Welcome to my Travel Diary! These posts were not intended to be perfectly punctuated. There may be spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, and some down right ridiculousness.
We woke up this morning and quickly had to be ready for our 8am departure from Krakow, and two hour ride to Rzeszow. We had some coffee at the local shop across form our apartment and off we went!
At this time we arrived in Rzeszow and had a private tour through the city with a historian. I was amazed at how such a small city had done such enormous things, including having gone through several wars as well as Nazi and Austrian occupation. Rzeszow is the capital of the Subcarpathian Voivodeship in Southern Poland. It’s history is one of many battles and armies, and industrial labour. I was quite surprised at how large the city was and how colourful the buildings were. Most buildings were built after the war though, and looked quite new. After we walked the city we had a great underground tour of what the city once was (what’s a small medieval city without a great underground tour!?).
By this time our tour guide has had way too much coffee, and his breath nearly killed me…
Time to head to Dobrzechow! It was only a 5o minute drive from Rzeszow. The drive was so winding and narrow that I did think about tossing my cookies a few times. Here we had meetings with both the headmaster and priest of this town.
A little background info: through extensive research of the last year of my life, I had come to find out that nearly my entire Polish family was from this small town Southeast of Krakow called Dobrzechow. Currently there are 1,600 residents, and when my family was living there were about 600-800 residents. It’s an extremely small farming town. The purpose of this trip was to possibly corroborate the greaves that lie in the cemetery which we think belong to our family, and of course to visit Dob and learn about the history and way of life. Also, please excuse my use of Dob. God damn does Dobrzechow get tiring to write.
We got in to Dob a little early before our meeting with the headmaster Mr. Grodzki, so we had a quick lunch and then walked the cemetary. After 30 minutes or so, the grave diggers finally were able to find the Szetela’s grave for us. We had searched forever! The cemetery was a lot larger in real life than what it looked like in the very few photos I could find. Eventually we found Victoria Tenczar’s grave as well.
At this time we met up with the headmaster of the school who is also a registered historian for the area. Our translator was a vital help in understanding everything, as he did not speak a word of English. He gave us a bunch of gifts, one being a drawing of the old church which was what would have been the church my family visited every Sunday. I was so grateful for all of this! I still am and I cannot believe I got to visit the town where my family is from. I am the first one to ever come in search of relatives here.
We headed over to meet up with the priest to check out some records. We found a new record in the process which was my (get ready) great great great great great (no I’m not kidding) grandmother’s birth entry, from the year 1813. So over 200 years ago! As far as corroborating the graves, we did not have much luck because we did not have their death dates. Anyway, long story short, my family has been living in this town for over 200 years (her husband, my great grandfather x5, was born in 1808).
The priest wanted to show us his farm and the church. The church is very hard to get access in to because it is filled with gold. So I was ecstatic at this opportunity! The farm part I thought was funny. Definitely a slower pace of life there and you could tell he was very proud of his farm and cows. The church was magnificent to look at. And just when you think you’ve seen 100 churches (because let’s face it, important churches are everywhere in Europe), you see the very church your family would have gone to in the 19th and 20th century, and maybe, the very church your relatives still go to. We aren’t sure if we have any living family, but the priest promised to make an announcement in church.
Back to Krakow we went. It was a long and emotional day, and I definitely fell asleep on the ride back.
We arrived back in Krakow. It was time for dinner and drinks. We stopped in at Moa Burger which was absolutely delicious and casual. Majorly needed.
Had possibly the best sleep of my entire life.