. We met our young guides Kasha and Karol  in the lobby of our hotel around 6:00 am We  then proceeded to the nearby  train station. Our train left Warsaw at 6:15 am. 

It was a three hour ride to the city but the train was modern and comfortable and I enjoyed watching the passing scenery under the April sunshine. .  Our train crossed over the bridge I walked to on my first morning in Warsaw and we were soon outside the city limits. 

The train traveled through mainly rural areas, farms,

and woodlands, occasionally passing a small town or industrial area. 

It was a pleasant ride and the countryside again reminded me of my home in Northeastern Pennsylvania. We began to pass larger  towns and commercial areas  and  I knew we were near Gdansk when we passed the magnificent Malbork castle, home of the famous Teutonic Knights. We wanted to stop here  but there was no time on our schedule this visit. Hopefully I will get back to visit it since it is one of the largest  castles in Europe. 

We arrived at the grand old train station in Gdansk under sunny skies but still cool temperatures. Here is a link to some more photographs taken from the train on the ride to Gdansk . http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Gdansk-train-ride-April-22-2017- 

We set out on our walking tour of this 1000 year old city, once a member of the Hanseatic league and one of the richest cities in Europe. 

Unfortunately, like so many cities in Poland there was much destruction during the war but much of the city has been rebuilt. 

We walked the busy streets of the city and entered the old town through the Highland Gate that was built in  the 16th century. The gate is the beginning of the Royal  Way that takes one through the medieval city and ends at the Green Gate. Here is a link to some more photographs from our walk to the Highland Gate. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Gdansk-Walk-to-city-gate-April-22-2017 

Once inside the gate,  you immediately were transported back in time and felt like you were walking in the city of the Middle Ages. 

The narrow streets were filled with many statutes and artifacts that were salvaged from the ruins of the destruction left by World War II. 

And there was  the splendor of the reconstructed Gold Gate that was the entrance to the main Avenue of the city,  Ulica Dluga. 

We leisurely strolled the old street taking in the many wonderful sights including the small shops along the way. 

It was now late morning and we decided to have breakfast.  We  found a charming little place,  the Cafe Bar Mon Balzac  where we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast. 

After breakfast we walked over to the impressive Church of St. Mary. This massive church is the largest medieval brick church in Europe. 

It’s construction was began in 1343 and took over 150 years to complete. 

We first made the long, and exhausting climb  up the 410 steps to  the tower,

and we were rewarded with spectacular views of the city below and the surrounding towns and Baltic Sea to the north. 

To the west were the shipyards which Lech Walesa and the solidarity movement made famous. We enjoyed the magnificent views in the strong northerly wind and then made the long climb down the 410 steps to continue our visit to the church. Here is a link to some  photographs  from the church and tower. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Gdansk-St.-Mary’s-Church-part-two-April-22-2017-

The church was filled with may splendid paintings and artifacts which adorned the many altars. 

I enjoyed the medieval astronomical clock, it reminding me of the one I  visited in the cathedral in Lund, Sweden. Here are some more photographs of our visit to St. Mary’s church. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Gdansk-St.-Mary’s-Church-

After leaving the church we continued our walk through the old town and past the town hall and the famous Fountain  of Neptune. 

We soon came to the Green Gate, which ended the Royal Route. We walked through the gate and onto the old streets and rive walk along the Motlawa River. Here is a link to some more photographs of our walk through old town Gdansk. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Gdansk-old-town-April-22-2017-

 

Passing through the gate was like walking into another world. We gazed up the blue waters of the Motlawa River canal and the ships, buildings and Ferris wheel, which seems to be present in all river and port cities around the world these days. 

The large ships in the canal attest to Gdansk’s importance as a port and trading center, and to which it’s wealth over the centuries could be attributed. 

We walked along the river walk taking in the beautiful scenery and watching this crew team practice on the calm waters of the river. 

We also had time to visit one of the many amber shops in the city. Amber, fossilized tree resin is another source of the wealth of Poland’s Baltic coast over the centuries. My sister and niece enjoyed the many items for sale and even I, not  being  a big shopper, purchased a small insect encased in amber millions of years ago. 

We walked along the river and the many shops but had to leave this wonderful place and exited  the river walk area of the city through one of the many ancient  gates. 

We walked the  streets of the city, passing  quaint, well maintained housed, many adorned with symbols of their proximity to the sea. 

As we made our way back to the train station we passed a number of squares churches and monuments depicting the long history of the city. 

And like all cities there  were all kind of products for sale. I just photograph, I don’t judge. 

We passed another nice park before finally arriving at the train station, where we were going to take a train to another part of Poland I have not yet explored, the sea coast! Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to the river. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Gdansk-Motlawa-River-walk-April-22-2017

“You have sea, you have boat, you have oars, and then why on earth you are rotting in the port?” 

