Have to say that traveling in quite small space in a bus was maybe not the most comfortable way to spend the night, but after 7 hours with intermittent sleep we finally arrived in Krakow in Poland. On the way I still thought several times, if we have taken the wrong bus and actually ended up in Finland in winter time, because at one point there was so much snow surrounding us! In forest area all the trees and ground were covered in 10 cm of snow! I also thought if I just close my eyes and when opening them I would wake up. Luckily once we arrived in Krakow there was nothing left! I’m not ready to deal with winter anymore…
After breakfast and checking in to a hostel we had to go shopping for some warmer clothing, because weather was freezing and we hadn’t really prepared for that. Poor Doug had already 7 layers of clothing and he was still freezing. Nothing like warm Australia…
It was much better to start exploring city after warm shower and changing to clean and warm clothes. Beata and Max really did good work introducing the city and its stories to us. Beata also took us to eat pirogi to this really nice restaurant, where she used to eat many times before. We also sophisticated ourselves in Krakow’s underground museum, which exhibition was about city’s history from medieval times to later events. We also get familiar with almost all traditional Polish foods and especially meat stews and soups were really delicious!
Nest day we left Krakow and made a day trip to Auschwitz and Auschwitz Birkenau. Concentration camps were about 1,5 hours bus drive away. I was really looking forward to this trip even though I already knew it’s not going to be any easy place to visit. Right after the moment we passed the notorious “Arbeit macht frei” gate I started feeling really uneasy and the feeling just builded up more and more while listening about the horrors that happened there. For sure the worst feeling was when standing inside a gas chamber, where you could actually see scratching marks of victims in the wall.
Even though everybody knows the place, what has happened there and even seen pictures and videos, in my opinion you start realizing the events after visiting the actual place. Of course it’s hard to imagine what the conditions have been when concentration camp was full or when soviet army went there to liberate the area and discovered the first time the horrors. Now grass has started to grow again and just empty buildings stand there. Really awful and thought-provoking place, but really worth of visiting.
“Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”
In the evening we still had some time in Krakow together so we spend last hours walking around the old town and exploring Kazimierz, the Jewish part of the city. In spite of its dark history, nowadays Kazimierz is one of the trendiest area in Krakow with many cool restaurants and bars. I also really loved its rough style.
Again there was a 7 hours long bus drive waiting for us, but this time only me, Patrick and Richard continued the journey. Oscar and Doug went instead with Beata and Max to visit Beata’s home outside of Krakow. It was little melancholic to separate but we’ll meet again after few days in Vienna.
Next time the last destination of Easter tour. Stay tuned!