While my fellow travelers either went home or on to Berlin, my plans were to stay one more day in Warsaw before going on to London.
My mission was to find the Fryderyk Chopin trail: there are even apps available to enhance the experience. One was called Chopin in Warsaw and the other was Selfie with Chopin. There are benches along the way which show a map of where you are on the trail. You can hear Chopin’s music by pressing a button on the bench.
After consulting with my tour director, Paul, I first set out to find the Holy Cross Church. After making one wrong turn and walking about a mile in the wrong direction, I finally found the church and went in at the time of the sermon.
Even though the entire service was in Polish, it was easy enough to follow along. I recognized the Creed, the Prayers, the Sursum Corda, the Sanctus, Lord’s Prayer and Lamb of God, even though I don’t know a single word of Polish! At the Peace, people just turned and nodded to one another without saying anything.
One thing that was a little unusual was the distribution of communion. People on the inside aisle simply turned inward while the priest walked up and down the center aisle; the people did not have to move except turning inward. That means, though, that no one else got the sacrament except those on the inside aisle.
I next walked to the Chopin Museum and waited in line half an hour before the museum opened. By the time of the opening, I would guess there were about 75 people in line! It being Sunday the admission was free. There were facsimiles of Chopin’s music manuscripts, correspondence and many interactive stations to listen to his music. By far the best part of the museum for me was sitting in the small theater and watching pianist Seong-Jin Cho play the 17th annual Chopin competition finals.
As the app promised, Chopin’s heart is buried inside the left pillar. Even though he left Poland to work in Paris, he wanted to be buried in Poland; however it is only his heart here—the rest of his body is buried in the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris.
I was really fascinated by the images of Chopin’s death bed scene. Notice a piano was brought in to play music for him. Also the pressed flowers in the frame were the actual flowers that were at Chopin’s death bed.
I made it back to St. Anne’s Church in the Old Town and a mass was still in progress. I must say that church attendance here in Poland is phenomenal — all the churches are jammed full and are standing room only!
After several more calls to the GoAhead office in Boston, retrieving my luggage from room 2101, and waiting in the lobby awhile, it was finally straightened out and I was assigned to room 2205.
What a relief that I won’t have to sleep on the street tonight!