My travel in Poland is less than a month away but I thought I'd throw this out to the RS community none-the-less. I don't believe our travel region is covered much in Rick's Poland book.
At the end of this month (3 weeks away), my husband has a conference in Krakow and I want to show him this lovely part of the world so I'm joining him there shortly after the arrives. Our travel to the countryside southeast of Krakow is scheduled for Sat., Sept. 1 - 4th (we need to be back in Krakow the night of Sept. 4th). We love the typical Rick Steves themes--history, local life, religion, hiking/walking tours. We are very active people in our mid-50s. I'm a former Peace Corps volunteer.
All my ancestors are Carpatho-Rusyn (Lemko) and immigrated to the U.S. from south-eastern Poland. I've been to some of our villages over the many years but last time (2005), I had the benefit of a Polish/Lemko host family who bridged the language divide (I don't speak Polish), provided logistical support, and took me in like a member of their family. It was like a Rick Steves video. This was in the Nowy Saczs/Galicia region, near Krynica and Zakopane and the tiny villages of Kamianna, Losie, Berest, etc.
**(FYI: Lemko people in Poland--"Wem-kee" in Polish--are non-Polish people from Ukrainian ancestry who settled in the Carpathian Mts in Poland hundreds of years ago and developed their own sub-culture. Migration and WWII forced most away but the south of Poland still has traces of our culture.)
ALAS, my former Lemko host family is visiting the US (how ironic) during this time so I have to plan this trip myself. The host family doesn't have any suggestions for lodging in the region and only has the typical travel ideas. (Their online English is limited.) They say there aren't other Lemko-focused hosts or guides like them and I don't doubt that.
I am an experienced traveler and have been in many tough-to-travel places in the world (Middle East, communist eastern Europe in the day). My husband is experienced, too. But given our short time frame and the language barrier (we can only do English and German) I could use some guidance!
If anyone has experience traveling in this region near Krynica in Poland, could you please suggest:
any specific B&Bs or farms to stay in?
can anyone recommend a local guide we could hire for a half or full day? (one with Lemko background would be great but someone good with history and local life would be good; WWII history, too)
any other recommendations for what to see and do beyond the Eastern Catholic/Orthodox wooden churches & spas? I know there are living history style museums. Would also love local events.
any car driving concerns/suggestions?
I apologize for this being a sort of vague and last minute request. I appreciate any help.
San Jose, CA