Our pilgrimages to Poland and the Churches of Eastern Europe take us to some of the most beautiful cities in the world. Poland is a country with strong Catholic tradition. It is home to many religious icons such as St. Faustina, St. Maxmillian Kolbe and of course Pope John Paul II. In addition to exploring Krakow we will also visit Czestochowa, the site of a Marian apparition. In Prague see the well preserved Baroque and Gothic buildings.
DAY 1 – DEPART USA: Today we board our flighs to Prague with meals and beverages served aloft.
DAY 2 – PRAGUE: Today we will arrive in Prague were we are met by our Tour Escort and directed to our motor coach for the short drive to our hotel. Prague, built on seven hills and spanning the Vltava River, the Czech Republic’s “Golden City of the Hundred Spires” is one of the world’s most impressive capital cities. This evening we enjoy a dinner cruise on the Vltava River.
DAY 3 – PRAGUE: This morning our sightseeing tour of Prague will include a visit to Hradcany Castle as well as magnificent St. Vitus Cathedral. A few yards away is the Golden Lane, a row of tiny, colorful 16th century houses, where the famous Czech writer Franz Kafka once lived. We then continue down to the Mala Strana, and walk across the magnificent Charles Bridge that was built in 1357 and is lined with 30 religious statues. Our tour will come to an end in the Old Town Square where we’ll view the superbly preserved medieval astronomical clock and its moving figures of the apostles, as well as the magnificent houses that surround the Square. We will celebrate Mass at the Church of Our Lady Victorious and see the renowned statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague. The afternoon is free to explore Prague, perhaps to shop for Bohemian crystal, pottery and embroidered goods.
DAY 4 – PRAGUE/KRAKOW: We leave Prague this morning and travel east through the historic region of Bohemia, past the city of Brno, and cross the Polish Border to arrive in the town of Wadowice, the birthplace of Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) and see the church he attended and was baptized as a child. This afternoon we arrive in the city of Krakow, one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Central Europe. Krakow has a unique charm created by centuries of history and cultural wealth.
DAY 5 – KRAKOW: Today legends of the Polish Kings come to life as we visit the Royal Castle on fortified Wawel Hill, along with the Cathedral, Coronation Chapel and Royal Chambers with wonderful Flemish tapestries. Then explore the Old Market Square and Old Town where we will hear the silver trumpet of the burgher from St. Mary’s Church, warning the city of the Turkish Invaders from the south, and admire the Wit Stwosz Altar. This afternoon we visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines. We will journey the Pilgrims route through the caves to view magnificent chapels and religious sculptures carved in salt, including the sculptures in the chapel dedicated to Saint Anthony and the wooden Golgotha of the Wieliczka miners. Our tour is crowned with a visit to the wonderful Chapel of St. Kinga where you will find splendid altars, a carved pulpit, a copy of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper and a salt statue of Blessed Pope John Paul II. To end our visit, enjoy a moment of reflection during Mass celebrated in the underground church.
DAY 6 – KRAKOW: After breakfast, we drive to nearby Lagiewniki, the capital of the Divine Mercy. It was here that the message of the Divine Mercy originated, which Christ Himself wished to pass on to our generation through the mediation of St. Faustina. As we visit the Shrine of Divine Mercy we will see St. Faustina's convent chapel and her Tomb. We visit the newly constructed Shrine of Divinity dedicated by Pope John Paul II on his last visit to Poland in 2002. We celebrate Mass at the Shrine before we visit the new center "Have no Fear" where we pray by the relic of Blessed Pope John Paul II. We have time to pray and reflect before returning to our hotel for dinner.
DAY 7 – KRAKOW/WARSAW: We depart Krakow this morning and our first stop is at Auschwitz, site of the infamous Nazi concentration camp so chillingly evoked in the movie, “Schindler’s List”, and listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. After our tour we continue to the city of Czestochowa, to visit the Monastery of Jasna Gora, the most famous shrine in Poland and the country's greatest place of Pilgrimage. We will tour the monastery and see Jasna Gora's most precious treasure, the image of the Black Madonna, to which miraculous powers are attributed. We enjoy Mass in Jasna Gora before we depart. This afternoon we continue to Warsaw and our hotel.
DAY 8 – WARSAW: The most interesting historical features of Warsaw are located in the Old and New Towns, and along the Royal Route. Our day will begin in the New Town along Ulica Freta where we’ll see the house at No. 15 where Marie Curie was born, now a museum dedicated to her achievements. We’ll also see the Monument to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising before exploring the Old Town. Here we’ll see the Barbican and medieval defense walls, the Old Town Square surrounded on all sides by town houses rebuilt after wartime destruction, one of the most beautiful features of Warsaw, St. John’s Cathedral, and the Royal Castle that is today the symbol of Polish independence. The afternoon is at leisure in Warsaw for last minute shopping and independent sightseeing. This evening we enjoy a farewell dinner in Warsaw.
DAY 9 - RETURN USA: Today we board our flights home carrying with us memories and keepsakes that will last a lifetime.