Mehmet Murat ildan

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Poland Day Six: Walking In The Footsteps Of A Great Man: Karol Józef Wojtyał

After arriving at the Hotel Grodek in Krakow,  I  set up my electronics in my room and soon was in the lobby meeting my guide for the afternoon, a friendly and knowledgeable fellow by the name of , Adam. I arranged for him to drive me to Wadowice, the birthplace  of my favorite Pope, Pope John Paul II. Poland Day six Wadowice drive-3

Adam spoke fluent English, having taught himself listening to tapes and talking with tourists.  We talked about the history and customs of Krakow and Poland as we drove through the busy streets of the city. We soon were on scenic country roads passing small towns and farm lands. Poland Day six Wadowice drive-32

it was a most enjoyable one hour ride and I learned so much about the everyday life of a Polish family as we road through the beautiful countryside. Poland Day six Wadowice drive-10

We tried to visit the hilltop monastery  located in the town of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska   but the road was closed to traffic because of holy Thursday services. Poland Day six Wadowice drive-9

We soon made our way to the small town of Wadowice,  where Karol Jozef Wojtyal was born and roamed the streets as a child.  I had admired John Paul II since I first learned of his selection as Pope on a sunny warm October Day while in Philosophy class at King’s College. My philosophy teacher asked any person of Polish decent to stand, wherein, he informed and  congratulated on the selection of a Polish Pope. Poland Day six John Paul II sanctuary -33

I have followed this kind, loving and  man from that day until the time of his death. I was fortunate to have traveled to Rome and attend his funeral. I have read many of his writings and the biographies written about him.  To walk the  streets he walked and to see  the house he was born in,and the church he attended was a very fulfilling and emotional experience for me. Poland Day six Wadowice Basilica -22

It was raining as we walked through the town square and entered the church where he attended mass , prayed and served as an altar boy, the church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.Poland Day six Wadowice Basilica -4

 There was a service being conducted, but, the priest, when asked by my guide, was kind enough to let me photograph and share this beautiful  church.  I reflected on how it much have looked to young Karol attending it while a child. Here is a link to some more photographs of the church. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Six-Wadowice-Basilica-Thursday-April-13-2017-Poland Day six Wadowice Basilica -12

The Pope was born, and was raised in the house next to the church. It was now a museum but, unfortunately the museum had closed for the day.Poland Day six Wadowice Basilica -17

It was raining so I didn’t get to walk around the town but my guide did take me to a shop where we got enjoy the Pope’s favorite dessert, kremowka.  As a boy, he and his friends would save their money to buy and share this cake. It was delicious. Poland Day six Wadowice drive-23

We drove back through the scenic countryside and entered Krakow at the end of the rush hour traffic. Poland Day six Wadowice drive-35

My guide next took me to visit the impressive, and newly built,  John Paul II Sanctuary.  It was built with the intention of being one of the main shrines devoted to this great man, Pope and recently canonized Saint. Poland Day six John Paul II sanctuary -38

The shrine had many paintings, exhibits and personal possessions of the Pope, including blood stained robe he had worn during the assassination attempt that occurred in May of 1981. The Pope was never quite the same after this incident yet he forgave the man who tried to kill him. Poland Day six John Paul II sanctuary -31

There are many beautiful altars located in the shrine and I wish I had more time to spend and reflect on them. But we had one more stop and so I had to leave this beautiful place dedicated to the life of this saintly man. Here is a link to  some more photographs from my visit to the Sanctuary. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Po;and-Day-Six-Krakow-John-Paul-II-Sanctuary-Thursday-April-13-2017-Poland Day six John Paul II sanctuary -24

 

We next drove the short distance to the  Divine Mercy Sanctuary, which is also the final  resting place of the Catholic Saint,  Faustina Kowalska.I will confess I did not know much about this Sanctuary or Saint but I knew my mom, a devout Catholic would be glad I stopped to visit. Poland Day six Sanctuary of Divine Mercy. -1 Poland Day six Sanctuary of Divine Mercy. -22

This Sanctuary was also just built recently. I took a quick tour of the beautiful interior of the sanctuary including a few of the many splendid altars.  Poland Day six Sanctuary of Divine Mercy. -2

We then proceeded to the viewing tower were we took an elevator to the top and were treated with spectacular views of the city of Krakow. Poland Day six Sanctuary of Divine Mercy. -8

After taking in the view, and a lot of photographs we took a quick walk through the grounds of the sanctuary. Here is a link to some more photographs of the Sanctuary. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Six-Krakow-Sanctuary-of-the-Divine-Mercy-April-13-2017-Poland Day six Sanctuary of Divine Mercy. -25

and a quick look inside the altar of the older Sanctuary adjacent to the new one. it was not nearing sundown and i was hungry and tired so my guide left me off at the Hotel. I was glad to have met Adam and i learned so much from his informative tour of Wadowice and Krakow.  Here is a link to some more photographs from my tour. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Six-Krakow-Sanctuary-of-the-Divine-Mercy-April-13-2017-Poland Day six Sanctuary of Divine Mercy. -27

It was late, so after a quick shower headed into old town Krakow where I had a nice dinner of, of course pierogi and mushroom soup, at the Wesele restaurant located near the Main Square.  poland Day six krakow evening -10

The skies  had cleared and, although it was a bit cool, it was a nice night to again stroll the cobblestone streets of old town Krakow.poland Day six krakow evening -7

I wish I could have stayed longer but it was another long day, and i was on the road again in the morning so I had to head back to my hotel. Here is a link to some more photographs from my evening walk. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Six-Krakow-evening-hike-poland Day six krakow evening -12

 

“The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.”
Pope John Paul II

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Poland: Day Two : Getting Acquainted With Beautiful And Historic Krakow.

