Trip Start Oct 03, 2012
Trip End Nov 01, 2014

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Flag of Poland  , Southern Poland,
Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The train ride was looong....but we are here and excited about our tours we have booked. The weather is cold and a little wet...BUT it may snow, so here's hoping :) 
Went out walking at night and could for the first time see our own breath, it must be cold! Everyone in the hostel has been doing Vodka shots and is going out on the town...might join that one tomorrow.

How cool is it that you can buy alcohol from the dairy in European countries and drink it anywhere you want! Come on NZ seriously...make it easy for the binge drinkers! Oh and another weird is it feeling like your sitting next to a school group of kids in a pub (legal drinking age 16...well it was in Berlin).
Wieliczka Salt Mine was on our list of things to see while we are here in Krakow. We got to visit 5 of the 9 sections of mine, burrowing 130m below ground. Pretty impressive scale of salt not to mention the hand carved sculptures inside. We would have liked to see a bit more of the historical side of the mine, where it hasn't been made modern for tourists, but other than that a good experience. The old train tracks running through were pretty cool and looked really old. We were both to chicken to lick the walls and have a taste to make sure it was really salt...we believed it looked like salt!

Auschwitz-Bikenau tour....there are no words that can really describe the way we felt after leaving here today. It was very similar to the Sachenhausen concentration camp we visited in Berlin, but on a WAY larger scale and with a lot more focus on the mass execution of people rather than the slave labour and working functions of the camp. If you were sent to Auschwitz, you were being shipped to the the largest death camp in Europe, and were probably on deaths road. There was a lot more real life examples of things to see in this camp, which in some cases was very hard to comprehend. The most emotion part of the tour was seeing the huge pit of prisoners hair that had been shaved from mostly woman and children, before being sent to the gas chambers. Seeing not only real hair from those that died but the mass amount of it, was scary. Also seeing the shoes, clothes and belongings of those that died, especially the children's stuff, was horrifying. The gas chambers of the crematorium was a little disturbing and airy also. It was a very worth while visit to learn about the history of the war and to the extent of what went on in WWII. There is so much information we could put on here about what we saw and what we were told today...

Just like the weather forecast said...ITS SNOWING!!! how cool is that, pretty little flakes of snow falling everywhere, roof tops covered. Looks so amazing, loving it. Its very cold here, about 0 during the day and -5 at night :S. But its still awesome....

Schindler's factory was good once we actually managed to find the place! It was very different to what we thought it was going to be. We thought we would be seeing an old factory with machines, but instead it was a modernized museum with a bit about Schindler and his factory but mostly it covered the war and how Krakow was affected by it. It was quite good still but we kind of got over all the reading. Think we will have to watch Schindler's list again now, just to link it all together and will now probably understand the movie a whole lot better.

We visited what was the Jewish ghetto of Krakow, Kazimierz, which is full of very old buildings and a lot of history. It was one of five major, metropolitan Jewish parts of Krakow created by the Nazi's  for the purpose of persecution, terror, and exploitation of Polish Jews during the German occupation of Poland in World War II (that sounded good huh? good old internet :P) Enjoyed the sun and walking around this part of town. The beer is way cheaper here too :)

Got to climb the small narrow staircase to the top of Wawel cathedrals bell tower today. Sigismund is the bell in the Wawel Cathedral, cast in 1520. It was cool to see the huge amount of wood structures in place to hold the 12.8t bell. We got a pretty nice panoramic view of Krakow from up here too which was cool. We also had a look around the cathedral itself which is really beautiful and visited the various underground tombs there.
We went and
viewed the treasury and Armory museum situated in the Royal castle. There was belongings there dating back
to the 12th century! Was really cool getting to see the armor and chain-mail
suits, weapons, horse gear, royal outfits/decor, and canons that were on display. Pity we
weren't allowed to take photos, as there was so much awesome stuff to
see here. We also took a tour into the Dragons den which is a cave
underground the castle where a Polish myth originated about a dragon
which use to live there. Was quite creepy and dark, was good for a look.

Having a few quiets at the hostel tonight and the last thing i thought we would be doing would be carving out pumpkins for Halloween! We have both never done this before and was actually really fun. Pumpkin went everywhere!! We were even promised pumpkin soup with the left overs before the drinking shenanigans start tomorrow. We even got free beers for helping out, so was a win win really. (you would be proud of our pumpkin carving efforts Lindsey)

The Halloween party was really fun. It started off by the hostel making pizza with ghost shaped mozzarella on top for dinner. A punch bowl was then introduced which looked like blood and had hand shaped ice floating around in it, was very cool. Our pumpkins that we carved the previous night were around the hostel as decoration, looked nice having them all lit up finally. The hostel staff also decorated the walls with stickers, banners and cob webs, so they went all out really.
Once the liquor starting flowing, everyone was getting to know each other and before we knew it, we were at a underground club, having way too many shots in a short amount of time. We got a welcome shot, who knows what that was (it was yum though). Then we headed straight for the bar to do jagerbombs! After this i recall about 3 more shots of unknown substance, dancing, photos and then going home cause we were way to drunk...Dan especially! In my drunken state I even managed to get photos of Dan comered in the shower, but wont be putting these up on the blog as they are way to inappropriate haha

Man today was hard, we are both so hungover...and because we are checking out we only have a bed till 11am :( Why did we drink so much last night?? Sigh!

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