Poland, the Heart of Europe: Krakow, Warsaw, Torun & Gdansk

30 May – 11 Jun 2018

  • Region:
    • Europe
    • Poland
  • Status: open
  • Code: 21818
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Overview

Tour Highlights

This tour is limited to 22 participants

  • Join Dr Iva Rosario on an unforgettable cultural tour of Poland examining the development of four of Central Europe’s most beautiful cities: Krakow, Warsaw, Torun and the medieval port of Gdansk.
  • Enjoy extended stays in these cities so that you may achieve a full understanding of their historical development and present character.
  • Explore the magnificent old cities of Krakow, Torun and Gdansk, with built environments of lovely Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches and palaces, the equal of cities such as Prague.
  • View some of Central Europe’s grandest castles, including the headquarters of the Teutonic Knights, Malbork Castle.
  • Visit the 13th-century royal Wieliczka Salt Mine featuring an entire cathedral carved out of the rock salt.
  • Optional visit to the UNESCO-listed Auschwitz-Birkenau, a key place of memory for the whole of humankind for the holocaust, as well as a monument to the strength of the human spirit.
  • Attend music performances in Krakow and Warsaw.

13 days in Poland

Overnight Krakow (4 nights) • Warsaw (4 nights) • Torun (1 night) • Gdansk (3 nights)

Overview

We explore the rich, turbulent history of Poland through the lens of urbanism, architecture and art in four of Central Europe’s most beautiful cities: Krakow, Warsaw, Torun and Gdansk. Through great churches, royal and aristocratic palaces, fine market precincts with beautiful merchant houses, and some of Europe’s grandest castles, we explore the fascinating rise of Central Europe’s most powerful Renaissance state. Annihilated after 1795 and reborn after WWI, subjected by the Soviets after WWII, it led the fight for liberation against the USSR during the 1980s. In dynastic monuments such as Krakow’s Wawel Royal Castle and Warsaw’s Royal Palace, we explore the creative adaption of Western Gothic and Renaissance form. We examine Poland’s role as bastion of Catholicism against Russian Orthodoxy, Swedish Protestantism, Turkish Islam and Communist secularism, at Krakow’s SS Stanislas and Wenceslas and Warsaw’s St John’s Cathedral and beautiful city churches. In the north we investigate Polish interaction with the fearsome Teutonic Knights at the vast Malbork Castle; and relations with the Hanseatic League in Gdansk’s fascinating medieval port and Torun’s lovely merchant houses. Medieval Poland derived incredible riches from salt, mined at the vast Wieliczka Salt Mine, incorporating incredible subterranean chapels carved entirely from salt. Poland’s great wealth and sophisticated medieval culture encouraged the inauguration of Krakow’s University, one of the world’s oldest, where the great Nicholas Copernicus was a student. We’ll encounter other great Poles, like Frédéric Chopin and Marie Curie, in the places where they lived and worked. In royal collections we’ll see masterpieces including Leonardo’s Lady with an Ermine and on our journeys between Poland’s magnificent Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque cities, we’ll enjoy a lovely rural landscape largely untouched by the ravages of industrial modernity.

Itinerary

The following itinerary lists a range of site visits which we plan to visit. Many are accessible to the public, but some require special permission which may only be confirmed closer to the tour’s departure. Furthermore a number of the sites have not confirmed their opening hours for 2018. Therefore the daily activities described in this itinerary may change or be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in opening hours, renovation works, train schedules and confirmation of music performances. Participants will receive a final itinerary together with their tour documents. The tour includes breakfast daily, lunch and evening meals as indicated in the detailed itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=evening meal.

Krakow - 4 nights

Day 1: Wednesday 30 May, Arrive Krakow
  • Orientation Walk (optional)
  • Housekeeping meeting
  • Welcome Evening Meal

Travellers arriving in Krakow on the ASA ‘designated’ flight will be transferred to the Holiday Inn. Note: if you are not arriving on the ASA ‘designated’ flight you will be required to make your own way to the hotel, or you may wish to contact ASA to arrange a private transfer.