After leaving the airport,  and being a little tired from the long flight, I decided to take a taxi to my hotel, rather than lug my luggage to the train station. My driver spoke no English but, after a few mispronunciations by me, he finally understood the name of my hotel, the Hotel Grodek in Old Town Krakow.  Poland taxi-8

I always  enjoy that first ride through the streets of a foreign country, and that contradiction of everything being so different, but yet sort of the same.  There are streets with cars and pedestrians, businesses and homes,  trees and flowers, as there are everywhere in the world, , but always with some  difference , sometimes subtle and sometimes  drastic.  In Poland I was immediately surprised at how  similar the countryside was to my home in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  I came to love those gently rolling hills covered with birch, pine and aspen trees. Poland taxi-3

We drove the 20 minutes from the countryside to the city which I would soon become so much more  familiar, and endeared to. . Here is a link to some more photographs from my taxi ride to my hotel.http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Two-Taxi-to-Krakow-April-9-2017- Poland taxi-15

Upon entering the city we veered off the mains streets to a quiet nook located in an ancient part of Krakow where  the  delightful modern Hotel Grodek is  located in a historic  medieval building. The staff spoke English and were most accommodating. I loved the old building, which in fact contains a museum. I also loved  it’s beautiful rooms and, most important, it’s location a  few minutes walk from the main square in Old Town Krakow. There is more information on this hotel, which I will visit again,   if you right click red highlighted link. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-4

It was around two p.m. when I arrived at my hotel, and I didn’t waste time taking advantage of it’s  central location. I was tired but that was going to stop me from exploring this  historic city. After quickly unpacking my luggage I was off on the cobblestone streets of  Old Town Krakow. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-9

I walked a short distance on Na Grodku, the  street where my hotel was located and onto busy  Sienna Street with it’s many shops and restaurants. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-12

It was only a few short blocks until I entered in to  the hustle and bustle of the Main Market Square, one of the largest town squares in Europe. And it has been around for a long time having been laid out  in the 12th century.Poland Krakow afternoon walk-22

The twin towers of St. Mary’s Basilica dominate the square which was filled with both tourists and local residents celebrating Palm Sunday, an  important Holy Day in Catholic Poland.Poland Krakow afternoon walk-15

 The air was filled with music from ,many street performers and the aromas of foods cooking at the  many restaurants surrounding the square. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-20

And on the other side of the massive Cloth Hall, another building dating back to the Renaissance period, I found even more crowds of people watching the performance of local groups celebrating Polish culture, (here is a link to one  of the performances) https://youtu.be/irGpLdrewrgPoland Krakow afternoon walk-29

 

 

shopping at the many outdoor stands,Poland Krakow afternoon walk-25

or consuming traditional Polish foods. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-26

I continued to walk the  ancient cobblestone streets and came upon the planty, the park that surrounds the old town. It was once the location of the moat surrounding the medieval city but was drained and now is an oasis of green separating the old town from the streets of the modern city. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-37

I walked past  many old building and statutes, including this statute of Nicolaus Copernicus, who studied at nearby Jagiellonian University.Poland Krakow afternoon walk-43

I came to the end of the planty and found myself looking up, for the first time, at the massive walls of Wawel Castle.Poland Krakow afternoon walk-52

I knew I would visit this castle a number of times in the next week so I took a quick, but exhausting walk to the top  walls to get a  look around. I was treated with a view of the winding Vistula River below and  my first peek at the old churches and historic museums within the walls. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-59

After taking in the view, I made my way back through the streets of old town, this time walking past the many historic buildings and churches,Poland Krakow afternoon walk-51

including the famous St. Andrew’s one of the oldest churches in the city. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-80

Wanting to see as much as I could this first day I again walked through the main square and to the to the  remains of the wall that once enclosed the old town. I stood at the old gate and imagined the many travelers  who would entered them over the centuries. Kings, peasants, merchants, soldiers and travelers each having their own impressions, like me, upon seeing them for the first time. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-55

I purchased a ticket for a tour of the massive fortification know as the Barbican. Again, I imagined the   defenders who patrolled and fought off the many assaults on the city throughout the many centuries. It was the first line of defense for the residents living within  the city walls. Poland Krakow afternoon walk-101

