Allan and I have always felt that sharing time with our grandkids at a destination away from both of our homes and their parents, no offense parents, is a perfect way to really know our grandkids. Of course, spending time together as a family is just as important. It’s just a different experience. So we try to do both.
In May of 2014, Allan and I took Alex to Eastern Europe to celebrate his graduation from high school. We met Alex in Vilnius, Lithuania, where we set out on an adventure to find Papa Dave’s birthplace. And an adventure it was!
From Vilnius we took a train to Brest, Belarus via Minsk to search for Grandma Lil’s childhood home. Next time we fly! Even if it doubles our transit time.
Our next stop was Warsaw. Again, we took a train, but this time it was a good experience. Warsaw is a beautiful city with absolutely magnificent parks. We visited Warsaw’s Old Town Market, the center and oldest part of Old Town, Castle Square, Warsaw Barbicon, The Jewish Ghetto and Cemetary, Lazienki – Royal Residence Park. We also visited the Monument to the Warsaw Uprising Fighters, located in front of the Supreme Court of Poland.
We also took a train from Warsaw to Krakow, where we visited Auschwitz/Birkenau. Experiencing Auschwitz was intensely emotional and draining. Allan’s uncle, Norman Feinmehl, Grandma Lil’s brother in law, was survivor of the Holocaust. According to records, Norman was in both Auschwitz and Birkenau.
We also visited the the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Our last destination was Prague. We hired a driver to take us from Krakow to Prague. We arrived back from Auschwitz late and having a driver allowed us to be on our own schedule and make the most of our short time in Krakow. It was about a 5 hour drive and we arrived in Prague well after midnight but it was well worth it to start the day in Prague.
Our trip with Alex was perfect. It was a very meaningful experience and we made many memories. Allan was able to pass down a family a legacy that was in danger of being lost. Alex did an amazing job with our family tree on Ancestry.com.