Our first stop was Warsaw, is a city that was almost completely destroyed in 1945 but is now a destination in and of itself with modern office towers sitting alongside fine architectural examples of Russian Orthodox Churches.
Our group enjoyed some brilliant weather during which we explored the beautifully restored historical district of the Old Town before moving to the more modern parts will with boutique shops and galleries, the elegant Royal Route and the vibrant cosmopolitan downtown area.
Some of the highlights of our time in Warsaw included the private Chopin concert in the Old Orangery, the surprise breakdown of our luxury coach and the replacement “cucumber bus” that took us back to the hotel. Delightful meals complimented the 4 nights in Warsaw.
From Warsaw, our itinerary took us to Krakow – everybody’s favourite Polish City. Our hotel provided the perfect base from which to explore the city. We enjoyed an idyllic, artistic atmosphere that illustrated why is the city is the cultural capital of Poland. It was bustling day and night with its lively cafés, restaurants and clubs. We enjoyed the many attractions, including one of the largest and most beautiful medieval squares in Europe, Old Market Square.
A sombre visit to Auschwitz, the grim Nazi extermination camp reminded us of troubled past of the area but a wonderful dinner in the Jewish Quarter – complete with a traditional klezmer band and a visit to the Schindler Museum restored our faith in the goodness in people.
Our final dinner in Krakow… more than 200 metres underground in the Wieliczka Salt Mine was a real surprise to all participants and provided a memorable end to the Polish portion of the conference.
It was heartening to see so many people decide to continue on with us for the post conference extension to Prague in the Czech Republic from 14 – 19 June 2016. Prague is a city of stunning beauty and retains evidence of the many nationalities that have influenced and sometimes dominated its history. Gothic and baroque spires, artnouveau facades and even cubist structures reflect a crucible of German, Italian, Flemish and Bohemian artistic movements.
Our full day excursion to Cesky Krumlov – timed to coincide with the medieval Five-Petalled Rose – was something to behold. People dressed in traditional costumes wandering everywhere was a real site.
To view some of the photos from this conference, please click here.