It was now late afternoon and a combination of my tiredness and hunger ended my tour. I made my way back along the planty to my hotel, observing some of the feathered residents of the city. Here is a link to some photographs I took on my first walk through the streets of old town Krakow. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Krakow-walk-to-Wawel-Castle-April-9-2017Poland Krakow afternoon walk-86

The plan was to shower, get a quick meal and get some sleep. I showered and walked to  nearby restaurant recommended by the staff of the hotel, the Kogel Mogel.  I had a delicious meal of  the traditional Polish food pierogi, mushroom soup   and goatcheese cheesecake for dessert. I was very tired from my long trip but I didn’t accomplish the third part of my plan. There was a full moon and I decided to walk back to the main square.Poland Sunday night -15

It was a good decision as the old town was enchanting under the light of the full moon. Poland Sunday night -40

I walked the streets for about an hour, listening to the music of the street performers and the conversations and laughter from the many people dining at the outdoor cafes on this warm Spring evening. Poland Sunday night -29

It was the perfect way to end my first day in the country of my grandparents. I returned to the hotel excited to see more of this beautiful in the morning. Here is a link to some more photographs from my evening walk. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Two-Sunday-evening-walk-April-9-2017-

Poland Sunday night -27

“Cities were always like people, showing their varying personalities to the traveler. Depending on the city and on the traveler, there might begin a mutual love, or dislike, friendship, or enmity. Where one city will rise a certain individual to glory, it will destroy another who is not suited to its personality. Only through travel can we know where we belong or not, where we are loved and where we are rejected.”
Roman Payne

 

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Poland Day Eight: Saturday April 15 : A Morning Walk Through Not So Boring Czestochowa.

I awoke refreshed this morning , having had another good night sleep.  It took me a few days too adjust to the time change but looks like I have done it. It was overcast and cool when I left my hotel next to the  Monastery for a hike to  again explore the maligned city of Czestochowa. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning hike to river-3

I say this because all of the tour books I had purchased before  my trip indicated that, besides the Monastery at Jasna Gora, the location of  the portrait of Our Lady of Czestochowa or the Black Madonna,  there was little to do here.  Before my visit I imagined it would be a small factory and farming village. How wrong they were, as my walks yesterday and today have shown me.  Like yesterday, I again proceeded down the main avenue, which, because of the early hour was mostly deserted. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning hike to river-2

I just love roaming the streets of different cities. I enjoy looking at the storefronts, the restaurant menus, the offices and even the advertisements on the billboards. They teach you so much about a country and it’s people. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning hike to river-9

I walked beyond the town square, where I ended my walk  yesterday  and, as usual in Poland, found more churches,Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning hike to river-23

and other building of interest, including this modern cinema. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning hike to river-12

I walked on over the active railroad line, both passenger and cargo. . It was this railroad right of way,  built in the early 1800’s,  that connected Vienna with Warsaw that helped start to develop Czestochowa from  a sleepy medieval  village  into the modern city of a quarter million people it is today . 

Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning hike to river-16

As the main avenue ended the city became more commercial , especially after I crossed over the famous Warta River. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning hike to river-28

I am not positive, but I would guess this plant provides most of the city with it’s electric needs. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning hike to river-29

I crosses another small river the Kucelinka and found myself in a more modest residential neighborhood. Still, the homes were all well maintained and many had beautiful yards. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning hike to river-2

I came across this  little church, as I said there seems to be churches are everywhere in Poland. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning hike to river-7

I was now entering the picturesque Polish countryside that I have, until today, only saw from the windows of a bus. I enjoyed hearing the crowing of the roosters in the distance. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning hike to river-9

As I saw from my bus rides there seemed to always be a statute, cross or monument strewn with flowers along the way and sure enough I found this cross today.  I was about three miles out from my hotels now and decided it was time to return. Here is a link to some more photographs from the first part of my hike today.  http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Eight-Czestochowa-Saturday-morning-walk-part-one-April-15-2017-Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning hike to river-19

On my way back I encountered some chickens and one of those roosters I heard on my walk out into the countryside. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning return hike -6

I  retraced my steps back to town and  decided to head toward the steeples of this church I saw in the distance. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning return hike -2

I walked through some older run down neighborhoods to get here, but it seemed old structures such as these where being torn down and replaced with modern ones. Czestochowa, appeared, to me anyway, to be a growing town with a lot to offer. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning return hike -14

And with a lot of history. I was I had more time to learn about these many old buildings that are found throughout the modern city. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning return hike -17

I came to the church steeples I saw in the distance and learned it was the Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Family. I learned it is a new church, by Polish standards, being built only a hundred years ago. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Family -1

I decided to  have a look inside and found  a few worshipers at this early hour. . I learned photographs were allowed, as they are in most churches, although many of the older folks do not appreciate it. However the priests seem very willing to allow the beauty of their churches to be shared. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Family -23

