Today was one of the longest, but most beautiful days yet. We got up bright and early at 5:30 to eat breakfast, pack our bags, and be on the bus by 7:30. The weather was perfection, with bright blue skies and big, fluffy white clouds. The temperature was in the higher 70s and it was a nice change from the cold and rain on the previous days.

We traveled for 3 hours on the charter bus to get to Krakow, Poland. On our way, we stopped at Hotel Gorski for traditional Polish food. The hotel was very quaint and had traditional Polish-style architecture with a windmill outside and everything! We got nalesniki to eat and it was the best thing I’ve had to eat the entire trip! It is a flat crepe with strawberry jelly, exactly the way we make crepes at home. It was absolutely delicious and I’m hoping I can find it in other restaurants throughout the rest of our trip.

After an hour or so of driving after eating at Hotel Gorski, we stopped in Czestochowa to see the original Black Madonna painting of Mary and Jesus, which has been darkened over time due to surviving fires and just old age in general.

The church was jam-packed with so many people. It probably wasn’t the best decision to go on a Sunday, but that was out of our control. Our guide was a priest named Father Simon and he was actually quite humorous. He started the tour off by saying “How do you make Holy Water? You boil the Hell out of it.”

In my opinion, the entire thing was too commercialized. We had to tip the priest after the tour, which didn’t really seem right to me. Don’t get me wrong, the church was gorgeous, it just wasn’t really my thing. However, there was a book written in Latin in a small museum there and I prided myself on being able to read a good majority of it.

As we were leaving the church, we somehow got on the topic of how Grandma won a Polish beauty pageant way back when and was crowned Miss Polonia New Jersey when she was younger. Pageant genes must run in the family!

She also told us about how she used to be an awesome polka dancer and that her and my Aunt Mar used to polka at all the weddings. She then said to me, “Sammy, you may be the Polish princess, but I’m the polka queen!”

So there’s your Grandma story for the day! It’s never a dull moment with her around that’s for sure!


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