June 14 – 28, 2015
Jim Gold International Folk Tours
in collaboration with Richard Schmidt present
Folk dancing, Folk music, Art, History, Culture, Adventure!
Kraków, Zakopane, Wrocław, BERLIN, Gdańsk, Olsztyn, Warszawa
*Castles, palaces, historic sites and museums!
*Meet local folk groups!
Breathtaking scenery from the mountains in the south to the Baltic Sea in the north!
Price all transfers, hotels, two meals daily, English-speaking guides, private deluxe motor coach, folk dancing workshops and the pleasure of my company!
DAY 1 : Fly to Kraków on airline of your choice – Welcome Dinner and Folk Dancing in the evening with Richard at our Hotel DAY 2 – 3 : Kraków Bus and walking tour of the city. Excursion to the Wieliczka Salt Mine, a 3-mile underground walk through chambers, caves and chapels adorned with statues sculptured from salt. Tour and shopping opportunities at the “PERFEKT” Folk Costume Factory and guided tour of the Ethnographic Museum.
Kraków (Polish pronunciation: [ˈkrakuf] also Krakow, or Cracow (English /ˈkrækaʊ/), is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River (Polish: Wisła) in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life and is one of Poland’s most important economic hubs. It was the capital of Poland from 1038 to 1596; the capital of the Grand Duchy of Kraków from 1846 to 1918; and the capital of Kraków Voivodeship from the 14th century to 1999. It is now the capital of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship
DAY 4 :Zakopane with its special architecture. Look for the large nests and the storks who built them.
Fresh mountain air! Great shopping. Raft ride along the winding Dunajec river with local mountain folk dressed in full regalia. Sing and dance with the local groups at Czarci Jar Folk Restaurant.
Zakopane (pronounced [zakɔˈpanɛ], (Slovak: Zakopané) is a town in southern Poland. It lies in the southern part of the Podhale region at the foot of the Tatra Mountains. From 1975 to 1998 it was in the Nowy Sącz Province, but since 1999 it has been in Lesser Poland Province. It had a population of about 28,000 as of 2004. Zakopane is a center of Góral culture and is known informally as “the winter capital of Poland”. It is a popular destination for mountaineering, skiing, and tourism. The earliest documents mentioning Zakopane date to the 17th century, describing a glade called Zakopisko. In 1676 it was a village of 43 inhabitants. In 1824 it was sold to the Homola family together with a section of the Tatra Mountains.
Day 5 : Stops in Oświęcim to visit the infamous concentration camp Auschwitz and then head on to Częstochowa to see Poland’s holiest icon “The Black Madonna”, followed by an evening of Folk Dancing in our Hotel.
The origins of the icon and the date of its composition are still hotly contested among scholars. The difficulty in dating the icon stems from the fact that the original image was painted over, after being badly damaged by Hussite raiders in 1430. Medieval restorers unfamiliar with the encaustic method found that the paints they applied to the damaged areas “simply sloughed off the image” according to the medieval chronicler Risinius, and their solution was to erase the original image and to repaint it on the original panel, which was believed to be holy because of its legendary origin as a table top from the home of the Holy Family.
DAY 6: We head to Wrocław. One of Poland’s most beautiful cities on the Oder River. It is the largest city in Western Poland and is the capital of the Silesian Region of the country. A popular way of sightseeing the city is sailing the small passenger vessels floating on the river. It is also home to my family who were forced to move here after the occupation of my father’s home town of Lwow by the Soviet Union after WWII.
DAY 7 : A 2-hour drive west and we find ourselves in the German capital of Berlin where we will soak up the sites and history of this beautiful city on the River Spree. We will take a guided tour and then set you free to wander at your leisure.
Soak up the culture and enjoy the beautiful architecture.
DAY 8 : We’ll spend the morning shopping and visiting in Berlin and after lunch we will head back to Poland, to the city of Szczecin. This major seaport’s history began in the 8th century and has a lot to offer our inquiring minds.
DAY 9 : On this day we will pamper ourselves with a day at the beach in Mielno on the Baltic Sea. Sunshine and a sandy beach are just what a weary dancing traveler needs to rejuvenate the soul and body. A scrumptious meal in one of the fine-dining establishments serving the fresh catch of the day and then we will be on our way again…
DAY 10: Staying along the seaside – Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot. Ports, ships, beaches, the famous boardwalk. You will see it all! Relax at the seaside or visit the Old World grand hotels, Gothic churches and romantic cobblestone alleys. Listen to the world-famous organ in the Oliwa Cathedral and a stop at Westerplatte, where WWII began. Great food, dancing under the stars.
DAY 11 : Day trip to Malbork Castle, former seat of the once-powerful Teutonic Knights. Under continuous construction for nearly 230 years, the castle complex is actually three castles nested in one another. A classic example of a medieval fortress, it is the world’s largest brick castle and one of the most impressive of its kind in Europe. The castle was in the process of being restored when World War II broke out. During the war, the castle was over 50% destroyed. Restoration has been ongoing since the war. However, the main cathedral in the castle, fully restored just prior to the war and destroyed during the war, remains in its ruined state. The castle and its museum are listed as UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. From there we drive onto Olsztyn in the Warmia and Mazury region (Lake district of Poland) and meet up with a local folk group for dancing and singing around the camp fire.
DAY 12 – 14 : Warszawa (Warsaw) the capital city of Poland. Once nearly totally destroyed, this vibrant city is not to be missed. City tour of the Old Town, the Ghetto Memorial site, Lazienki Park, Monument of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, Chopin Monument. Folk Dancing, shopping, free time to explore on your own. Although Poland is part of the EU it has not adopted the Euro and so prices in the Polish złoty are very comparable to North American prices. We will have our farewell dinner together, exchange contact info, promise to share photos, hug and kiss and say our do widzenias (au revoirs) to one another. Along the way we will visit the home of Chopin and visit with a local Folk Ensemble who will let you try on their costumes and teach you some of their favorite dances.
DAY 15 : Return to airport for flight of your choice
I can’t wait to go! Registration deposit of $200 per person required and is refundable until March 9th. Single supplement $795. Additional charges are 85$ hotel taxes and service. Gratuities are not included. Cancellation 30 to 45 days prior to departure: 50% of total price. Less than 30 days: No refund. Travel insurance is recommended. Tour rate is based on a minumum of 20 people. If less, a surcharge of 10% may be added. Total balance is due March 1, 2014.
Land only $3795
To register please visit Jim Gold’s Website and hit the order form!