The interesting thing about this church was the audio of a bird singing that was being played in the church. I spent a few minutes admiring the statutes, altar and structure. Here is a link to some more photographs of the interior of this beautiful church. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Eight-Czestochowa-Cathedral-Basilica-of-the-Holy-Family-Saturday-April-15-2017-Poland Day Eight Czestochowa Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Family -24

I continued my walk through some mixed residential and commercial neighborhoods.  Like in the States they too, have garbage trucks. As I have found all over the world, folks pretty much live the same way and do the same things, eat, sleep, grow old and die, All of us.   So sad that there is so much hate in the world, mainly because we don’t get to know one another better. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning return hike -25

I made my way back to the main avenue and, just as I was thinking how much I enjoy my travels and love of nature, I saw this shop window. How fitting. Globes, maps, nature books and puzzles. All so much a part of my  happy childhood. Thanks dad. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning return hike -33

There were many  flowers for sale along the main avenue. My father would always bring my mom a flower, usually a lily or hyacinth on Good Friday. In fact one of my earliest memories was accompanying him to a greenhouse on a warm and sunny Good Friday. It real does feel like I am back home on these streets of Poland. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning return hike -30

I again left the main avenue to explore the city and found quaint neighborhoods, which I believe house mainly the elderly. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning return hike -38

There were many small markets along the way and I stopped in one to get some photographs of the local grocery items and produce. Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning return hike -40

As I roamed these side streets and neighborhoods I wasn’t sure if I was heading in the right direction. Some dark storm clouds were forming and it felt  like the rain they predicted was going to arrive.Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning return hike -39

I started walking in the direction I believed my hotel was but i wasn’t quite sure. I tried to make  my way through the meandering streets to the main highway but was starting to doubt myself when, after turning a corner, there I was right behind my hotel! A homing instinct or dumb luck I am not sure.I do know I was glad to be back, although the rain did not arrive until evening, I was tired and very hungry. . I was glad I was able to get this enjoyable walk in through the beautiful streets of Czestochowa.  I love it so much already. Here is a link to some more photographs from my walk. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Eight-Czestochowa-return-hike-Saturday-April-15-2017-Poland Day Eight Czestochowa morning return hike -46

 

“There’s something about arriving in new cities, wandering empty streets with no destination. I will never lose the love for the arriving, but I’m born to leave.”
Charlotte Eriksson

 

 

 

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Scandinavia Day Thirteen: An Unscheduled Visit To Enchanting Tallinn Estonia On The Last Day Of Our Tour.

It was another early start on the last day of our tour of Scandinavia. Our group decided to take the 53 mile trip over the Baltic Sea to Tallinn the capitol of Estonia. I would have liked to have seen more of Helsinki but was excited to see another, even more exotic country. Tallin Estonia town square and afternoon walk  (12 of 53)

Our ferry left Helsinki harbor under bright sunshine and made the 53 mile trip in about a  little under two hours. We passed a few cruise ships along the way including the Viking ferry that brought us to Finland. We approached Estonia and I was impressed by the church steeples and colorful houses of medieval Tallinn. This is a link to some more photographs of our ferry ride to Tallinn. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/scandinavia-july-26-august-8-2015/nggallery/scandinavia-july-25-august-8-2015/tallin-estonia-ferry-ride-august-7-2015Tallin Estonia ferry ride (5 of 25)

We left our ferry , and since this was not part of the tour we were on our own, and walked through the old city wall into the cobblestone streets of Tallinn.  One of our group led us on a tour of the many old building, including the six hundred year old Great Guild Hall.

Tallin Estonia morning walk (14 of 45)

The narrow streets were lined with shops and restaurants.  This is a link to some more photographs of our morning walk http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/scandinavia-july-26-august-8-2015/nggallery/scandinavia-july-25-august-8-2015/tallin-estonia-morning-town-walk-august-7-2015Tallin Estonia ferry ride (17 of 25)

We stopped to visit, and climb the narrow spiral steps of ,the famous St. Olaf’s church for a spectacular view of the city. The climb was steep and the steps narrow but the breathtaking view was so worth it.

 

Tallin Estonia St Olaf's Church (13 of 27)  This was, at one time during the middle ages the tallest structure in Europe. This os a link to some more photographs of our visit to the church. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/scandinavia-july-26-august-8-2015/nggallery/scandinavia-july-25-august-8-2015/tallinn-estonia-st-olafs-church-august-7-2015Tallin Estonia St Olaf's Church (7 of 27)

We then continued our walk through the busy narrow streets of old town and we entered into the crowded old town square. The square was surrounded by many old and colorful buildings.Tallin Estonia town square and afternoon walk  (4 of 53)

We toured the square and visited the historic Holy Spirit Church.  I love the feeling I get in old churches and imagine all of the human history that took place here over the centuries. Weddings in the spring, Christmas celebrations in the cold of winter, funerals throughout the year and so many other events . It was like the place held all these memories in it’s old walls. Tallin Estonia Holy Spirit Church and  Niguliste Churh Mueseum  (9 of 50)