After checking into our hotel, there will be time at leisure followed by an optional orientation walk within the vicinity of our hotel. This evening we will have a short introductory meeting before dining at the hotel’s restaurant. (Overnight Krakow) D

Day 2: Thursday 31 May, Krakow
  • Krakow Old Town: Collegium Maius (courtyard only), Church of St. Anne, the Market Square, Church of St. Adalbert, Church of St Barbara (exterior), Church of St. Mary (Veit Stoss altarpiece) & the Town Hall Tower.
  • Afternoon at leisure

We commence our tour of Poland with a walking tour of Krakow’s old town. After visiting Collegium Maius (courtyard only) and the Collegiate Church of St. Anne, we proceed to the famous, world heritage listed Market Square which was laid out in 1257 when the city received its new municipal charter from Boleslaw the Chaste. One of the largest and most beautiful in Europe, this square is a virtual architectural museum with historic façades as well as shops, stalls and outdoor cafes. Ancient buildings include the imposing Renaissance Cloth Hall, the Gothic Town Hall Tower, the magnificent Gothic-Renaissance-Baroque Church of St. Mary, splendid Neo-classical palaces and the tiny Romanesque Church of St. Adalbert. Its cellars house a small but very interesting museum devoted to the history of the Market Square.

The monumental Church of St. Mary dominates the north-east corner of the square. Its façade, regarded by some as surpassing even that of Wawel Cathedral, is a quintessential example of Krakovian ecclesiastical architecture. Although an earlier church predated the Market Square, the present Gothic brick basilica was completed in the late 14th century under the supervision of the Prague builder, Nicholas Werner. Later periods saw the addition of tracery and Renaissance spires and a Baroque porch. There are many treasures in the interior but undoubtedly the most important is the outstanding High Altar by the great German master, Veit Stoss (completed c.1490). This massive late Gothic polyptych (13m by 11m) carved of lime wood is devoted to the life of the Virgin Mary and is regarded as one of the master’s greatest works. Another fine element is the church’s 14th-century choir windows, influenced by French Gothic models. They display 40 scenes from the book of Genesis and from the lives of Jesus and the Virgin.

Our program is designed to conclude at approximately 2.30pm with the remainder of the afternoon at leisure. You may wish to visit the Rynek Underground Museum situated below the market square. (Overnight Krakow) B

Day 3: Friday 1 June, Krakow
  • The ‘Royal Way’
  • Wawel Royal Cathedral of SS. Stanislaus and Wenceslas: Nave, choir, chapels & Royal Crypts
  • Wawel Royal Castle: Courtyard and State Rooms,
  • Evening Music Performance (details to be confirmed in 2018)

This morning we shall follow the so-called ‘Royal Way’ which was the traditional route taken by Polish monarchs to their coronations in the cathedral on Wawel Hill. We will then visit the Wawel Hill where the Vistulians built a medieval fortress which with time became a large castle and cathedral. As the site of royal coronations and burials for 500 years, the cathedral and castle were extended and embellished by successive rulers. More than any other place in Poland, it is a showcase of the country’s history. As a symbol of national identity, the cathedral and castle at Wawel hold a similar position in the hearts of the Poles as the Prague Cathedral and Castle do for the Czechs.

We begin in the Cathedral of SS. Stanislaus and Wenceslas. This essentially Gothic church, the third to be erected on this site, was built in 1320-64. Inside, the most important treasures are: the Shrine of St. Stanislaus (the 11th-century bishop of Krakow and patron saint of Poland) designed by Giovanni Trevano (1626-9); the Czartoryski Chapel; the Crypt of St. Leonard which is the most important remnant of the previous Romanesque cathedral; the Sigismund Chapel, often described as ‘the pearl of the Renaissance, north of the Alps'; the Chapel of the Holy Cross with its outstanding tomb for Casimir the Jagiellon by Veit Stoss (1492). If time permits, we shall also visit the Royal Crypts where such national heroes as Thaddeus Kosciuszko are buried.

We next visit the Royal Castle. An earlier Gothic fortress was rebuilt in 1502-6 for Sigismund I Jagiellon as a splendid Renaissance four-winged palace designed by the Italian architects. It has retained this aspect despite some later alterations. After the court transferred to Warsaw, Wawel castle was neglected. Yet, despite the depredations of the Swedes, Prussians and Austrians (who replaced the original Gothic fortifications with the present massive brick walls) and the loss of many treasures, the complex, restored since World War II, is undoubtedly one of the most splendid Renaissance residences in Central Europe.

The castle’s courtyard has magnificent arcades and windows in pristine Florentine Renaissance style. We visit the State Rooms including the spectacular Senators’ Hall and Throne Hall. Among the treasure in these rooms are the 140 or so Flemish tapestries that were commissioned by the last Jagiellon king, Sigismund August in the late 15th century. This collection, featuring biblical themes, landscapes and mythological subjects, is one of the largest and most important in Europe.

