Pictures from the past pilgrimages - very unique collection of photos by the professional photographer Ota Nepily
This page is just for those with a slow modem;
for page with bigger and better quality pictures, go here.    Introduction

The baptism of Sára. Dáša is holding her. 1996



Czestochowa 1986



The Drummer, 1986

Manifestation 1994


Peace, Love, Freedom. 1986.?

Some people jump in the water in whatever they have on. Other bathe nude. Some accidental locals sometimes get really perplexed...

...and saxofons, clarinets, didgeridoos, electric and acoustic guitars, harmonicas, drums, keyboards, and of course, vocals...




Rally in Czestochowa, August 1984

Lots of music is also played in churches. During everyday's masses, adorations. Sometimes for hours after the mass...


...and we all fit in...

Ojcie nasz...  August 1995

Czestochowa 1986. Every year, there is a rally on the meadow that belongs to the monastery right after the pilgrimage. Some people from previous pilgrimages come to see their friends. Masses are held for about 3 days after pilgrimage and the stony altar, setting sun and lights in the valley underneath make for a great atmosphere. On the other side, the monastery built a huge parking lot on the place of the meadow. Part of the meadow with the altar is still there, but the busses' engines from the nearby parking lot are a pain. How typical for these days! Less place for tents and more for parking.
There are pilgrims from many pilgrimages on this meadow. This creates chaos, lack of space, diluting. It also attracts thieves from the city. Sometimes I wish that the pilgrimage would end in a small, charming, poetic place that would leave a fine memory.
Some people get on a city bus 58 or 67 and travel 15km to a small town of Olsztyn nearby. There is a meadow and a waterhose, bar, rocks, castle on a grassy hill. A consolation prize.


Every year, we go from different place. We often stop in villages where no other pilgrimages stopped before. It is a fantastic moment for the inhabitants of these places. Once we started from Eastern Slovakia, once on Hostyn in Moravia (and then thru Becva valley and Skalite, Slovakia), once in Javornik region in the Jeseniky mountains. The end is always in the city of Czestochowa, Poland. I love the mountainous parts hundred times more than the ones thru flatlands...           1996

                                                                                          Magda with her baby

Olda and others singing, 1983

Souvenir from Czestochowa (a protest against selling military toys in
Czestochowa market in the same place with crucifixes)

The peace sign made from bread...

The peace sign made from people. We do it every year upon entering the meadow under the monastery in Czestochowa. The sequence in Czestochowa usualy is: before entering the town, get lots of flowers and make flower strings and wreaths to put into hair. Who has white dress, puts it on. Walking thru town, playing drums, guitars, singing. Usual stuff, but more intense. Dancing. Stop pn the main street, Al. N.M.P., and dance. Run as fast as possible to the hill towards the monastery. Make a peace sign (see picture), listen to the welcome ceremony from the custodian of the monastery. Throw our priest Andrzej Szpak into the air as many times as many years the pilgrimages exist (22 times in the year 2000). Continue to the chapel, adoration, then to the camp meadow nearby. Pick up the backpacks from the accompanying truck and go home or build a tent by the stony altar.


Not too often, but sometimes people walk holding hands...  After every mass, people hug and wish each other peace...

Rally 1987

Rally 1984

Unlike other pilgrimages, we don't go far and don't go fast (3 km/h = 2 mph) so there is enough time for music and other things. During the walking, there are often several focal points where different music is played, people are learning from each other, discussing,... and then there is a microphone and two wireless portable loudspeakers. Using this system, discussions are held or music played.
Music continues thru the evenings and nights. The more private and conservative people accept the many offers from locals to sleep in their homes (which is a great way to get to know Polish customs), and the others stay happily together at a local fire-station. In Poland, these are called "remiza" and they always have a big hall where weddings, dances and parties take place. At such "remiza" or in local school "podstawa", music is played often till the morning. You can find jazz, folk, blues, reggae, classical music, drum circles... Often, there is also a garden around such a building. People build tents and fire is lit.

Czestochowa, August 1987                                                                                      

Aug 1983

The picture of Jesus (and Black Madonna of Jasna Gora, Czestochowa on the other side) always is carried up front... Also, many peace sign flags, here you can even see Czech flag with a peace sign on it. Crosses, flags with flowers, once even a skull from a horse found alongside the road...

Wedding on the pilgrimage

1987                                                                                 Our priest, charismatic Andrzej Szpak. 1985

We are all different people on the pilgrimage. Many of us smoke, some drink, have problems. As Szpak puts it: the healthy ones don't need medicine. The ill ones do...

Father Szpak with a guitar

Father Szpak is serving a field mass.

Father Andrzej Szpak. He is getting old and is looking for somebody who could replace him. He is the main organizer and spiritual leader of the pilgrimage. I personally don't know of anybody else around who'd possess such a deep understanding, great rhetorical abilities, insight, energy, charisma. Every year, Szpak is saying that he will not have enough energy to prepare and lead the next "pielgrzymka", and we are all praying that he will... so far, he does.

The youth fights. This pilgrimage started deep in the times of totalitarian socialist system.    1983

The stand of "Slovo", 1984

Always exciting, always very fotogenic: when we are crossing a river or the road is underwater

Another wedding


There is always lots of excitement when we come to Czestochowa. The destination and usualy the first big city en route. The moment when we present ourselves to the world. Creating chains and dancing, singing. The other pilgrimages look a bit like an army when they come here; - this looks more like a big celebration of life. It is also the last moment together - although there will be a few more masses on the hill, people will start heading home and the whole energy will get diluted by this big city.

The Communion, Czestochowa, August 1985
This page is just for those with a slow modem; for page with bigger and better quality pictures, go here.

All pictures here made and scanned by Ota Nepily, Brno, CZ, copyright.

Text & webmastering by Petr, Praha, CZ.

Pictures by Petr from the pilgrimage of 2000 and from some hippy events in the USA will be added.

If You have some pictures related to this page, any poems, articles etc, send them to Petr and he will add them to this page.

If You want to translate this page to other languages, do it and send the result to Petr for publishing.

A few more pictures by Ota, scanned only roughly (therefore, images' quality is not as good), are here.

Introduction to this All-Polish Pilgrimage of the Youth of Various Paths, or Hippie's Pilgrimage, or Szpak's Pilgrimage.

Leonard Cohen Lyrics page - his music is simple but powerful, his lyrics deeply poetic...

Peace with You!