The last two days have been a whirlwind! Yesterday began early as we left Krakow and began the drive to Zakopane. On our way to Zakopane, we stopped at Kalwaria Zebrzydowska and Wadowice. Kalwaria Zebrzydowska is a beautiful monastery and a series of churches around the town. In total, there are 40 churches within the town. There are paths which people can walk to all the churches, which are set up like the Stations of the Cross for Jesus and for Mary. If you would like more information regarding the history of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, please visit here.
Next we headed to Wadowice, the hometown of St. John Paul II. We were able to visit the church where he was baptized, received his First Holy Communion, and Confirmation. We also were privileged to be able to celebrate the Mass inside the church. The house that he grew up in has been turned into a beautiful museum where you are led through exhibits which guide you through his life, from childhood until death. There was so much to St. John Paul II's life that it is amazing that they were able to fit it all into this museum. We were also able to eat lunch in Wadowice and eat the delicious kremówka papieska or Pope's Cake. Kremówka papieska is similar to a cream puff but in a cake form. John Paul II was rumored to have eaten nine of these at one time as a school boy, but a friend beat him by eating 11.
We then began our beautiful 2 1/2 hour drive to Zakopane. Rolling hills and mountains surrounded us. When we arrived in Zakopane, these beautiful mountains were right in front of our eyes. The Tatra Mountains are what separate Poland from Slovakia and are the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains.
Now for today, we celebrated Mass in the church in Zakopane and then headed up to the top of Gubalowka Hill for better views of the Tatras and shopping. The rest of the day has been free for all of us to shop and enjoy the sights and cool, rainy weather of Zakopane.