Polish Freedom Tour: Warsaw and Gdansk (May 8-17, 2018)

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Polish Freedom Tour: Warsaw and Gdansk (May 8-17, 2018)

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TOUR PRICE: The air-inclusive price for this fabulous Polish Freedom package is ONLY $1599.00 per person based on double occupancy (two to a room).  Air taxes/surcharges are $199.00 additional.  The single supplement is $395.00 for the nine days.   Space is limited to a maximum of 48 passengers. 

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The purpose of this eight day tour is to celebrate a free Poland and to enjoy the people, the culture and the history of two great cities:  Warsaw and Gdansk.  

On September 1, 1939, Germany began World War II by firing on a Polish garrison at Westerplatte in Gdansk.  The Nazi invasion of Poland had begun.  Two weeks later, on September 17, 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the East.  Within less than a month, Poland had been eliminated from the map of Europe.  World War II lasted until 1945, and during that time, the Jewish population of Poland (nearly 3 million) was annihilated and the Polish people suffered oppression, internment, and deportation at the hands of both the Fascists and the Communists.  Liberation from the Nazis only led to occupation by the Soviet Union until 1989, when Poland finally emerged as a free nation.  

Warsaw and Gdansk played very important roles in securing Polish liberty, the former through the extraordinary sacrifices of its people during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, and the latter through the leadership of the post-war Solidarity movement.  Today, both cities are experiencing a tourist boon due to their spirited revival, and, Gdansk in particular, is one of the most beautiful and "happening" Baltic seaports.  

In keeping with the ArawjoTours aim of offering destinations that are a little off the beaten path, we have created here a tour that offers unparalleled value (five and four star hotels at three star prices) and a high degree of cultural sophistication.   The Poles are an educated, polite and very pro-American people, and the dollar is still much stronger in Poland than in the rest of Europe.  We hope you will consider joining us on this very special journey. 


EIGHT REASONS TO VISIT WARSAW AND GDANSK

The list below is by no means exhaustive.  It is simply meant as a guide to a few of the top attractions in Warsaw and Gdansk.  We hope this list stimulates your interest in these two fascinating cities.

1.  The Old Town and the Royal Castle (Warsaw) - During the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, 85% of the city was destroyed by the Nazis, including the Old Town and the Royal Castle.  After World War II, the Polish people rebuilt both exactly as they were before the war, brick by brick.  In celebration of these inspiring and meticulous reconstructions, the Old Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980, and the Royal Castle, former seat of Polish kings and the Polish Parliament, has been restored to its former glory and is open to visitors.

2.  The Warsaw Uprising Museum (Warsaw)  and the Roads to Freedom Museum (Gdansk) - Warsaw has many fascinating museums with which to occupy your time, but the one dedicated to the Warsaw Uprising is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of the city and the sacrifices made by the Polish people.  Hitler responded fiercely to the Uprising and by the end of the war, two out of three Warsaw inhabitants were either killed or missing, including 350,000 of the city's Jewish residents.  The Roads to Freedom Museum traces the development of the Solidarity movement under Lech Walensa during the post-war Communist occupation the eventual re-emergence of a free Poland during the last years of the Soviet Union. Walensa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983.)

3.  Pierogies, Milk Bars and Vodka (Warsaw and Gdansk) - Let's be honest:  No one makes pierogies like the Poles, and in both Warsaw and Gdansk you can find restaurants that specialize in these tasty dumplings, stuffing them with everything imaginable.  Milk bars are cafeteria-style, communist-era "dives," offering cheap food and a time-capsule look into a nearly defunct institution.  And the vodka, ah, yes, the vodka!  The Poles distill some of the best vodkas in the world, and they know it!  A vodka that you must try is the bison grass variety, known as Zubrowka.  For purists, there is no shortage of Chopin, Belvedere and other grain and potato vodkas that will keep you happy and talking all night long.

