Travel to Krakow, Poland – Episode 185 Transcript

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Travel to Krakow, Poland – Episode 185 Transcript

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Another side trip we took was to go to Czestochowa, which is about a 2 or 3-hour train ride away – all the durations start blurring. It’s the site – I don’t know if they would call it the spiritual center of Poland but it kind of felt like it from the readings and what I witnessed. It’s got this I think it’s a monastery, Jasna Gora Monastery. But its again, up on a hill, walled area in the city and it has the monasteries and it’s a historical site when the Swedes and others have tried to invade Poland that’s been one of the most difficult sites for them to take over I guess. The Swedes, I think, in the 1600’s may have been actually were not able to and that saved Poland at a time. And it’s known more than anything for the image of the Black Madonna which is probably the patron virgin of Catholic Poland. And there’s actually a ceremony that takes place at the chapel where that image is stored. This image is… most of the time it’s covered with some kind of screen, metal screen. But there’s a ceremony that happens, I want to say, twice a day. It’s the uncovering and then the covering of the image. So we got there by coincidence. We took the earliest train we could and we got there, I don’t know, 11:00ish and it was about 20 minutes before the image was to be uncovered for viewing and then of course 1.5-2 hours later was going to be covered. So it worked beautifully because we got the time in between to check out everything else in the compound and then go see the recovering. But what was impressive to me was watching everyone else around. I’m not Polish so the Black Madonna Catholic doesn’t have an extended meaning like it may to them. But watching people there gather at the chapel for that time and doing all this veneration I suppose or whatever prayers they’re doing during those ceremonies was pretty moving actually to get a sense of the Polish spirituality I guess. So that was very interesting to me. I tried to get spiritually connected. It didn’t quite happen for me but it was great to see it and learn something about how they view it. Czestochowa, itself as a town – it’s got a beautiful big boulevard that goes all the way from the monastery or the Jasna Gora compound all the way down towards the train station area. That’s a beautiful boulevard to walk around and have a coffee or something. Now again it was winter so it wasn’t probably as beautiful as it is in the spring. It was a nice side trip to take. I don’t know if it is for everyone but the compound itself does have a lot of historical things. You can see all the weaponry and armory and stuff like that used over the centuries. It’s a walled city so you can go inside the walls and see the ramparts and things like that. It’s a little bit of everything there so not just the Black Madonna, but it’s very historic and very central from my understanding of it to the Polish people I guess.

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by Chris Christensen

I am the host of the Amateur Traveler. The Amateur Traveler is an online travel show that focuses primarily on travel destinations and what are the best places to travel to. It includes both a weekly audio podcast, a video podcast, and a blog.

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