Life goes on

Trip Start Mar 17, 2012
Trip End Jun 26, 2012

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Where I stayed
Bed & Breakfast Kolory Krakow
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Poland  , Southern Poland,
Wednesday, June 6, 2012

After leaving Czestochowa we head directly for Krakow in Southern Poland. This will be a large town with many attractions so we are keen to have a reasonable length of time to spend wandering (reasonable = 5+ hours).

We arrive around lunchtime and locate our B & B for the night. It is handily & centrally located in the Jewish district. After obtaining early access to our room, we set out on foot for all the sights on our itinerary.

Krakow is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life and is one of Poland's most important economic hubs.

The old city abounds in churches. There more synagogues than one would normally see in a city of this size, however most are not in use (5 out of 7) and entry to those is restricted to fee paying tourists.

As the day wore on and our feet wore out, we decided to leave the final attractions until the following day and sought out a good Jewish restaurant in Szeroka Street - the main street of the Kazimierz Jewish district.

Returning to our B & B at around 11.00pm the streets were alive and buzzing with hoards of young folk. These Eastern European countries seem to be a magnet for today's youth - plenty of sights, activities, eats, drinks and camaraderie, all on a shoestring budget.

After a fitful nights sleep, we enjoy a hearty breakfast, pack the car and head off for a few more sights that are too far for us to walk. By mid morning we are done and head out of town in a westerly direction. Whilst our destination today is the Czech Republic, we have one more stop before leaving Poland. It is the town of Oswiecim, where the infamous concentration camp of Auschwitz is located.

This is of particular interest as it is the camp where my Uncle Paul survived due to his skills as an artist (paintings)
Poland founded a museum on the site and much has been "sterilized" for the more than 1,300,000  visitors that pass annually through the iron gates. The motto: Arbeit macht frei ("work makes free") which was cast by prisoners with metalwork skills and erected on those gates by order of the Nazis in June 1940, still remains, and is a reminder of the horrors that befell the poor souls that endured (or didn't) such an internment.
Whilst the visit to Auschwitz is a sombre and sorrowful experience, it is nevertheless a lesson in human history that should be taught for evermore as a reason for keeping awareness of such possible atrocities, alive in mankind's memory.

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