Trip Start Nov 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 01, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of Poland  , Southern Poland,
Sunday, July 17, 2011

 So after maybe 4 hours of sleep we woke up (still kinda drunk I might add) had a shower and headed to the bus station. We picked up a donair for breakfast and waited for the bus. 1 donair + 1/2 litre orange fanta = disaster waiting to happen. Yup you guessed it I (James) expelled the devil from my body! And not convieniently in a garbage can or on the ground but in my backpack while on the bus because we were driving. I tell you not to scare but to teach, don't get on a bus if you feel like puking, it will happen! So after we got to Auschwitz I cleaned out the bag and we went to get some information about walking around and seeing the place.

  We decided to catch the bus to Birkenau first and see the destroyed crematoriums and gas chambers then come back to see Auschwitz I afterward. When we got to Birkenau it was mind boggling how big it is and how many buildings there are. It is close to a mile from the 'Gate of Death' to where the crematoriums were and on the walk there we stopped in a few barracks to see what they looked like. Buildings that would uncomfortably fit 50-60 people had anywhere from 300-350 in them during the holocaust. Reading about how the Nazi's destroyed as much of the camp as they could before fleeing to Germany to try and get rid of the evidence of what they did was a maddening thought. We were a bit confused at first too because all the barracks to the left were all still standing but then all that was left of the ones on the right were the chimneys (which also confused us cz we didn't understand why they left the chimneys). The reason for this was that the ones on the right were made of wood and they just set fire to them and let the wood burn, while the ones on the left were all brick. Seeing all the many many chimneys row after row in the massive fenced yard that made up the camp was a very sad sight; on top of the anger you feel in just knowing what happened there it also added the feelings of abandonment and loneliness.
 After Birkenau we returned to Auschwitz I and went to walk around the camp there. It was after 3pm so visitors were now allowed to walk around without a tour guide (which is required from 10am-3pm). We wish we had had more time to really go through it all but our bus was leaving soon and the next one didn't come for another two hours later (and still feeling the way we did we really wanted to just be in bed). Auschwitz I was completely different from Birkenau. It actually looked more like a college campus, except it had barbed wire and tall walls all around and they shot and hung and starved people here. You could definately tell Birkenau was built afterward and solely for imprisoning masses of people.

 When we finished we made our way to the bus stop and then back at the hostel we tried to watch movies but couldn't get anything to work so we just gave up and went to bed because we really didn't have any energy left in us.
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