I chose Poland this year because I was looking up my ancestry and thought I'd really like to see the country where my family comes from.  My Polish friend Sunday joined me on this tour and we decided since we had a layover in London, let's stay a few extra days.  We did a couple of day tours to Canterbury, Leeds Castle & Dover then another tour was to Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey).  The rest of the time we spent in London doing the HOHO bus to see all the major sites, toured Westminster Abbey and had high tea with finger sandwiches.

After London, we flew to Krakow Poland a day early before our tour with Tim (Insight Vacations) began.  The first day, we took a cooking class with Olga (Urban Aventures) where we went to the local market with a shopping list in tow.  We each took turns asking for items on our list in polish.... we all did a great job.  Then went back to Olga's apartment and made pierogies, had some typical polish appetizers and drank some vodka.

Had the Welcome Dinner for our tour later that night where we met the group we'd be travelling with through Poland for a week.  Our first stop with the tour was the Wieliczka Salt Mines where we traveled down to the mines via 3 story elevator.  The miners spent most of their lives down in that mine and created some amazing salt sculptures.  Next stop was Zakopane where they are known for wooden houses and winter sports.... and fresh air.  From there we went to Wroclaw, then Poznan which both had very colorful architecture and cute squares.  Gdansk and Sopot were next where we got to dip our toes in the Baltic Sea.  We ended the tour in Warsaw but first stopping at Malbork Castle on the way which is the biggest castle I've ever seen and I've seen a lot of castles in my travels.

It was a fabulous trip and I will go back there again someday!

I forgot to mention the food.... YUMMY!  We tried pierogies a few times, zapiekanka which is an open faced sandwich, Oscypek (sheep cheese), paczki (rose jam filled donut), pickled cucumbers, zurek soup, gingerbread, kielbasa, polish pancakes with spinach, lots of good salads, vodka and of course some beer.  I bought a couple recipe books and already started making some of the salads I had.  I'll post the food and recipes of some of my favorites as I make them.