We than walked around a bit and toured the famous Niguliste Church Museum. Much of the interior of the old church was burned during World War Two but there where still many exhibits on display including The Dance of Death, depicting how all of  us, peasant or Pope is mortal . So much to see but we, again , did not have a lot of time. . This is a link to some more photographs of the many exhibits in the churches . http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/scandinavia-july-26-august-8-2015/nggallery/scandinavia-july-25-august-8-2015/tallinn-estonia-holy-spirit-church-and-niguliste-church-museum-august-7-2015Tallin Estonia Holy Spirit Church and  Niguliste Churh Mueseum  (32 of 50)

We then made our way slowly back to the lower town and stooped to visit beautiful Russian Orthodox Cathedral. This was one of the most splendid churches I visited on the trip but, unfortunately, we weren’t aloud to take photographs.

 

 

We then walked down the hill to the lower town where I picked up a small painting from a local artist. This is a link to some more photographs of our afternoon walk http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/scandinavia-july-26-august-8-2015/nggallery/scandinavia-july-25-august-8-2015/tallin-estonia-town-square-and-afternoon-walk-august-7-2015Tallin Estonia town square and afternoon walk  (46 of 53)

My sister and her friends decided to shop so I walked back to the ferry dock and sat by the water  and relax until it was time to leave. Here is a link to a few photographs  of my time at the waterside. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/scandinavia-july-26-august-8-2015/nggallery/scandinavia-july-25-august-8-2015/tallinn-estonia-seaside-august-7-2015Tallin Estonia seaside  (1 of 10)

I fell asleep on the ferry ride back. We got in late but met for one last drink together as a group. My sister and our friends an d a nice last meal at a local restaurant in Helsinki. I had an early flight so was in bed early dreaming about the wonderful two weeks I spent in Scandinavia, Glad I was able to share it with you.  Please feel free to ask any question you may have since I haven’t had a lot of time to put into these blog posts. I hope I could do better on my next trip. Hope you all follow me in Australia next February.

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

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Scandinavia Day Eight. Oslo Norway, A Lovely City On A Fjord. So Much To See In So Little Time.

After our long day on the bus I was up early in Oslo hoping to see some of residential parts of the city before my group’s tour of the city. Unfortunately the weather was co-operating as i watched a heavy storm move in form the south and bring with it some torrential rains. Oslo Norway morning walk (1 of 48)

The storm moved through after about a half hour and I could see clearing to the south so headed out for a quick hike through the city.  I walked past the Royal Palace and the ever present guards on duty and proceeded through residential areas to the docks  along the fjord. Oslo Norway morning walk (12 of 48)

I love walking the out of the way streets in large cities. You learn so much about it;s inhabitants. Oslo’s streets were clean and green with  more automobiles and less bicycles than in Copenhagen or Malmo. Oslo Norway morning walk (31 of 48)

The docks also were clean and I walked by a number of colorful murals as well as a very real looking plastic coconut tree. Almost fooled me and had me scratching my head and trying to figure how it was growing in this northern latitude.  here is a link to some more photos from my walk through the streets of Oslo http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/scandinavia-july-26-august-8-2015/nggallery/scandinavia-july-25-august-8-2015/oslo-norway-morning-walk-august-2-2015Oslo Norway morning walk (29 of 48)

I walked along a marina and some upscale housing buildings before i had to head back to shower and grab some breakfast before joining the group for tour. The sun was shining when we took a bus ride over to the Viking Boat Museum. Oslo Norway Viking museum (22 of 29)

it was a nice visit, especially after seeing some other Viking ships at the museum in Roskilde Denmark.Oslo Norway Viking museum (6 of 29)

 

Unlike the ships there, which were recovered from the sea, these ships were buried with a Viking Queen along with many other possessions. I learned a lot about the Viking life style and culture at his museum.  Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to the museum.http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/scandinavia-july-26-august-8-2015/nggallery/scandinavia-july-25-august-8-2015/oslo-norway-viking-boat-museum-august-2-2015Oslo Norway Vigeland (70 of 80)

We next drove some through the streets of Oslo and made our way to the famous Vigeland Sculpture park. At first seeing the naked statutes of men and women of all ages did nothing for me. But as we walked through the hundreds of sculptures, all made by one man during his life time, I became more and more impressed by not only the sculptures but the many messages about life he was conveying through his art work.  They showed man and women in all ages and moods of their life. This is a link to some of the many sculptures in the park. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/scandinavia-july-26-august-8-2015/nggallery/scandinavia-july-25-august-8-2015/oslo-norway-vigeland-sculpture-park-august-2-2015

