Thursday, May 28, 2009

Krakow, Poland.

Hola queridos,

I loved Krakow, Poland. If you ever plan to travel to Poland, make sure to visit Krakow, & in my experience, I would recommend just staying in Krakow because there are so many interesting things that are only a bus/train ride away.

For example, the Auschwitz & Birkenau Concentration Camps. Physically being in the same place where thousands and thousands of innocent people were killed, heartlessly, for no more than their religious beliefs, sexual orientation, profession (i.e. gypsies), etc. is such a significant feeling that I really can't describe in words. I found myself walking around, trying to keep the knot in my throat from getting any larger and shaking my head in disbelief. Disbelief that I was there, disbelief that such occurrences actually happened, and that according to Hitler, Auschwitz (the first camp we visited) camp wasn't "efficient" enough, so they constructed Birkenau. Truly awful & very, very sick.

I walked away from Auschwitz & Birkenau feeling incredibly sad and frustrated as I fear that our world has (hopefully) learned a lot from this past history, but that hate crimes like this, genocides, etc. are still occurring today in different parts of the world. It's just sad.

After the Concentration Camp experience we headed back to Krakow (about an hour and some odd minutes bus ride). My travel partner took a nap & I headed off to the Wawel Castle. The Castle is beautifully located on the riverfront. Unfortunately I was a little pressed for time (before closing), & was pretty much running through the Castle to see it all. Overall, it was really pretty and appeared to be like the castles I'd seen in movies, elaborate chandeliers, marble, etc, compared to concrete (like those of Spain).

The next day I headed off to Wieliczka Salt Mine. The name may not sound exciting, but this is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's actually the only mining site in the world still functioning since the Middle Ages; it reaches depths of 327 meters! Then somewhere along in history, they decided to turn their still functioning mine into a tourist attraction, so they built a restaurant, a church, added sculptures among other spectaculars all made out of salt from the mine. It's really pretty neat & very, very unique.

I loved my time in Krakow...I did a lot of roaming around & saw tons of really cool things. I wish I could have captured it all on film or even in photos but the smells and sounds of the city are just something else. I loved it!


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