After departing Bałucianka, we headed toward Szczawnica, along very hilly and winding country roads. It would be our longest travel day yet, with us taking a look back in time at historic architecture, and religious and decorative arts.
Churches on the Malopolska Wooden Architecture Route
On the first leg of the journey, we stopped at three of the many famous churches listed on the Malopolska Wooden Architecture Route. My sister and I imagined that our ancestors would have worshiped in some of these or similar churches. Although we snapped many photos, they did not come close to capturing the spiritual and artistic beauty of these architectural gems.
Our first stop was at Kościół pw. Świętych Jakuba i Filipa w Sękowej – Church of St. Philip and St. Jacob in Sękowa. The UNESCO-listed church was built in the early 1500s with renovations and additions throughout the centuries. The impressive sloped and shingled roof was beautiful as was the simple renaissance interior.
The second stop was at Cerkiew Grekokatolicka pw. Opieki Bogurodzicy Owczary – Church of the Protection of the Mother of God. It was one of the first Greek Catholic churches that we visited during our trip. The caretaker, who lived nearby, gave us an excellent tour of this beautifully renovated 1653 church, with its many baroque fittings.
Our third stop on the architectural route was Nowa Cerkiew św. Paraskewy w Kwiatoniu – New Church of St Paraskevi in Kwiatoń. The stunning classic Lemko church was built in the mid-1700s, and again, had been renovated several times. Both Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic services are regularly held there!
Sądecki Ethnographic Park
The last stop on the architecture route was a look back in time at an open-air ethnographic park in Nowy Sącz. Many dozens of relocated turn-of-the-century homes, farm buildings, workshops, and other structures were well situated among fields, gardens, and forests in the reconstructed village. My sister and I were thrilled to stroll inside and around the types of buildings common to our grandparents and great-grandparents, opening another window into their culture and traditions.
One of the farm laborer’s cottages, for example, had four small rooms – including one for farm animals! The kitchen ceiling and walls were heavily blackened by decades of stove smoke because many dwellings did not have chimneys to avoid a chimney tax!
There was also a farmer’s cottage, built about 1870, that was originally from Rogi, where our mother’s grandmother was born. An example of a stone carriage barn, complete with carriages and various implements, was also of interest to us, as our father’s paternal grandfather was once a carriage driver.
Another highlight for us was seeing the relocated flour mill and miller’s house. My sister and I were able to get a better idea of how our Rogi ancestors once lived and worked!
My sister and I were still working on our Polish cuisine bucket list that we had started in Kraków. One of the recent PolishOrigins Galicia Tour participants had shared her interesting-looking hotdog photo and I told Lucjan that we all had to try one! So, at a gas station convenience store in Uście Gorlicki, I bought some of the chrupiaçy (crispy) hot dogs which were grilled in front of us, condiments added then encased in their own hollowed-out leak-proof buns. Along with some local chips and sodas, we had a nice little picnic lunch. Smacznego!
We had heard that Poles love white storks for the good luck they represent. My sister was fascinated by the massive stork nests on the tall platforms that were constructed by locals. Sadly, the storks were already wintering in Africa! Along the route, Lucjan suggested a quick stop at the internationally renowned beekeeping farm “Sądecki Bartnik” in Stróże, where we picked up a few small bottles of their famous mead.
We really enjoyed this fabulous travel and sightseeing day. At the same time, we were very much looking forward to getting back into research mode once in Szczawnica.
To be continued –