Planning for my Poland Adventure began in 2011. I had been researching my family history for about 2 years before. I discovered the name of the village in Poland where my ancestors originated from. With that knowledge in hand I began thinking about actually travelling to Poland. Researching guide services quickly lead me to PolishOrigins as one of the top options. The moving accounts of other’s visits and their testimonials not only accelerated my planning but pretty much made my decision on which organization I would rely on to help me during my visit – “PolishOrigins”. I originally set my sights on travelling to Poland in the summer of 2013 (read the first part of Rick’s story written in 2013), but then work got in the way and I was forced to alter my plans. As the summer of 2014 approached I was able to lock in a July date with Zenon and make travel arrangements.
I ventured to make my own travel arrangements and did pretty well until I had to change them around a bit. Then communication with the hotel became a significant challenge. Aga from PolishOrigins was able to jump in and quickly make the necessary changes and verify that hotel arrangements were in order and ready for my arrival. I highly recommend allowing the PolishOrigins staff to help you in your travel arrangements.
All the while, I began to try and learn Polish. First using Rosetta Stone and then by taking classes through the local Polish Community. I was bound and determined to be able to communicate without an interpreter while I was there. I guess the old saying holds true – “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Learning the words came fairly easy but actually using them was/is a difficult jump to make.
The overall plan
Day1 Arrive in Krakow and spend the day adjusting to the time change
Day 2 Drive to Iwonicz-Zdroj and get checked into the hotel
Day 3 thru 4 Family research and exploration with Zenon
Day 5 thru 19 Wander around SE Poland (Galicja)
Day 20 thru 23 to Budapest to pickup my wife
Day 24 thru 28 Back to Iwonicz-Zdroj then Krakow to share our discoveries
The first surprise
We had checked into the hotel in Iwonicz-Zdroj and were walking through town to find a place to eat dinner when someone called my name. It thought it impossible to believe that anyone I knew was in Poland and so almost ignored. When they called again I finally stopped and Zenon walked over from his car to introduce himself. He recognized me from a picture on my facebook page.