In the evening we will attend a music performance (program to be confirmed in 2018). Krakow has a proud history of classical music, with a symphonic orchestra playing concerts in the city from as early as 1909 until the outbreak of World War II. During the war, the General Government Philharmonic was composed of Polish musicians and conducted by Germans, and the orchestra even became known as one of the best in Europe, as well as being a haven for musicians who could otherwise have faced concentration camps and death. After the war, the Krakow Philharmonic was established in February 1945 as the first one in Poland, and used their current building, a former Catholic House built in 1931 at ul. Zwierzyniecka 1, as the philharmonic hall from that time. Of particular significance is the magnificent organ by Johannes Klais-Orgelbau. (Overnight Krakow) B

Day 4: Saturday 2 June, Krakow – Wieliczka – Auschwitz – Krakow
  • Wieliczka Salt Mine
  • Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum

About 12km south of Krakow is the Wieliczka Salt Mine, which has functioned for over seven centuries. In the Middle Ages the salt mines here provided one-third of royal revenue and drove the development of medieval Krakow and Southern Poland. Approximately two kilometres of the 200 kilometres of galleries and chambers are open to the public. The depth reached is 135 metres. and the temperature is constant at about 14 degrees Celsius. The chambers contain fascinating underground chapels where every article – pulpits, altars, sacred objects – is carved in salt. Outstanding chapels include the Chapel of Blessed Kings (19thc.), the Chapel of St Anthony and the Chapel of the Holy Cross. These unique mines now appear on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

In the afternoon you have the option of visiting the UNESCO-listed Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum. This sobering half-day trip will have a lasting impact, commemorating the lives of those who died in the extermination camps during the Holocaust of World War II. Alternatively you may wish to enjoy an afternoon at leisure in Krakow. (Overnight Krakow) B

Warsaw - 4 nights

Day 5: Sunday 3 June, Krakow – Warsaw
  • Princes Czartoryski Museum: painting Lady with an Ermine
  • Train from Krakow to Warsaw
  • Orientation walk
  • Evening Meal at Restaurant Podwale 25

This morning we visit the Princes Czartoryski Museum to admire Leonardo da Vinci’s splendid Lady with an Ermine. One of Leonardo’s undisputed masterpieces, it is the portrait of the beloved mistress of Ludovico Sforza “Il Moro,” duke of Milan.

After an early lunch at leisure we travel by train from Krakow to Warsaw. On arrival we take a short orientation walk before dining together at a local restaurant. (Overnight Warsaw) BD

Day 6: Monday 4 June, Warsaw
  • The ‘Royal Way': Krakowskie Przedmiescie, Nowy Swiat Avenue incl. St. Mary’s Visitation Church, President’s Palace (exterior), University of Warsaw (exterior), Church of the Holy Cross
  • Morning tea at the historic Blikle Café
  • Palace of Science and Culture, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and other monuments
  • Afternoon at leisure in Warsaw

The avenues Krakowskie Przedmiescie, Nowy Swiat and Ujazdowskie make up one boulevard which stretches from the King’s official residence in Royal Square, Old Town, to his private palaces in Lazienki and Wilanow. When King Sigismund Vasa moved the capital of Poland to Warsaw from Krakow (1596), these streets gradually came to be lined with aristocratic palaces and wealthy burgher residences. On coronation day, the royal procession would proceed along this avenue which would be decorated with numerous triumphal arches to celebrate the new ruler, hence its name: the ‘Royal Way’. In the 19th century, the ‘Royal Way’ saw many major political demonstrations and patriotic marches. Much of this area was destroyed during World War II and was rebuilt. Often, all that has been reconstructed is the historic façades behind which are completely new buildings. Nevertheless, these streets are among the most elegant and charming in Warsaw with many special cafés, shops, luxurious tenement houses and palaces which today house government departments and embassies. Along the route we’ll also encounter a host of fine monuments and churches.

We begin at Castle Square and walk along the tree-lined Krakowskie Przedmiescie Avenue, which is one of the most historic and beautiful streets in Warsaw. Among the many interesting sights are: The Church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary containing altar figures which are among the best examples of 17th-century wooden sculpture in Warsaw; the Church of St. Anne which has some excellent 16th-century Baroque murals by Zbrowski, the President’s Palace; the Church of St. Joseph the Guardian which is one of the few churches to have escaped destruction and thus boasts an original 18th-century interior. We’ll also see the University of Warsaw with many fine buildings, the Nicholas Copernicus Monument (1830); the Adam Mickiewicz Monument (1898); the 18th-century Potocki Palace; our own Bristol Hotel (one of the grandest hotels in Poland); the Church of the Holy Cross which is an outstanding example of Warsovian late 17th-century architecture – it contains the heart of Chopin in the lower church – and the Ostrogski Palace which is the headquarters of the International Chopin society.

