Jawornik Polski – travels in the Polish countryside May 20

We started on our travels from Krakow in the sun.  Thankfully it wasn’t too hot in the car although I did quickly learn to regulate the a/c and fan. The navigation system confounded us so we used our own GPS on the phone.  If you’re like me, and pour over maps, read about the history of Eastern Europe and look at people’s surnames and the places their families came from, you’ll understand the thrill I feel as we pass by towns which previously were only names.  Now, I need to figure out how to say them!


Łańcut – say it like Wine-sut. Really. DSC05507.JPG

As I did last summer, I found myself fascinated by the buildings along the roadside, the stone walls, wells, and travelers’ chapels to say nothing of the colors of the houses and the uniquely shaped churches.

Of course, this spring, the rain didn’t hold off for an entire day. There were bursts of thunder, downpours and then what looked like clearing, but of course was just a momentary distraction.

We headed for the office of civil records in Jawornik Polski (the second name distinguished it from all the other towns named Jawornik) to do some research, and immediately couldn’t find the building with the archives. Thank goodness for helpful people on the street and for Marek’s ability to communicate with them in Polish. Finally, the elusive building was found – we were pretty much right outside of it!

I am so grateful for helpful archivists, people who understand the holes in ourselves when we search for our families, and who are willing to help us not only fill those holes with documents but who lend a hand to give us information that contextualizes those documents and thus, expands our knowledge of ourselves by connecting us to the past.DSC05621.JPG

Speaking of the past. It’s so easy to look at an old building that needs repair and just see its age and how uninhabitable it looks. Here, the buildings are older than most of us can conceive of and no matter what condition they are in, most of the time, there appear to be people taking some care of them, sometimes even inhabiting them.

What would a day of research be without a trip to one or even two cemeteries? In this case, we visited a Greek Catholic cemetery and a Roman Catholic one.  Both seemed to still be in use, and old gravestones appear to be in the process of being replaced.

The storms descended upon us again, and muddy shoes and all we headed back to the car to continue on to Rzeszów for the night.  Our hotel was the Bristol and it’s going to be a great night!  We’ll be back there for another night later this week when we’ll spend some time there doing research, rather than just a night in between Jawornik Polski and Przemyśl .  We just finished dinner and look at the desserts we each absolutely had to have!  BTW, for those of you who drink, if you’re ever there, they make a really mean Cosmo!


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