Sunday, June 17, 2012

Just finished a Skype call with Helise, who has been our guide and guru planning all of our trip. Helise is the director of Warsaw's Taube Center for the Renewal of Jewish Culture in Poland.  She's opened up Jewish Poland (and Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania, too) to us, letting us know where we need to be, who needs to guide us, and how, on earth, we make this happen. 
Here's our itinerary:

June 29, 2012-July 17, 2012

Friday, June 29
3:55 Arrival in Warsaw — Met by Jakub Lysiak, Driver and Tour Assistant

Welcome by Helise Lieberman, Director of the Taube Center for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland, a brief walk and consultation at the Jewish Historical Institute and the Jewish Genealogy & Family Heritage Center (time permitting)

Check into the Sofitel Victoria

8:00 PM Shabbat Service at the Nozyk Synagogue, which is a short walk from the hotel

Saturday, June 30

Tour of Warsaw’s Old Town, Royal Route, the University of Warsaw and Pilsudski Square with Magdalena Matuszewska, Program Manager of the Taube Center for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland

Sunday, July 1  Warsaw- Miedzyrzec Podlaski-Parczew-Lublin

Travel by van to Miedzyrzec Podlaski-Parczew-Lublin

Meeting and tour with Ryszard Kiryluk.  Visit in Parczew enroute to Lublin.  Time and weather permitting, a detour to Kazimierz Dolny, now an artist colony, which was a vibrant Jewish town before the War.

Overnight:       Vanilla Hotel in Lublin

Monday, July 2                        Lublin-Zamosc-Lutsk

A brief tour of Old Lublin and a visit to the archives. Continue by van to Zamosc with time for lunch and an opportunity to visit the recently-renovated synagogue and the city’s Renaissance-era market square.  Border crossing Hrubieszow.  Your Ukrainian guide will meet you in Lutsk.

Overnight :                  Lutsk

Tuesday, July 3                        Lvov/Lviv

Full day with guide in Lutsk, Trochenbrod.   (Late) evening drive to Lvov

Overnight:                               Dnister Hotel, Lvov

Wednesday, July 4                              

Two half-day tours of Lvov

Overnight:       Dnister Hotel, Lvov

Thursday, July 5                      Lvov-Lancut-Krakow

Drive to Krakow (via Zhovkva, Ukraine, time permitting) with a visit en route to Lancut, with its beautifully renovated synagogue and 17th-century palace

Dinner on Market Square or Szeroka Street.
10:00   Evening Festival concert at Tempel Synagogue, which is in Kazimierz.  The hotel is well located between the Market Square and the Kazimierz district, which “hosts” the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival.

Overnight:       Radisson Blu,  Krakow

Friday, July 6                           Krakow

Morning:  Guided walking tour of Kazimierz and visit to the Galicia Jewish Museum.  The guide will meet you at your hotel.

Free afternoon

9:00 PM Shabbat dinner with the Krakow JCC and 300+ guests  at the Kupa Synagogue. 

Saturday, July 7                       Krakow                      

Morning:          Guided walking tour of Old Krakow and the Wawel Castle. The guide will meet you at the hotel.

Afternoon Options:     Tour to the Salt Mine at Wieliczka, Nowa Huta, or Podgorze an/or Schindler Factory Museum

Final Festival Concert on Szeroka Street

Overnight:       Radisson Blu Krakow

Sunday, July 8    Krakow

Free day with recommendations (including those above)

Overnight:                   Krakow

Monday, July 9   Krakow-Warsaw      
Morning train to Warsaw (approximately 3 hours)

Afternoon walking tour of Jewish Warsaw with Helise Lieberman

Overnight:   Hotel Meridien Bristol

Tuesday, July 10   Warsaw-Treblinka-Tykocin-Bialystok

By van from Warsaw

Overnight:       Branicki Hotel,            Bialystok

Wednesday, July 11                   Bialystok

Tour of Bialystok with Jewish community activist Lucy Gold.

Afternoon trip to Bialowieza (Bisonland) 

Overnight:       Branicki Hotel             Bialystok

Thursday, July 12            

Bialystok – Border Crossing at Kuznica - Grodno

Tour of Grodno with Alina Romatovska

Overnight:  Semashko Hotel   Grodno

Friday, July 13                         Grodno

Grodno - Vaukavysk –Slonim – Grodno

Alina Romatovska will accompany you.

Overnight:  Semashko Hotel,  Grodno

Saturday, July 14            

Grodno - border crossing at Kuznica – Suwalki (optional:  Wigry Lake boat ride) - Augustow

Overnight: Hotel Warszawa in            Augustow

Sunday, July 15                       

Augustow                    border crossing at Szypliszki-- Kovno – Vilnius

Overnight:                   Radisson Blu Astorija, Vilnius

Monday, July 16                Vilnius

Morning tour of Vilnius and meeting with American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee representative in Lithuania, Ariel Nadbornik

Afternoon to explore the city on your own

Overnight:                   Radisson Blu Astorija, Vilnius

Tuesday, July 17                      Vilnius to St. Petersburg

[And if this isn't enough, we join the Gribens family for almost a week in St. Petersburg following this journey.  Details later...]

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