April 9th

Sunday morning (Palm Sunday) our group of six left the hotel early to make our way to Krakow.

Along the way we made a few stops. Our first was a "rest stop" at a gas station. Upon leaving the bus, I noticed a group of bikers, men and women, getting fuelled up. I attempted to chat with them but of course I don't speak any Polish. I did understand that they were headed in the same general direction as us. Knowing what I know now about our next stop, it was likely they were headed for the same venue.

What am I talking about? Our group was headed to Czestochowa to visit the Paulite Monastery, Jasna Gora. This is a "place of devout pilgrimage by Polish Catholics". Its cathedral is the home the Black Madonna, an icon depicting Mary Magdalene and baby Jesus. The icon was "dressed" by having what could be considered similar to clothes for paper doll cut-outs. The Madonna's cut-outs were made of wood and painted in color and gold leaf. When we went through the cathedral, a Palm Sunday mass was under way. The entire site was massive and thousands of cars and people were attending.

What was REALLY interesting to me was that thousands of motorcycles and riders were also in attendance. Hondas, Yamahas, Harleys... cruiser style, crotch rockets... you name it, that bike was there. On a field in front of an outdoor pulpit, many of the bikes were parked waiting for an outdoor mass. I had gone into a mystery room without Lynn and found many treasures of silver & gold, ancient & modern, all very beautiful and interesting. I knew Lynn would not want to miss seeing them so I sent her inside to see them. While I waited for her, I walked up to a group of bikers and tried to initiate some kind of conversation by asking what kind of bikes they rode. Honda, Honda, Honda, Honda... but none of these riders appeared to know much, if any, English. When I got to "Yamaha", that fellow DID speak English. Zbigniew explained that twice a year the monastery conducted an outdoor mass for motorcyclists. Who would think that I would be lucky enough to be in attendance for one of the two days? We spoke for a bit then had Lynn take a picture of all of us together. I gave Zbigniew my business card with website address and explained how to visit web pages of many of my bike trips.

Evidently Zbigniew has already visited sections of my various websites because he's emailed me wondering when I'd be putting up the pictures from this trip! He also sent me a picture of him on his Yamaha which you can view by clicking here. Their motorcycle club is called Gremium Central MC Poland.

After taking hundreds of pictures of all the beautiful things at the Monastery, Lynn and I had a snack - a slice of cake and a current drink at a small shop on site. When we were done, we headed for the bus. All of the group had had a great time. They were interested to hear about my encounter with the motorcycle group. As I attempted to explain to them then, there is something about motorcycles and their riders... there always seems to be a desire when seeing another rider to ask where their bike has taken them and if they have enjoyed the ride!

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