St. Patrick's Day - Polish style
Trip Start Jan 04, 2005
35Trip End Aug 22, 2005
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Ok, so..off to Poland. It was a 9 hour trip by bus to Krakow. We were pretty excited when we got on the bus because they were showing movies!..but sadly all the movies were dubbed in Lithuanian - and in Lithuania, apparently they don't dub movies like everyone else, instead they just have a really loud voice translating over top of the normal movie. So, you can fully hear the english, but there's a guy yelling Lituanian over top of it...if that doesn't give you a headache..I don't know what will.
On our first full day in Krakow, we visited the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Berkinau. (this was the main reason we came to Poland) Early that morning, Dev, myself, and an American Matt we met at our hostel that day, caught a bus and took a 90min ride to Oswiecim, the town where Auschwitz is located
We started our visit by watching a 20 min film about the camp. After that, we took a 3 and a half hour tour of both Auschwitz and Berkinau.
Auschwitz was a labour concentration camp. The camp itself was mostly made up of barricks to house the prisoners. In a lot of these barricks is now exhibitions about the history of Auschwitz. One of the hardest exhibitions was a building that displayed some of the thousands of artifacts the Nazis stole from the prisoners. So there were rooms containing thousands of pairs of shoes, or eyeglasses, or suitcases. The most horrifying was a room in which there was an enourmous glass case, the lengths of a really large room, filled with human hair (used by Nazis to make clothes)...I still can't get that out of my mind.
After Auschwitz, we took a bus to Berkinau, which is where the main gas chambers where. None of them remain (the Nazis destroyed them before liberation) but there is still the railway that brought in all the prisoners, some barracks, the ruins of the gas chambers and a huge memorial to the victimes.
It was an extremely hard day. It was very strange being there, and felt stranger still walking out past all the barb wire...especially thinking that 1.5 million people never got a chance to do that.
I'm really glad we went, especially having learned a lot about it in my last year at Western. It was definetly an amazing, but still horrifying experience.
So, (chance of mood) we also celebreated St. Patricks Day in Poland...we did it the best we could -by drinking polish beer. wW met some amazing people in our hostel and had a really fun night out.
Our last day in Krakow, Dev and I attempted to see the city in about 3 hours. I think we did pretty well. The old town in Krakow is very cool. The town square- the largest medieval town square in Europe (haha..thanks Matt!) is beautiful and the main church, St. Marys was extremely ornate, but really nice. A very neat place.
We left Krakow at about 4pm that afternoon and headed to Warsaw...
Hope you're all well!