We are concluding our two tours of legendary life-time experiences. This arrangement and the guides exceeded all expectations. Pawel is a gifted guide who shared with us an outstanding itinerary. His depth of historical knowledge kept us fascinated in all corners of Galicia. He is clever and makes adaptations in response to our interests. His cultural insights add a completely new dimension to the travels. His radiant personality and sense of humor keeps our spirits at the highest level. I know that all of us on the trip felt the same way. Any traveler who may interface with Pawel would have a very special experience. His historical, cultural, and geographic knowledge are impressive beyond comprehension. He radiates pride in Poland…rightly so.
Tourism in Poland in general seems to meet the very highest of standards – it may be similar to a Disney World of Medieval Europe from the standards of accommodation of visitors, but the authenticity of real remnants remains and enhances the living legends.
Zbyszek’s search for authentication, documents, and living relatives is untiring. He is an extremely conscientious reseacher with ultimate patience. Additionally he is efficient, as his knowledge and experience permits access to pertinent information. He adapts well to changing situations. He manages well as some priests are annoyed with us and yell and scream at us, while others welcome us and offer masses for the ancestors of Carolyn’s lineage. Commonly the belligerent priests call us back in one or two days to invite us to come and look at records. The reason is that Zbyszek’s calming personality permits them to recover and enjoy our presence.
It is insightful that dinners and lunches are not included on this part of the trip, as the new found relatives want to feed us continuously. We met many cousins and relatives – beyond expectations and even attended weddings and enjoyed a warm welcome by newly founds cousins….even with more warmth than expected…consistent with Polish tradition.
Carolyn has engaged nearly two dozen second cousins and found links which include great-great grandparents in the early 1800’s. A huge percent of the population of Milovka and Novy Zmigrod shares a family name with Carolyn. Again, much information came about by adaptions and leads which were uncovered by Zbyszek.
Even though it was not my own blood relatives being searched, I remained fascinated and touched by the experience.
Preparation was great, though Carolyn enjoyed participation in some of the exploratory process.
After our return to Seattle I will be taking a course in Polish history at the University of Washington.
Thanks so much for offering this kind of comprehensive regional and heritage experience. The experience of a lifetime will enriches during the coming decades and will be passed on as a legacy to our children and grandchildren as well as living relatives.