Trip Start Aug 13, 2004
Trip End Sep 11, 2004

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Flag of Poland  ,
Saturday, August 21, 2004

having left berlin we made our way to the capital city of poland, warsaw, or as they say it vah-shah-vah. this city we found to be more beautiful looking than berlin and once again we found the old pre war buildings which were rebuilt after the bombings leveled 85% of the city. it was amazing looking at some of the photos after the bombings of town squares and then comparing it to how it looks now.

the eyesore of the city if you are polish would have to be the "wedding cake" commonly known as the palace of cultural and history museum. this building similar to the one in ghostbusters dominates the sky due to its height and clock tower. it was a gift by the russians to the polish people in the 50s when it became a democratic republic thus ending russian occupation. clearly the russians wanted to leave its mark on the city of warsaw.

after two days we made our way to jasna gora home of the black madonna. this painting has a black looking virgin mary due in part to the varnish and black wood. polish people being predominantly catholic and proud the current pope is polish, walk the approx 300km from warsaw over 9 days. when this painting was stolen by swedish guards the story goes that it bled when it she was cut across her face. the 3 cuts are visible when we saw it.

next stop was auschwitz concentration camp which played two roles i) extermination of jews and ii) working camp for prisoners. this site fills you with sorrow as the museum has shoes, bags and other remains of jews. the gas chambers and crematorium are still intact in some places signs of the horror that went on here. the most uplifiting moment was when jewish students on an excursion were carrying israeli flags and singing.

our current stop is the pretty city of krakow, the once capital city of poland. we have found this to be the best city yet. it has a fantastic vibe about it and the buildings the cafes, and people all combine to make it a must visit for anyone coming to poland.

we are off now to budapest hungary tomorrow.
bye for now
rob and louise
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