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Memories from a journey

The world has been turned upside down. Especially when it comes to tourism. We can’t travel freely, as we used to, so we are left with on-line visits or our memories and photos from places we visited. We decided to publish such memories – a letter we received from Elly van Oudenaren from the Netherlands.

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Visit to Poland - Memories by Elly van Oudenaren.

Four years ago my husband died. I was alone and couldn’t travel with him anymore. I sold our caravan and made plans. With my husband we travelled to Spain, Italy, France and Germany. But now I wanted to do something else. I took the car and drove to Poland. I was curious. Poland looked so far away and everything was new for me. I couldn’t understand the language and the food was different. Even the people were different, I thought. Friends warned me: “In Poland it’s very cold” and the roads are very bad.

I passed the border and the roads looked the same as in Germany. I left the highway and headed for Jawor. I was speechless. What a beauty. I never had seen something like this before. I sat in the pew and was silent. Then I went on. I visited

Swidnica. I got the same feeling as I had in Jawor. A beautiful church and hardly any visitors. How was that possible? Such a beauty and I was alone! I wrote it down in my blog with pictures. But a picture is not reality, not the feeling you get when you are inside.

I had to go on, to Krakow. It was very busy because the Pope would also visit Krakow. But I found my hotel and went into town. So beautiful, so cozy. I visited the churches, the castle, the Jewish quarter and just enjoyed the ambiance in town. You could easily do everything by foot, because the old centre is not big.

But I wanted to see more so after a few days I drove to Częstochowa. It was still early and quiet. I admired the Black Madonna and I became silent. The ambiance was great and in the Basilica I grew very silent. I sat down and just enjoyed and got that mystic feeling that I cannot describe. All the people came in, the devotion, the worship. And not many “real tourists”.

It was difficult to leave this place, but I had to go to the north, to Malbork. There I had booked for 10 days. The people were very kind and I went to the castle, which was very impressive. There was so much to see. I went to the Elbląg-Ostróda-kanaal, to Kwidzyn, Sztum and to Frombork. Then I took the train to Gdansk, the city of my dreams. It was so beautiful, it was a fairytale. The Złota Brama, the Brama Wyżynna,

the museum in the Town Hall, the paintings on the ceiling and the Marianska. I lost my heart in Gdansk. So beautiful. And there were a lot of people. I never heard of the Dominic Fair, but it was there and I enjoyed it. I walked for hours and hours and decided to go another day to Gdansk. I decided to visit Gdansk the next year again.

It was time to go back to Holland again and made an overnight stay in Swinoujcie.

At home I made plans to visit Poland again. I made reservations in hotels and I stayed another ten days in Gdansk. I went to the beach and to Torun. It was lovely.

I have visited Poland now three times. From the churches south of Tarnow, to Grunwald, to Westerplatte, to Wroclaw with the stunning Panorama and to Masuria.

I listened to the organs in Święta Lipka and Oliwa. I wondered that I often was the only foreigner. Such a beautiful country with so many culture and nature.

This year I wanted to go to Gdansk again and I made my reservation. I wanted to visit Poznan and Silezië. I read a lot of books over Poland to be well prepared. And now ….. now we have the coronacrisis. We are not able to travel, live our lives as we did. I cannot visit my beloved Gdansk. But I’m alive and if possible I will visit your lovely country next year.

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