It really was thought provoking. We only had aOslo Norway Vigeland (61 of 80)bout an hour in the park and this was far too little time to reflect on the many sculptures and the messages they conveyed on the fleetingness of life. The grounds themselves were planted in flowers and very beautiful. i am so glad i took so many photographs and found myself contemplating the meaning of them while preparing this blog. Please take a few moments and  reflect on them. They will have you thinking about the stages and conflicts in living one’s life. This is a link to some more of the many photographs I took at the park. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/scandinavia-july-26-august-8-2015/nggallery/scandinavia-july-25-august-8-2015/oslo-norway-vigeland-sculpture-park-part-two-august-2-2015Oslo Norway Vigeland (78 of 80)

 

Once again we saw too much in just our morning tour for one blog post so looks like there will be an Oslo Part Two tomorrow. I don’t mind since it lets be reflect and absorb the many sights i took in on our trip and I truly enjoy sharing them with all of you. Oslo Norway morning walk (26 of 48)

“Life is meant to be shared. We need each other.”
Lailah Gift

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Copenhagen Denmark. Something For Everyone: Gardens, Palaces, Shopping, History And The Second Oldest Amusement Park In The World. Part One.

It is going to be very hard to summarize all I saw and did in my one full day in the  “city of green spires”.  I knew it was an amazing visit, from the opulent Christianborg Palace to the magical Tivoli amusement park.  But, in reviewing the photographs I took for this blog,  I realized just how much there is to see and do in this historic city. I am hoping the photos will help me convey some it’s great diversity. I sure took a lot of them. Copenhagen Denmark early morning walk (30 of 43)

I began the day early, up before sunrise to take a look at the “real” neighborhoods and how the regular folks live. One thing I learned they are up early, are active, and love their bicycles.Copenhagen Denmark early morning walk (27 of 43)

I walked down Farimagsgade, a major street, which had little motor vehicle traffic but plenty of pedestrians, runners and bicyclists.

I walked past the Orstedsparken  and Botanical Gardens and entered the grounds of the Fine Arts Museum.  Here I left the main streets and roamed the residential neighborhoods finding the usual playgrounds, churches and schools. Copenhagen Denmark early morning walk (42 of 43)

I made my way back along the beautiful reservoirs that are the homes to numerous swans, ducks, geese, blue herons and other birds. I love to watch a city wake up and Copenhagen woke up as gracefully as any I ever visited.  Here is a link to some more photographs from my morning walk. (Of course you can also see them in my Scandinavia photo album on my blogs home page).http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/scandinavia-july-26-august-8-2015/nggallery/scandinavia-july-25-august-8-2015/copenhagen-denmark-early-morning-walk-july-31-2015

After a shower and nice breakfast at the hotel I joined our group for a bus tour through the city streets were we saw many of the historic sights. including the canals and famous “old town” Most of the old town was seen from a distance since large sections are closed to motor vehicle traffic. Copenhagen   Denmark City Tour   July 31 2015 (18 of 50)

We than visited the splendid inner chamber of Christianborg Place, not only the seat of the nation’s  Parliament and Supreme Court but also the site of the Royal Reception Room and other rooms for Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II.Copenhagen Denmark Christianborg Palace (31 of 49)

 

We learned so much visiting these magnificent rooms, adorned with all sorts of art. This is a link to some more photographs from our visit to the Palace. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/scandinavia-july-26-august-8-2015/nggallery/scandinavia-july-25-august-8-2015/copenhagen-denmark-christianborg-palace-july-31-2015Copenhagen Denmark Christianborg Palace (40 of 49)

My favorite was the tapestry room, were the finest woven carpets depicted the history of Denmark from the Viking age to the present.  The carpets were amazing. My favorite was the one depicting events from the 20th century, the good and the bad , and leaving an unfilled spot for us to complete. The guide gave a very emotional presentation about the hatred and evil of the NAZI years and how it is the desire of the Queen that we never forget the hatred on which it was based and never let it happen again. This visit would have, in itself, made the entire trip worth while. This is a link to some more photographs of the beautiful tapestries on display at the Palace. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/scandinavia-july-26-august-8-2015/nggallery/scandinavia-july-25-august-8-2015/copenhagen-denmark-christianborg-palace-tapestry-room-july-31-2015Copenhagen Denmark Christianborg Palace Tapestry Room  (4 of 20)

We left the Palace, watched the end of the changing of the guard and then visited some more of the seemingly countless sites of the city, including the famous Little Mermaid,Copenhagen   Denmark City Tour   July 31 2015 (31 of 50)

 

We than we left on our own and  I had a very pleasant lunch with my sister Linda and some other members of our group. As I said there was just so much to see I will need more time to relate it all. So I guess there will be a Copenhagen Part Two.  Please check out the photographs, although the don’t do justice to the beauty of this city, they give some indication of the wonderful sights I experienced.  Here is a link to some more photographs from my tour of the city.http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/scandinavia-july-26-august-8-2015/nggallery/scandinavia-july-25-august-8-2015/copenhagen-denmark-city-tour-july-31-2015

Copenhagen Denmark Christianborg Palace (20 of 49)

 

 

“…together we shall see what is in this great kingdom of Denmark, and on this journey you will put from you all the sufferings of recent years and regain your joy in the world.”
Rose Tremain

 

 

 

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Malmo Sweden: Those Swedish Folks Sure Love Their Flowers.

