Travel to Poland – Episode 441

categories: europe travel

Hear about travel to Poland as the Amateur Traveler talks again to Chris Bogdon about his recent trip to Poland. Chris brought his kids and his parents to experience the country where his family came from. Chris did an overview of the country on a bus tour.

Chris started in Warsaw with the Saxon Gardens and the historic center of the city. Much of the city was rebuilt after the bitter fighting at the end of World War II and the Warsaw uprising destroyed 90% of the city. Chris’s tour visited the tomb of the unknown soldier. You may leave your heart in Warsaw (at Holy Cross church) like the composer Chopin did, although hopefully less literally.

On the way to Częstochowa they stopped at the pilgrimage site of Jasna Góra Monastery to see the black madonna. The monastery also holds items from Pope John Paul.

“In my opinion Krakow was one of the most beautiful places in Poland. I absolutely loved it. I probably could have spent two weeks just in Krakow. The old town square is a UNESCO world heritage site.” At St Mary’s Basilica there is a trumpet player that plays a song, but the song ends abruptly to remember the trumpet player who warned of an attack in the 13th century but was killed for his troubles. They also visited the Wawel Castle on the hill overlooking the city which was the traditional home of Polish Kings. They visited the old Jewish neighborhood of Kazimierz where Schindler’s factory was located. They also visited the Wieliczka Salt Mine which is a UNESCO site and includes an entire cathedral carved from salt.

Chris also visited Zakopane which is the winter capital of Poland and the home to the Polish highlander culture and the source for a lot of Polish folk music.

Auschwitz (another UNESCO site) left a big impression on Chris as well as his son. Seeing all the abandoned items of some of the victims helped personalize the horror of the place. The site has a tape tour so that visitors can take it in at their own pace.

There tour also included the hometown of Pope John Paul. They saw more UNESCO sites in Wadowice, Świdnica and Toruń, and also visited the Baltic coast town of Gdańsk (formerly Danzig).

Cover photo by Gary Arndt of

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Show Notes

Travel to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Episode 259
Poland Travel
Chopin Tours
Saxon Garden
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Warsaw Old Town
Warsaw Uprising Monument
Holy Cross Church
Sofitel Warsaw Victoria
Jasna Góra Monastery
St. Mary’s Basilica
Wawel Castle
Radisson Blu, Krakow
Jagiellonian University
Wieliczka Salt Mine
Grand Hotel Stamary
Centennial Hall
St. Elizabeth’s Church
Churches of Peace
Hotel Bulwar
Toruń Gingerbread
Leaning Tower of Toruń
Gdańsk Shipyard
Solidarity Movement
Oliwa Cathedral
Best places to visit in Poland

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

3 Responses to “Travel to Poland – Episode 441”

Pat Welz


One thing Chris’s trip missed was Malbork Castle, a large, Teutonic Knights castle near Gdansk. If you take the train from Gdansk you can easily get there and back for a day trip. It’s a UNESCO site so I know that’s a big thing with lots of your listeners. I really enjoyed the audio tour. There’s also a small but impressive museum dedicated to Baltic amber. Lots of beautiful pieces of jewelry and art.

If you have more time in Warsaw and if you enjoy museums there is a great Uprising museum in Warsaw. It’s done well with lots of interactive exhibits and sounds. Pawiak Prison is also Warsaw and is an amazingly creepy place to visit. It’s an old Gestapo prison and has some of the cells and torture devices preserved. Not many people visit there; when I went I was the only person there. The oppressive atmosphere and general ‘a lot of bad things happened here’ feeling really weighed on me. Of all the Nazi/Soviet landmarks I’ve visited in the region, Pawiak was the only one that felt like being punched in the stomach.



Listening to you repeat ofvthis episode thought I’d clarify a point. In Cracow in the Jewish area the writing is not Hebrew. It is “Jewish” or Yiddish. While the latter are Hebrew script the language is definitely not. My mother could read and understand it but could never read anything in Israel.
Love the shows. I listen in 3 month blocks when traveling. In Australia now and have a southwest USA road trip next month.
Been traveling most of my life. Sometimes I say something before your guess does.
Love your show. Even the 4 questions.



right you are Jeffrey

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