We continue along Nowy Swiat Avenue. It was, and still is, the smartest street in Warsaw. Here, on the tree-lined avenue, it will be difficult to refrain from investigating the many lovely shops and cafés. We can treat ourselves to a snack at one of these – the Blikle patisserie/café, which is one of the most famous historic coffee houses in Warsaw and was, at the start of the century, renowned for its doughnuts and other delicacies. Our walking tour will end with the Palace of Science and Culture with its splendid view of Warsaw and with a visit to Tomb of the unknown soldier. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. (Overnight Warsaw) B

Day 7: Tuesday 5 June, Warsaw
  • Old Town: Royal Square, Royal Castle (exterior & interior), Town Square, Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Kanonia Street, City Walls and Barbican
  • New Town and Monument to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising

Our tour today commences with the Castle Square in Old Town. We examine the Monument to King Sigismund III Vasa, who moved the capital of the kingdom from Krakow to Warsaw in 1596. Carved in stone by Constantino Tencalla in the mid-16th century, the monument symbolised the glory of the Vasa dynasty. We next visit the Royal Castle that dominates the square. It was reconstructed from rubble (1971-88) after the Germans destroyed it in World War II. The red brick façade of the Royal Castle now appears exactly as it looked in the 17th century when King Sigismund Vasa adapted it to the needs of a royal residence as well as the meeting place for the parliament. It was at this time that the castle received its present early Baroque form, a 5-winged pentagon around an inner courtyard. The Italian architect Giovanni Trevano oversaw its construction. Today, the Royal Castle retains much of its original splendour.

We shall tour the Castle interior where many of the fascinating historical state rooms and private apartments are open to the public. Many of the original furnishings have been returned after they were hidden during the Second World War. Among the highlights are the King’s Apartments, the Ballroom, Knight’s Hall, Marble Room, Throne Room and the wonderful Canaletto Room with twenty-three paintings by Canaletto’s nephew and pupil, Bernardo Bellotto. These paintings are largely townscapes of Warsaw painted between 1767 and 1780, which, because of their meticulous detail, served as invaluable guides in the reconstruction of the historic parts of the city.

A short walk from the Royal Castle brings us to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The unusual early 15th-century façade is in the original Mazovian Gothic style. Originally a parish church, the building became a cathedral in 1789. It witnessed several important events like the coronation of the last Polish king, Stanislaw August Poniatowski, in 1764. Although largely reconstructed, the interior contains several interesting items including tombstones and sacred objects. In the crypt is the tomb of one of Poland’s best-known authors, and Nobel Prize winner in 1905, Henryk Sienkiewicz, author of Quo Vadis.

Close by is the Old Town Square, which is undoubtedly the loveliest market square in Warsaw. This open space experienced several reconstructions from its inception in the early Middle Ages. Today the house façades of the wealthy burgher houses are mainly in the 17th-century style. Although completely reconstructed after World War II, this delightful square is a restorer’s showcase and the visitor is hard-pressed to remember that all of the buildings were resurrected from rubble. Our tour of Old Town will end with a stroll along charming Kanonia Street and an investigation of the medieval city fortifications and Barbican.

We shall also make a short excursion into adjacent New Town, which, although more modest than its affluent neighbour, has its own charming atmosphere and is a welcome respite from the crowded streets of the Old Town. Our tour will conclude with a visit to the striking Monument to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. Located in central Warsaw, the monument, unveiled in 1989, depicts figures emerging from the wartime rubble. (Overnight Warsaw) B

Day 8: Wednesday 6 June, Warsaw
  • Royal Lazienki Park: Chopin Monument, Palace on the Water, Myslewicki Palace & White Pavillion
  • Evening Music Performance (details to be confirmed in 2018)

