„What are your plans for Warsaw?” he asked me. “I hope to visit Wilanów Palace, Łazienki Palace, and the Royal Castle, and, of course, see a Mazowsze performance.” “Ok, I’ll pick up up at 9 A.M.” OMG !!!
I had just arrived in Poland, and, at the insistence of a friend, I called Mazowsze Choreographer Witold Zapała, to say “Hi” (we had met the previous year in Los Angeles), and he was going to take me sight-seeing !!! and to the Opera (Straszny Dwór), and best of all, I was going to sit with him at a Mazowsze concert !!!
That was the beginning of my second trip to Poland. I knew it was going to be magical when I woke from my jet-lag induced nap, to hear Mazowsze singing outside my window. Stanisław Jopek and the singers had been rehearsing in my hotel!!
I had not been to Poland for 25 years. The Communists were no longer in control. With the help of PAT Tours, I rented a car, and mapped out a “tour” for myself, which included the cities and villages where my grandparents were born; a couple of villages that bore my name; several skansens (out-door museums); and stays in palaces and castles which had a limited number of rooms for tourists.
I spent 5 weeks driving 5,000 km throughout all of central and eastern Poland, from the Mazury Lakes in the north, to the Tatra, Pieniny, Bieskidy, Biesczady, etc. Mountains in the south. I photographed churches, and sampled Pierogi in all the restaurants…… I was home !!!