Sorry I left you folks in Sweden, but  it was difficult keeping  up with my blog posts after I joined up with my fellow  group of travelers in Denmark. We spent so much time exploring the beautiful countries cities of Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki and the unplanned visit to Tallinn, sharing meals and traveling, what was left was needed for sleep. And that wasn’t much considering the long days of the Scandinavian Summer. Malmo Sweden morning walk l   July 28  2015 (26 of 50)

I really wanted to share these photographs of the beautiful flowers that seemed to be everywhere in the Swedish city of Malmo.Malmo Sweden flowers  (22 of 27)

 

The small space between the narrow cobblestone streets and the quaint houses were all planted with hollyhocks and roses. The fragrance of the roses filled the air. And  i have never seen so many different colored hollyhocks. I am used to the red ones most folks in my neighborhood planted when I was a child. This is a link to more of the many colored hollyhocks, and a few roses, I photographed on the streets of Malmo. And, of course, you can just view them in the photograph  pages  of my blog. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/scandinavia-july-26-august-8-2015/nggallery/scandinavia-july-25-august-8-2015/malmo-sweden-hollyhocks

Malmo Sweden hollyhocks and a few roses (3 of 13)

 

 

 

 

The public squares, cemeteries , and parks where all planted in flowers.Malmo Stotrorget july 26 2015 (10 of 12)

 

 

And of course where there are flowers there are bees. They were buzzing everywhere. They reminded me of how it used to be here in my town when I was young. Not so anymore there are fewer and fewer of them each passing year. Sad, But they where plentiful in Malmo and they were so different form the bees here in the Pennsylvania.I had more time in Sweden, when I was traveling alone in Sweden  so  I was able to get out with my macro lens and get some close ups. Amazing.  Malmo Sweden wasp  134 (1 of 1)

 

This is a link to some more photographs I took of the Swedish bees and wasps I found in Malmo .http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/scandinavia-july-26-august-8-2015/nggallery/scandinavia-july-25-august-8-2015/malmo-sweden-wasps-and-beesMalmo Sweden Morning walk july 26 2015 (23 of 23)

Although the streets mainly were planted with roses and hollyhocks I found a wide variety of native flowers in the beautiful Slottsragarden. I could have spent a month here. There is so much beauty all over this planet and the city of Malmo, which I had never heard of a few months ago, certainly has it’s share. I will never forget my visit there. Here is a link to some more of the many colorful flowers I found in these wonderful gardens. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/scandinavia-july-26-august-8-2015/nggallery/scandinavia-july-25-august-8-2015/malmo-sweden-flowers

Malmo Sweden flowers  (2 of 2)

 

 

“I must have flowers, always, and always.”
Claude MonetMalmo Sweden flowers  (4 of 27)

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Roskilde, Denmark, Scandinavian Adventure Day Five. A Visit With The Danish Rulers And Viking Ships.

Sorry but harder than I thought to find the time to post a blog everyday. Hard enough to just edit the many photographs I’m taking and to write in my journal. But I hope to get better at it. It  is early on the morning here and have a few moments before we are off to Oslo, Norway. Can’t believe we are leaving beautiful Copenhagen already.

I was so glad my sister Linda, and two fellow travelers Chris and her sister Katie decided to take a train ride to the ancient fishing village and later prosperous medieval town of Roskilde. Roskilde  Denmark  July 30 2015 (9 of 33)

The train network here in Denmark, like Sweden is remarkable. We had to ask a few questions at the central station in Copenhagen but the ride went smoothly and we enjoyed seeing some of the Danish countryside. Roskilde  Denmark  July 30 2015 (6 of 33)

Upon arrival in Roskilde we made our way to the town square and found the majestic, towering Roskilde Cathedral, burial grounds to the Danish kings and queens for  a thousand years. I will do another post with photos when I get home,  but believe me it was spectacular and impressive. Roskilde  Denmark  July 30 2015 (30 of 33)

We then hiked to the harbor and visited the informative Viking museum. An informative presentation of the five Viking ships that were preserved it the waters of the harbor. Again time prevents me from posting more photos but I will. Roskilde  Denmark  July 30 2015 (23 of 33)

After a nice lunch we made our way back to the train station. The beauty of the Cathedral and this quaint historic town will not be forgotten. Off for a quick breakfast and hope to post an entry from Norway. Have a great day.

Roskilde  Denmark  July 30 2015 (32 of 33)

Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to Roskilde. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/scandinavia-july-26-august-8-2015/nggallery/scandinavia-july-25-august-8-2015/roskilde-denmark-july-30-2015Roskilde  Denmark  July 30 2015 (21 of 33)

 

History is a cyclic poem written by Time upon the memories of man. ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

 

 

 

 

 

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