Up early, we were met with a hearty family breakfast. The children each took turns riding a horse in the enclosed exercise ring at the stable.
The highlight of the day (and of our stay) was a wagon ride into the woods – for miles, around the village of Pstragowa.
Two horses and two drivers pulled us over hills, through woods and deep ravines, out onto highway and then back roads to experience the glorious golden countryside. The morning was chilly and we all covered up in the red blankets found onboard.
We were so sad for our family that had left this village in 1906. Surely they would never see such beautiful scene again in their lifetime, their lives spent in a crowded American city. My husband’s grandparents had left these wide and spacious valleys with rolling hills, framed by the shadow of distant dark mountains, with golden fields and groves of trees and leaves that twirled to the ground in the fall. All of this was enclosed by an enormous blue sky from horizon to horizon.
We even had live harmonica music on board! (Who knew that Slav plays in a band?) Dogs ran along one road and an elderly man walked there too, his gait was brisk. He reached out to greet the pet. Old farm machinery and outdoor stone wells were seen in some places near the barns and in front of cottages. We didn’t want the morning to end.
But after church and cemetery visits, we were once again on the road to Krakow. I understood why Zenon had said that we would return. Already we dream of the next trip. Our last night was spent with Slav at the Cavalry Restaurant in Old Town. We lingered until we had to leave. There was a light rain falling and I wondered if it would snow. We walked back to our hotel and packed for the return trip the next morning. Slav worked hard the next morning in the cold rain to move our luggage into the airport. We felt sad to say goodbye to our companion.
Dziękuję Slav and Zenon for guiding us on this special journey with driving, history lessons and translation skills, and with humor and consideration for the varied ages in our party. We traveled far to find memories of our family. You helped us to learn so much about this beautiful country, our family’s homeland. The trip with PolishOrigins Tours also helped us discover the vibrant culture of today’s Poland. This was planned as a trip of reflection and reminiscing. The experience was all that we had hoped for and more! We will meet again.