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Itinerary for Poland and Lithuania Trip, October, 2018

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After learning some new (and until now unknown) information on my family heritage, I am beginning to figure out a rough itineray for our trip to Poland and Lithuania next year. I'm thinking about two weeks in Poland, and roughly a week in Lithuania, including intercountry travel days. I have decided not to do Gdansk or Poznan this time. This trip is primarily a family heritage journey in our ancestral villages with some main sights in bigger cities. We'll use Marriott points in Warsaw as they have a hotel there. As I go along, I will periodically update things and ask more questions on this forum. I think we'll use trains most of the time on our own, except for village visits with hired genealogy guides.

So here it is so far:

Day 1- Fly from US to Warsaw

Day 2- Arrive Warsaw, hotel check in, shake off jet lag, do some casual walking around.

Day 3- Laziensk Park, royal buildings, possibly Chopin Museum.

Day 4- Jewish heritage day for husband's paternal side- new Polin Museum, Jewish ghetto walking tour.

Day 5- Fly to Vilnius. Why fly? Husband does not like buses. Have read rail connections to Lithuania aren't great, and I don't want to go through Belarus, which requires a visa. Check into hotel, walk around old town.

Day 6- Vilnius sights.

Day 7- Rail to Kaunus. See SS Peter and Paul Cathedral where some paternal ancestors were married, other sights.

Day 8- Kaunus and Hill of Crosses.

Day 9- Meet genealogist guide and travel to paternal ancestral villages in Samogitia region in NW Lithuania.

Day 10- Time in ancestral villages and Telsai, where some ancestors married at St. Anthony's.

Day 11- Leave guide. Travel to Klaipedia and Circonian Split.

Day 12- Rest day for me in Klaipedia. Hope to find fishing guide for the day for husband.

Day 13- Travel day. Rail to Vilnius. Fly to Krakow.

Days 14 to 17- Krakow. Tour Krakow main sites and visit family graves in Krakow. Also use as base to see Aushwitz-Birkenau, Black Madonna in Czestochowa. Is it worth it to see salt mines, or is this too touristy?

Day 18- Leave Krakow and rail to Rzesnow or Premysl to meet genealogist guide for ancestral village in Podkarpackie region of SE Poland.

Days 19 to 20- Time in maternal ancestral village. Possible meeting with relatives. Visit open air museum in Sanok or a vineyard for a wine tasting.

Day 21- Rail to Warsaw. Visit Warsaw Uprising Museum.

Day 22- Fly back to US.

Day 23- Arrive in US.

We will do most of our own arrangements for hotels, air, and rail. Will contract with one or more genealogy companies for genealogist guides with ancestral village visits in Poland and Lithuania. I have seen several organizations recommended on genealogy forums, but Polish Origins and Ancestral Attic are most prominent. Has anyone used them? Do you recommend either one?

Secondly, my husband gets bored after a while with cahtedrals, museums and historical sites. I found in Italy that when I set aside a day here and there for something different, it made him very happy. (His fishing day in Florence was a huge hit, as was the soccer game in Rome). He is a huge sports junkie. Has anyone attended a soccer game in Poland or Lithuania? I have heard Krakow has a great soccer scene with two teams. How would I get tickets to a soccer game there or in another city?

Posting this also in Poland forum. All suggestions welcome, and looking for input on travel times, genealogy companies/guides, and special activities. If I am missing something. please advise! Thanks!

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