DAY 1: DEPARTURES USA
Depart with connections! Dinner and breakfast typically provided on all gateway flights to Europe.
DAY 2: ARRIVAL WARSAW
Arrival to Warsaw. Meeting with the guide and transfer by coach to the city centre. Check-in at Hotel. We will depart after some rest and refreshment to the Convent of the Sisters of Divine Mercy where Saint Faustina entered the religious life. Here we will celebrate Holy Mass. Dinner will follow in a local restaurant. Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 3: WARSAW
After a delicious breakfast in the hotel we will visit Saint Stanislaw Kostka’s Church. It’s the burial site of Father Jerzy Popieluszko, who was kidnapped and brutally murdered by communist militia officers in 1984. Here we will celebrate Holy Mass. Before departing we will be guided through the museum here dedicated to Father Jerzy. We will then discover the capital city of Poland. Warsaw is a city of great charm with a unique, cosmopolitan atmosphere. It is the beating heart of a young and dynamic Poland, always proud of its history. This is modern Warsaw, a city destroyed during the Second World War, was rebuilt thanks to the huge efforts of the Polish Nation, always defending its roots. While walking along its wide, majestic streets, you may still sense the atmosphere of the post-war city. Today will feature a guided tour of Warsaw: Lazienki Park with the monument of Frederic Chopin, The Warsaw Ghetto, Umschlagplatz, (from here thousands of the Jews were deported to the concentration camps), The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier, Palace of Culture and Science, Krakowskie Przedmiescie Street, The Old Town, St. John’s Cathedral. We will enjoy some free time for lunch, and then visit the outstanding POLIN Museum which exhibits the history of Jews in Poland. Free time to freshen up then dinner in a local restaurant accompanied by a concert of Chopin music. Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 4: WARSAW/NIEPOKALANOW/CZESTOCHOWA
This morning we start the day early with breakfast at the hotel and check out. We begin our way to Niepokalanow. We will visit the Sanctuary of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, which was founded by Saint Maximilian Kolbe. Here we will celebrate Holy Mass. We will then journey to Czestochowa. The Czestochowa Sanctuary, with its image of the Black Madonna, is one of the most important places of pilgrimage in Poland. Every year, 4 million people travel on foot to Czestochowa, taking part in a tradition that dates to medieval times. During his pontificate, St. John Paul II visited this sanctuary six times and presented it with a golden rose and his blood-soiled papal belt, which he’d been wearing during the assassination attempt in 1981. Arrival, check-in at Hotel Mercure. Dinner at the hotel. An evening walk to Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa and prayer in front of the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary called the Black Madonna. The image is unveiled at 9:30 pm. Overnight at Hotel in Czestochowa.
DAY 5: CZESTOCHOWA/AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU/ZAKOPANE
Today we have the option to awaken early to be present for the 5:30 am unveiling of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Czestochowa. Holy Mass will be celebrated at 6:00 am in Polish under the icon of Our Lady. We are welcome to stay and participate. Return to the hotel for breakfast and check-out. We now return to Jasna Gora for a guided tour of the most important pilgrimage place in Poland. In the 17th century, it was under a month-long siege by Swedish forces. A small group of monks fought off the numerous Swedes and managed to save their sacred icon of the Black Madonna. Holy Mass will be celebrated at the Sanctuary. We then continue to Auschwitz – Birkenau with a stop for lunch along the way. During World War II, Auschwitz was established in 1940 by Nazi Germany. It is known all over the world as a symbol of terror, genocide, and The Holocaust. In 1942, it became the largest death camp in Europe. The guided tour includes the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum (both parts Auschwitz and Birkenau). We will then continue to Zakopane, known as the winter capital of Poland. Zakopane is the most picturesque town in the Tatra Mountains. Tradition is alive and well in Zakopane: people still dwell in wooden houses, men work as shepherds and women are occupied with knitting. In their homes people speak the local dialect, and for religious occasions they wear traditional costume. At Krupowki, the town’s commercial centre, local products are sold. e.g. oscypek (ewe’s milk cheese), kierpce (sheepskin shoes), sweaters, gloves, scarves, and hats made of pure wool. Zakopane is also a town of artists, hosting many cultural events, concerts, and exhibitions. Check in at Hotel Mercure. Dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight at Hotel in Zakopane.
DAY 6: ZAKOPANE/ TATRA MOUNTAINS
Breakfast at the hotel and a short tour of the capital city of the Polish mountains. We will visit the traditional Jaszczurowka Chapel, then continue to Krzeptowki Shrine – the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, built in 1982 to thank God for saving John Paul’s life. Here we will celebrate Holy Mass. We will then take the Gubalowka by cable railway to see the spectacular view of the Tatra Mountains range. The remainder of the day will be free in Zakopane for lunch, shopping on Krupowki Street, where you can buy anything from smoked cheese to jewelry, a hike if you choose, or just quiet time to reflect. Dinner in a local restaurant accompanied by a highlander music style concert. Overnight at Hotel in Zakopane.