4.  Getting "Stoned" in Gdansk - Amber comes from the Baltic Sea and in Gdansk you can explore the Amber Museum or shop in any number of Amber boutiques that line some of the most beautiful pedestrian zones of the city.  One of the more interesting recent uses of Amber is to allow small amber stones to dissolve in vodka, which can then be used as a rub for headaches or to add to tea on a cold, chilly day.  Amber has been used throughout the ages for all kinds of purposes; Gdansk is the perfect place to receive an education on all aspects of these beautiful gems.  

5.  The Performing Arts (Warsaw and Gdansk) - Warsaw was home to Chopin, certainly one of the world's greatest composers and the pride of the Polish people.  Both Warsaw and Gdansk have excellent venues with which to enjoy classical music and opera, including the Filharmonia Naodowa and Teatr Wielki in the former and the Frederick Chopin Baltic Philharmonic in the latter.  Tickets to high quality performances in Poland are inexpensive, so a night out does not have to cost you a fortune.  Following the show, there are countless bars, cafes and clubs to keep you relaxed and entertained for the rest of the evening. 

6.  Amazing Sightseeing in Gdansk - Frommer's describes Gdansk as a "sensory blast," because of its position on the beautiful Baltic Sea, its breathtaking and pulsating Old Town, and its cobbled pedestrian thoroughfares, such as St. Mary's Street, the Long Street and the Long Market, which teem with colorful shops, cafés, outdoor musicians, and impressive architecture, such as the Town Hall and St. Mary's Church.  Our guided city tour of Gdansk will include a visit to Westerplatte, where the first shots of World War II were fired on September 1, 1939, when a German gunboat attacked a Polish garrison.  Gdansk has everything--culture, great food, phenomenal vistas and sandy beaches, interesting people and a fascinating history.  

7.  Lazienki Park, Praga and the Old Markets (Warsaw) - Lazienki Park is a highlight of any visit to Warsaw.  The park consists of 188 acres land and dates to the 17th century.  At its center is the famous Palace on the Water and a beautiful statue of Chopin in the rose garden.  Praga, on the right bank of the Vistula, served as the set for Roman Polanski's film The Pianist.  Once run-down, the area is experiencing rejuvenation and is attracting artists and businesses, and is home to the 103-year-old Russian Bazaar.  Additional markets in Warsaw include the Hala Mirowska, a magnificent food market in the center of Warsaw and the Kolo Bazaar, an open-air antiques bazaar selling everything from period furniture to World War II paraphernalia.   

8.  A Visit to Malbork Castle (near Gdansk) - Situated just 36 miles from Gdansk, Malbork Castle is the biggest brick-built castle in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The castle was first built by the Teutonic Knights and was later used by Polish kings, the Prussians and the Germans during various periods of its lengthy history.  ArawjoTours will be offering a visit to this castle as an optional excursion on this tour.  

TOUR FEATURES:   The tour highlights for this air-inclusive trip are extensive and make this package one of our BEST DEALS of 2018.  They include: round trip trans-Atlantic air transportation on Scandinavian Airlines or LOT Airlines from Newark to Warsaw with a return from Gdansk;  private motor coach transportation with English-speaking assistant from the airport in Warsaw to the hotel;  four nights in the magnificent and historic Warsaw Sofitel Victoria Hotel with buffet breakfasts daily;  a half day sightseeing tour of Warsaw, including a visit to the Old Town historic center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; a half day guided tour of the famous Wilanow Palace, the Royal residence of  Jan Sobieski, Poland's most dashing historical monarch (r. 1674-1696);  a full day optional excursion from Warsaw to Hitler's Wolf Lair and Mamerki;  an optional evening Chopin classical music concert;  private motor coach transportation from Warsaw to the Baltic city of Gdansk;  four nights in the lovely, centrally-located Mercure Gdansk Stare Miasto Hotel with buffet breakfasts daily;  a half day sightseeing tour of Gdansk, including a special visit to Westerplatte, where the first shots of World War II were fired;  a half day guided tour to the Teutonic Caslte of Malbork, another UNESCO World Heritage Site;  private motor coach transportation with English-speaking assistant from the hotel to the airport in Gdansk; and a pre-departure orientation sponsored by ArawjoTours, LLC.