A short public bus ride along the Royal Route brings us to the Royal Lazienki Park (Lazienki Krolewskie). Along with the Palace on the Water, the park is closely associated with the last king of Poland, Stanislaw August Poniatowski, who transformed what was once a game park into one of the great palatial complexes in Poland. His greatest legacy is the summer residence, the Palace on the Water (Palac Na Wodzie), which he commissioned from the Italian architect Domenico Merlini in the last decades of the 18th century. Originally, a small bathhouse (lazienki means bath in Polish) was located on the canal in the park but, by the time Merlini completed his project in 1793, the modest structure was transformed into the magnificent Palace on the Water. It is unquestionably one of the finest examples of the Neo-classical style in Poland. The surroundings of the residence were not neglected and were redesigned to accommodate orangeries, romantic structures such as a Greek temple, a hermitage and a theatre on the island in the Greek style. Sadly, King Stanislaw could not enjoy his summer palace for long because, in 1795, following the Third partition of Poland, he was forced to abdicate and left the realm permanently. We shall tour the interior rooms which feature the stunning Ballroom, Dining Room (where famous Thursday dinners were held with leading intellectuals and artists), Picture Gallery and the Bathing Room. We shall next visit the the Myslewicki Palace and the White Pavillion.

Tonight we plan to attend a music performance (program to be confirmed in 2018). (Overnight Warsaw) B

Torun - 1 night

Day 9: Thursday 7 June, Warsaw – Torun
  • Old Town Square
  • Town Hall (exterior)
  • Town walk including Church of St. Mary
  • Medieval Fortifications
  • Nicholas Copernicus Museum (exterior)
  • Church of SS. John the Baptist & John the Evangelist
  • Ruins of the Castle of the Teutonic Knights

We drive to Torun to explore this beautiful town on the banks of the Vistula River. We begin in Torun’s Old Town Square with its wonderful collection of well-preserved burgher houses and magnificent Town Hall. We also visit the adjacent Church of St. Mary which dominates the south-west corner of the square. A fine example of Vistulian Gothic, it features an unusually ornate east gable and octagonal towers. The church, erected by the Franciscan friars in 1263-1300, boasts a splendid Baroque main altar and 15th-century stalls.

Our town walk takes us past the Nicholas Copernicus Museum, dedicated to the town’s most famous son. Nearby, we visit the imposing Medieval Church of SS. John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, with its outstanding collection of art works including altarpieces, furniture and frescoes. Finally, we explore the ruins of the ancient Castle of the Teutonic Knights that allows a fine panorama of the Vistula River. (Overnight Torun) BD

Gdansk - 3 nights

Day 10: Friday 8 June, Torun – Malbork Castle – Gdansk
  • Malbork Castle

Our journey from Torun to Gdansk will feature a tour of Malbork Castle, which is rightly regarded as the finest example of secular medieval architecture on the European mainland. The vast expanse of the fortress covers an area of some 21 hectares. The history of the castle is inextricably linked to that of the Teutonic Order of the Hospital of St. Mary in Jerusalem, more commonly known as the Teutonic Knights. Founded in 1191, this strict military-religious Order settled in Poland in 1226 to aid in the Christianisation of the pagan Prussians. However, the knights began to establish an independent state by occupying various castles and finally, in 1274, by constructing a new fortress in Marienburg (Malbork in Polish). In 1309, with the Order’s expulsion from other parts of Europe, Malbork became its chief refuge. The Knights grew in strength and power until 1466 when, following their final defeat in battle, the castle passed to Polish royal rule. Although the fortress suffered neglect and fell into decay, it was restored in the 19th century. Further restoration was required after major damage in 1945.

The Castle is divided into the Lower (outer) Castle, Middle Castle and Upper Castle. The most important is the Middle Castle, which contained the Great Refectory and the magnificent Grand Master’s Palace. This 14th-century palace was one of the grandest Gothic residences in Europe, not unlike the Papal Palace at Avignon. The Upper Castle is the oldest part of the complex. It contains the impressive Gothic chapter house, which boasts one of the earliest interlocking star vaults in Europe, as well as 14th-century frescoes of the Grand Masters. Not to be missed is also the Church of St. Mary with its beautifully embellished Golden Gate. After thoroughly investigating this huge castle, we drive into the great Baltic port of Gdansk. Tonight we dine together at our hotel overlooking the river. (Overnight Gdansk) BD

Day 11: Saturday 9 June, Gdansk
  • Main Town including: the ‘Royal Way’, Dluga Street, Dlugi Targ, Highland Gate, Prison Tower, Golden Gate and St. George’s Court, Main Town Hall (exterior), Neptune Fountain, Golden House, Artus Court (interior), other house façades, the Green Gate
  • Waterfront including: Seven Gothic watergates/storehouses, promenade along the Motlawa River, Zuraw (Giant Crane)