DAY 7: ZAKOPANE/TATRA MOUNTAINS/KRAKOW
Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. Transfer to Debno Podhalanskie where we will celebrate Holy Mass at St Michael the Archangel. Transfer to Szczawnica for Dunajec river rafting – one of the biggest adventures in the mountains – a truly unforgettable experience. The Dunajec river flows through the valleys of the Pieniny Mountains. The journey is aboard traditional boats (basically log rafts) which are steered by experienced rafts men. We will enjoy a nice lunch and begin our journey to Krakow, often called the City of a Thousand Churches, and since the 16th century has been called the second Rome. Krakow is distinguished for its architecture, both ancient and modern. It is also a place of religious interest for most of its inhabitants. It was Krakow, which Karol Wojtyla, left in 1978 to become the head of the Church as Pope John Paul II. Pilgrims from all over the world come to visit Saint Mary’s Church with the Veit Stoss Altar, Wawel Cathedral, St. Adalbert’s Church, the Papal Window, The Church of Saint Michael the Archangel, Tyniec Abbey, The Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Łagiewniki, dedicated to the devotion of Divine Mercy and final resting place of St. Faustina Kowalska. Arrival and check-in for our five-night stay at Hotel in Krakow. Dinner at a local restaurant in the Square. Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 8: KRAKOW- OLD TOWN /KAZIMIERZ-JEWISH QUARTER
Breakfast at the hotel. Sightseeing tour in Krakow: starting at Wawel Hill with the magnificent view of the Castle and the Cathedral, then following the Royal Way: a walking tour through the beautiful streets to the biggest Market Square in Europe: The Cloth Halls, St. Mary’s Church with its most famous altar made by Wit Stwosz (entrance), till the Barbicane. We will celebrate Holy Mass at St Marys. There will be free time for lunch and then a short drive to the Jewish district Kazimierz. Krakow’s Jewish Quarter is perfectly preserved and full of history and culture. For many years it was the centre of Jewish social and religious life, until the mass deportation of Jewish society during the Nazi occupation. We will visit the Ghetto Heroes Square situated in the Podgórze district, which in 1941 was turned into the Krakow Ghetto. The former Plac Zgody, (Concord Square) was designated ‘Umschlagplatz’ under the Nazi occupation, the place where the Jews had to congregate to be deported. We will also visit the famous Pharmacy under the Eagle in the same Square. A close walk is Schindler’s Factory, now a modern museum. A guided tour shows Krakow during the 2nd world war. This evening we will enjoy dinner in the Jewish Quarter accompanied by Klezmer music. Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 9: KRAKOW/LAGIEWNIKI – DIVINE MERCY/TYNIEC ABBEY/KRAKOW
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Lagiewniki. ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy’. We will visit the monastery in Lagiewniki -The Sanctuary of Divine Mercy is where Saint Faustina Kowalska lived and died. Pope John Paull II consecrated the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in 2002, which is where the image of Merciful Jesus and St. Faustinas’ relics are housed. The Sanctuary has been visited by pilgrims from 89 countries, exceeding any other Shrine in the world. This Monastery was proclaimed “The Centre of Divine Mercy” by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Poland in 2002. It is also a place related to Karol Wojtyla. He would pass here every day on this way to work at the local quarry during the WWII German occupation of Poland. A Sanctuary was built recently at the place called the White Seas, commemorating Saint John Paull II. We will celebrate Holy Mass at one of the sanctuaries. We will then return to the city centre to take a relaxing boat ride to Tyniec while enjoying a nice lunch. At Tyniec we will visit the Benedictine Abbey. The first Benedictines arrived in Tyniec around the mid-11th Century. Some remains of the first church, the original foundations and the oldest graves are still preserved here. Karol Wojtyla liked to visit the Abbey of Tyniec. He came here for a retreat as a priest, before being ordained a bishop. During his pilgrimage to Poland in 2002 he visited the Abbey for the last time. Return to the hotel for free time and dinner in a restaurant in the Square. Overnight at Hotel
DAY 10: KRAKOW/ WADOWICE/KALWARIA ZEBRZYDOWSKA/KRAKOW
Breakfast at the hotel. We then begin our journey to Wadowice – the birthplace of St. John Paul II. Wadowice is where everything began, the small city where we will start to follow in the footsteps of this great Pope. The house in which Karol Wojtyla was born and grew up has been converted into a museum that documents his life and papacy. We will have a guided tour of this magnificent museum and then visit the church where he was baptised just beside his family home. Free time for lunch around the beautiful square then depart for Kalwaria Zebrzydowska – the Bernardine monastery. This is also one of the most important pilgrimage places in Poland. Karol Wojtyla visited this monastery several times during his childhood. Here we will celebrate Holy Mass. We will return to Krakow for dinner in the city. Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 11: KRAKOW/LAGIEWNIKI/ OPTIONAL WIELICZKA SALT MINE/KRAKOW
This morning we will depart the hotel very early returning to the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki to attend Holy Mass at 6:30 am with the convent Sisters. Breakfast this morning will be here at the sanctuaries pilgrimage house. After breakfast free time at the sanctuary. We return to the city centre and hotel before lunch time.
Our last afternoon is scheduled for free time in the city of Krakow OR an optional guided tour to Wieliczka Salt Mine – one of the oldest salt mines in the world. This Salt Mine is famous for its long tourist tradition. Nowadays it is a complex labyrinth consisting of over 300 kilometres of galleries, about 3000 chambers and nine floors, the last of them at 125 metres underground, where you can also use your mobile phone and wireless internet! The two-kilometre Tourist Route in Wieliczka includes 22 chambers connected by galleries where you can also listen to Chopin’s music underground. Over a million tourists from Poland and other countries visit this unique place each year – which is not surprising, as this astonishing underground world, sculpted out of the rock salt by miners, is completely different from the world above. The labyrinth of passages, beautiful chambers, lakes and salt sculptures create an atmosphere which will remain in your memory for a long time. After the tour return to Krakow to freshen up for our farewell dinner in the city centre. Our last overnight at Hotel.
DAY 12: DEPARTURE TO USA FROM KRAKOW
We will enjoy our last breakfast in Krakow then check-out. Departure for the airport to take our flights back to the USA!