Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Trip to Sandomierz

Through donations from volunteers, Global Volunteers helps to fund a field trip for the Cisie School students and those of us on the May team are lucky enough to accompany them. I was delighted when I found the trip would be to Sandomierz. This is a city that interests me and also one to which I've never been.

The day before the trip my 4th grade students were so excited about this trip. They asked, "Is Pani going?" Yes, Pani is going. They were so happy. And then during the break between lessons this appeared on the chalkboard in the room.

Working with these kids is just plain fun! I added the thank you.

Our field trip day began early with breakfast at 6:00 AM. At 6:30 our driver, one of the teachers from Cisie School, was at Reymontówka to pick us up. We went out the door with a bag lunch for what is called in Poland as second breakfast. 

The bus was coming from Siedlce where it was inspected by the police. This a regulation for a bus that is transporting children. About 7:05 one of my students came running from the gate and saying, "Autobus here, Hurrah!"  
We boarded the bus and drove about 90 minutes and stopped at a gas station. In Central Europe gas stations are the rest stops and must have clean toilets.

At the gas station I took pictures like the picture below. 

The next day I used these pictures for a lesson. "How do we say Stacja Paliw in English? What are the English words for this? " After this we continued south through beautiful countryside. 

Near the edge of Puławy we crossed the Vistula River and could easily see it was still at flood stage caused by heavy rains in southern Poland. Somewhere along this drive the students began singing. When they asked for Hokey-Pokey we even figured out a way to do that safely on a bus

About 10 K outside of Sandomierz we stopped again because regulations required that the bus driver must have a 30 minute rest. The countryside view in this area was beautiful and made it worth the stop.

At last we got to Sandomierz. The bus driver found a safe place for us to leave the bus. We entered the Sandomierz Old Town through the Opatówska Gate. 

Then we walked to the Town Hall and waited for a guide. When he found there were English speakers in the group, he went back to the office and got us a Tourist Guide in English. That proved to be very helpful. 

Our first venture was the Underground Tourist Route which went through the cellars and tunnels of the Old Town/rynek area. In alcoves there were special exhibits such as one about porcelain made by a nearby factory. 

Next we went into the Oleśnicki Family House. The city post office occupies part of the ground floor. The rest of the house is a museum. One museum area is interactive for kids and they really had fun here. 

 After having fun here we returned to the city gate. I elected not to climb the stairs to up 20 meters and some of my girls had made the same decision. 

 Now that it was 3:00 it was definitely time for obiad. For many of these kids it was the first visit to a restaurant other than McDonald's. 

 They were polite and quiet and acted like going to a fancy restaurant was an every day occurrence. After we were done eating we visited another very old house now holding a museum of religious artifacts and paintings. Then we walked out on a promenade to discuss the nearby castle. 

Throughout this trip, for some unknown reason, I started to understand more Polish and when the guide said, "Koniec" I was happy. It had been an interesting day but we'd been busy walking about since noon. 

We volunteers walked back to the rynek area and had an ice cream cone. The kids went to market area to buy toys and souvenirs. Then we were back on the bus about 6:00 PM. 

Near Puławy one of the teachers asked me if I remembered seeing a McDonald's along the route. No I didn't, but there is was right along the river. We had been so busy looking at the river in flood stage that we didn't notice the small shopping area along the river. Well, the kids definitely wanted a stop, so we did. 

 We got back to Cisie about 10:00 and then back to Reymontówka a few minutes later. Our supper was waiting for us. After that we crashed in bed for the next morning's classes were already beckoning.


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