Situated on the Vistula delta, Gdansk (German: Danzig) was established in the 10th century by Mieszko I of Poland as his realm’s major port. It has retained this status today; its strategic importance is well known to historians of German-Polish 20th-century relations. From the 13th century, when Gdansk was first granted civic privileges, the port became an immensely wealthy trading and manufacturing city. It was a member of the important northern trading confederation, the Hanseatic League. It gained a large cosmopolitan population; German merchants and tradesmen mixed with Poles, Jews, Dutch, Swedes and even Scots. Throughout its subsequent history Gdansk fought to preserve its civic privileges, trapped in struggles between Poland and Prussia, which both recognised its strategic significance. On the one hand it separated East Prussia from the rest of the German lands. On the other, it was vital to Poland as the country’s only seaport and trade outlet.

We begin our sojourn in Gdansk by exploring the historic Main Town. The most important streets of Main Town are the Dluga and the Dlugi Targ, which boast most of the finest burghers’ houses and monuments erected during the late Middle Ages. Our walk starts at the west end of Dluga Street with the Highland Gate (16th century) that was a part of the city’s fortifications. Next to the gate is the medieval Prison Tower that forms part of the 15th-century Gothic walls. Close by is the ‘Golden Gate’ (1612-1640) adorned with fine Renaissance sculptural decoration. To the left is the St. George’s Court, an impressive example of Flemish style Gothic.

Dluga Street and Dlugi Targ formed what was referred to as the ‘Royal Way’. This street was one of the finest examples of urban architecture in Poland until 1945 when it was destroyed. Everything has been painstakingly rebuilt. We make our way along this street to the Main Town Hall. Its present façade is in the Renaissance style, following the remodelling from the original Gothic in the 16th century by several eminent architects. Its interiors were sumptuously decorated and often served as a royal residence. Our tour of the interior will include the Red Hall, the Winter Room and the Small Court Room.

Our tour continues with an investigation of the important buildings on Dlugi Targ, which begins at the Town Hall (exterior) and ends at the Motlawa River. A feature of this last section of the ‘Royal Way’ is the raised terraces that give a unique flavour to Main Town. Among the many magnificent residences along this street, of particular note are the ‘Golden House’ with its outstanding façade and the Artus Court. Erected in the late 15th century, it functioned as the town’s merchant union and guilds headquarters. We visit the interiors that were reopened in 1997 after extensive refurbishment.

After admiring the Neptune Fountain, cast in 1613, we examine the Green Gate (16th century) which was a palace rather than a gate. Its façade has rich stonework, sculptures and door surrounds. Our tour of the Main Town ends with a walk along the riverside promenade. Here we can view the various medieval gates-turned-storehouses that line the bank and which remind us of Gdansk’s importance as a Hanseatic port. The most impressive monument here is the Zuraw (Giant Crane), which is one of Gdansk’s greatest medieval architectural treasures. It is a massive medieval wooden crane placed between two brick towers and is unique in Europe. (Overnight Gdansk) B

Day 12: Sunday 10 June, Gdansk
  • The Gdansk Shipyard – the Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers of 1970
  • The Old Town including the Great Mill, Old Town Hall and other buildings (exteriors)
  • The Arsenal, St Mary’s Church, Royal Chapel (exterior)
  • Time at leisure
  • Group Farewell Meal at ‘Goldwasser Restaurant’

A short walk brings us this morning to the entrance to the world-famous Gdansk Shipyard where the Solidarity movement was born in 1980. This movement not only initiated the demise of the Communist regime in Poland but also initiated a chain reaction which led to the fall of the iron curtain in 1989. We encounter the Monument to the 1970 Shipyard Workers, which is a poignant reminder of the tragic events of December 1970 when the police and army killed many shipyard workers who were protesting against Poland’s repressive regime. The monument was not erected until 1980 on the 10th anniversary of this bloodbath. That same year Lech Walesa signed the historic Gdansk agreements with the Communist authorities which led to the formation of the Independent Solidarity Trade Union.

We next walk to the Old Town. Here we admire the Great Mill which is one of Gdansk’s finest secular buildings. In the 14th century this structure was the largest of its kind in Europe. We then explore the Old Town Hall, one of the few buildings in the Old Town to survive the events of World War II. Built in the 16th century, it has a fine façade and an impressive interior. Following further exploration of the Old Town, we walk to the nearby Arsenal, an outstanding example of Flemish Mannerism. We then explore St. Mary’s Church, which was begun in 1343 and which is one of the largest brick churches in the world. It is 5,000 square metres in area and can accommodate 25,000 people. Whereas the exterior is reminescent of a fortress, the vast interior contains many treasures.

