This has been such a phenomenal trip. The highlight beyond the research we were able to do and the archives we visited, was seeing Europe and visiting the places where our own ancestral families and those of our clients were from. Our next research trips will not be so broad – they will focus on a small number of archives in a small geographic area. Next spring so far we plan for a Kaunas to Vilnius client trip (or perhaps 2) and a trip to the archives in Kraków, Przemysl, Rzeszow and Sanok. By tthat time perhaps I’ll even be able to spell and pronounce all these places correctly.
The drive to Warsaw, not unexpectedly took a couple of hours longer than it should have. Our goal for arrival there was set in stone – the car rental place closed at 4 PM and the van needed to be returned by then – no wiggle room. We got to Warsaw, dropped Lina and Gabriel off downtown and headed for our hotel near the airport. Our flights tomorrow are at 6 and 6:30 AM! By the time we unloaded the van and checked into the hotel it was close to 3 PM. Marek and I set off to return the van and discovered that there were no fewer than 4 different addresses on the rental papers. We drove to where we thought we had picked the van up – it was a park. Clearly not the right place. Then we drove to the airport – although we hadn’t picked up the van there, the rental place we thought we were going to get a van from had helped us find the place we finally got it from and we hoped they could point us in the right direction. They could and did. At 3:45 PM, we drove into the lot to return the van. At about 4:10 we were on our way to the old city to meet Lindsay, Ola and our Warsaw researcher.
Of course, the battery in my camera was dead and my phone battery was almost in the same state. Therefore, no photos. I was grateful to have a couple of hours to see something besides a hotel in Warsaw. During the several days were were here at the beginning of our trip, the only time I left the conference hotel was to have dinner and to pick up the van! Warsaw of course, unlike Kraków was almost completely destroyed during the war. The restoration here is amazing and if Rafal, our researcher hadn’t pointed out all the restorations and the era they were created from, I would never have realized that these buildings weren’t originals. For our final dinner of the trip, I had the best pirogies of the whole trip. Of course ice cream followed, as did stops in several amber stores and at some artists’ booths in the square.
All told a wonderful day and an absolutely rewarding trip. After 27 days on the road, I am ready to be home.