The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Tonight we will enjoy our farewell meal at the charming Goldwasser Restaurant located in the historical centre. (Overnight Gdansk) BD

Day 13: Monday 11 June, Depart Gdansk

The tour ends in Gdansk. Participants taking ASA’s ‘designated’ flight will transfer to Gdansk airport for their flight to Australia. If you have made your own arrangements, you may take a taxi to the airport, or ASA staff can organise a transfer for you. B

Accommodation

13 days in Poland

All hotels are rated 4 to 5-star locally and are comfortable and conveniently situated. All rooms have shower or bath and w.c. Double rooms (for single use) may be requested – and are subject to availability and payment of the double (as single) supplement. Further information on hotels will be provided in the ‘Tour Hotel List’ given to tour members prior to their departure.

  • Krakow (4 nights): 5-star Holiday Inn – housed in the beautifully renovated Parenskich Palace near the Main Market Square in the historical centre. www.hik.krakow.pl
  • Warsaw (4 nights): 5-star Bristol Hotel – situated next to the Presidential Palace and within easy walking distance of the old town. www.hotelbristolwarsaw.pl
  • Torun (1 night): 4-star Hotel 1231 – housed in a restored 13th-century building by the ruins of the Teutonic Castle. www.hotel1231.pl
  • Gdansk (3 nights): 4-star Hanza Hotel – situated on a historic bank of the Motlawa river, near the famous Gdansk Crane. www.hotelhanza.pl

Note: Hotels are subject to change. In this instance a hotel of similar standard will be provided.

How to book

Making a Tentative Reservation before the tour price has been published

ASA INTENTION TO TRAVEL APPLICATION FORM

Some ASA tours fill almost immediately. Don’t miss out! You can register your ‘Intention to Travel’ by completing this application and returning this to ASA with a AUD$100.00 per person deposit. Once the tour price has been published, the itinerary and ASA Reservation Application Form will be sent to you. From the time you receive the itinerary you will have two weeks to either:

  • Send us a completed ASA Reservation Application Form together with an additional deposit of AUD$400.00 per person. On receipt of this Reservation Application and deposit, ASA will process your booking and if approved, send you a tour confirmation. At this time your deposit of $500.00 AUD is subject to the tour’s Booking Conditions.

Or

  • CANCEL your Intention to Travel in writing. ASA will refund your AUD$100.00 per person deposit, less a $33.00 service fee (including GST).
Passport Details

All participants must provide no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the program a photocopy of the front page of their current passport.

Double (as single) Supplement

Payment of the double (as single) supplement will ensure accommodation in a double room for single use throughout the tour. The number of rooms available for single use is extremely limited. People wishing to take this supplement are therefore advised to book well in advance.

Gallery Tour Map
Physical Endurance & Practical Information
Physical Rating

The number of flags is a guide to the degree of difficulty of ASA tours relative to each other (not to those of other tour companies). It is neither absolute nor literal. One flag is given to the least taxing tours, six to the most. Flags are allocated, above all, according to the amount of walking and standing each tour involves. Nevertheless all ASA tours require that participants have a good degree of fitness enabling 2-3 hours walking or 1-1.5 hours standing still on any given site visit or excursion. Many sites are accessed by climbing slopes or steps and have uneven terrain.

This 13-day tour involves:
  • Extensive walking (usually 9.00am – 5.00pm), use of city public transport, and standing during museum and other site visits
  • Walking on uneven terrain, cobbled streets, and up and down hills and/or flights of stairs
  • This tour includes the use of audio headsets which amplify the voice of your guide (despite noisy surroundings). This technology also allows you to wander off during a tour or perhaps take an extra photo, without missing any information.
  • This tour includes the use of audio headsets which amplify the voice of your guide (despite noisy surroundings). This technology also allows you to move freely during site visits without missing any information.
Other considerations:
  • 4 and 5-star hotels with three hotel changes
  • Long distance coach travel: Warsaw – Torun (210kms); Day 10: Torun – Malbork – Gdansk (224kms)
  • Train travel Day 5: Krakow – Warsaw
  • You must be able to carry your own hand-luggage. Hotel porterage includes 1 piece of luggage per person

It is important to remember that ASA programs are group tours, and slow walkers affect everyone in the group. As the group must move at the speed of the slowest member, the amount of time spent at a site may be reduced if group members cannot maintain a moderate walking pace. ASA tours should not present any problem for active people who can manage day-to-day walking and stair-climbing. However, if you have any doubts about your ability to manage on a program, please ask your ASA travel consultant whether this is a suitable tour for you.

Please note: it is a condition of travel that all participants agree to accept ASA’s directions in relation to their suitability to participate in activities undertaken on the tour, and that ASA retains the sole discretion to direct a tour participant to refrain from a particular activity on part of the tour. For further information please refer to the ASA Reservation Application Form.

Practical Information

Prior to departure, tour members will receive practical notes which include information on visa requirements, health, photography, weather, clothing and what to pack, custom regulations, bank hours, currency regulations, electrical appliances and food. The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers see: www.smartraveller.gov.au

Visas

Australian passport holders are permitted to stay visa free in countries listed under the Schengen agreement, for a maximum of 90 days within a 6 month period.

Tour Price & Inclusions

AUD $TBA Land Content Only – Early-Bird Special: book before 30 June 2017

AUD $TBA Land Content Only

AUD $TBA  Double (as Single) Supplement

For competitive Economy, Business or First Class airfares and/or group airfares please contact ASA for further information.

Tour Price (Land Content Only) includes:

  • Accommodation in twin-share rooms with private facilities in 4 to 5-star hotels
  • Breakfast daily & evening meals where: B=breakfast & D=evening meal
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included.
  • Airport-hotel transfers if travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flights
  • Transportation by air-conditioned coach; travel by train from Krakow to Warsaw (Day 5)
  • Porterage of one piece of luggage per person at hotels (not at airports or railway stations)
  • Lecture and site-visit program
  • Local guides
  • Entrance fees
  • 2 musical performances (Krakow and Warsaw)
  • Use of audio headsets during site visits
  • Tour Reference book
  • Tips for the coach driver, local guides and restaurants for included meals.
Tour Price (Land Content Only) does not include:
  • Airfare: Australia-Krakow, Gdansk-Australia
  • Personal spending money
  • Airport-hotel transfers if not travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flights
  • Luggage in excess of 20 kg (44 lbs)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if applicable).
Terms & Conditions
Deposits

A deposit of $500.00 AUD per person is required to reserve a place on an ASA tour.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • More than 75 days before departure: $500.00**
  • 75-46 days prior 25% of total amount due
  • 45-31 days prior 50% of total amount due
  • 30-15 days prior 75% of total amount due
  • 14-0 days prior 100% of total amount due

**This amount may be credited to another ASA tour departing within 12 months of the original tour you booked. We regret, in this case early-bird discounts will not apply. We take the day on which you cancel as being that on which we receive written confirmation of cancellation.

Unused Portions of the Tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Will the Tour Price or Itinerary Change?

If the number of participants on a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates ASA reserves the right to amend the advertised price. We shall, however, do all in our power to maintain the published price. If an ASA tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all tour monies paid. Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of ASA make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes in due course.

Travel Insurance

ASA requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. A copy of your travel insurance certificate and the reverse charge emergency contact phone number must be received by ASA no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the tour.

Final Payment

The balance of the tour price will be due 75 days prior to the tour commencement date.

Limitation of Liability

ASA is not a carrier, event or tourist attraction host, accommodation or dining service provider. All bookings made and tickets or coupons issued by ASA for transport, event, accommodation, dining and the like are issued as an agent for various service providers and are subject to the terms and conditions and limitations of liability imposed by each service provider. ASA is not responsible for their products or services. If a service provider does not deliver the product or service for which you have contracted, your remedy lies with the service provider, not ASA.

ASA will not be liable for any claim (eg. sickness, injury, death, damage or loss) arising from any change, delay, detention, breakdown, cancellation, failure, accident, act, omission or negligence of any such service provider however caused (contingencies). You must take out adequate travel insurance against such contingencies.

ASA’s liability in respect of any tour will be limited to the refund of amounts received from you less all non-refundable costs and charges and the costs of any substituted event or alternate services provided. The terms and conditions of the relevant service provider from time to time comprise the sole agreement between you and that service provider.

ASA reserves the sole discretion to canel any tour or to modify itineraries in any way it considers appropriate. Tour costs may be revised, subject to unexpected price increases or exchange rate fluctuations.

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