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  • Day159

    I’m not sure if I can say this visit was a highlight of my trip but it was definitely something I’ve wanted to do for years and I’m so thankful I’ve finally been to one of, if not the most heart wrenching memorial sites in the world. I believe every single person should visit Auschwitz once in their lifetime, if not to pay their respects then to become educated at the very least. Throughout my youth I’ve always enjoyed history, in particular that of World War Two and I can remember practicing for exams, writing essays, watching movies and reading books with Steve who too is fascinated with the events that have occurred. However, there’s only so much that a history teacher, movie recreations and Wikipedia can teach you or can evoke in you. Walking through the gates of Birkenau in particular along the train tracks that delivered hundreds of thousands of people to their deaths was bone chilling. The acres of land are lined with trees and yet not a bird is in sight, some say because the smell of death still lingers. At the end of the train tracks lie the rubble of Crematoriums I and II, demolished by the Nazi’s days before the camp was liberated in an attempt to cover up the truths of the Holocaust. Auschwitz consisted of three camps, Auschwitz I, II and III which was news to me on arrival as I’d assumed it was one large camp - Auschwitz was indeed one large camp, but there were two even bigger ones, Birkenau and Morowitz, that I had no idea of. Auschwitz is now the memorial museum and barracks contain items that are hard to comprehend - rooms full of suitcases, combs, pots, shoes all confiscated from prisoners on arrival, who thought they were moving to a new city, not to an extermination camp. The hardest thing to see in Auschwitz was a room, approximately 30m long, full of hair remains shaved from prisoners once they’d been executed with Zyklon-B gas. The hair was used to make socks, twine, clothing; most things you can think of and sent to Germany. It was the sheer mass amount of hair remains that truly put into perspective just how horrendous the regime was. While visiting Auschwitz, I met three young travelers from London who had made the trip especially to come to Auschwitz. They told me about how they are Jews from Israel, Russia and England, and how important it was for them to visit the concentration camp. This made the visit pretty special as I got to witness these young adults thinking, observing, and feeling numb all while walking through the largest extermination camp wearing the Israel flag. While traveling through Europe and Africa it has amazed me at how old everything is, how much history there is in these countries, hundreds and hundreds of years old which is incredible for little New Zealand that’s not even 200 years old. And yet, it’s almost impossible to comprehend how the Holocaust only happened 77 years ago, so recent in history when you think about things properly. It’s difficult to describe Auschwitz (or any concentration camp) to someone who hasn’t been because it’s the feeling you get as you walk past the gates with “Arbeit Macht Frei” that is unforgettable and something everyone should experience, to ensure history never repeats itself.Read more

  • Day16

    Our last day in this lovely place. So hot....went shopping in the mall to cool down! Bought two tops from bargain bin...He! He!. Went and saw part of the old wall surrounding the square. Also went for a romantic horse ride.
    We leave tomorrow morning by bus to go to Hungry

  • Day105

    This will not be a nice read folks..


    Taken from a plaque in the centre of Auschwitz-Birkenau, I could not think of better words to sum it up. It is deeply moving, haunting and harrowing. The scale of the camps themselves and the atrosities that were carried out here cannot be adequately described by me.

    The camps show that we must never forget the atrocities carried out by Hitler and the Nazis with their racial doctrine. The fact that they thought that there was a part of the human race that was "superior" to any other was at the heart of the mass murder that took place on these two camps, and others around Europe. It is something that I cannot possibly begin to comprehend in the first place. That they thought themselves superior and the methods they then used to carry through their beliefs are unthinkable.

    Walking into a room where the sole exhibition is a 2 ton mound of human hair that was shaved from the heads of the people arriving at the camps I felt a lump rise in my throat. I couldn't stay and the same was true with a lot of the exhibits. You can't stand and stare as it feels so utterly wrong to be looking at the piles of belongings stolen from new arrivals at the camps by the Nazis, the before and after photos of a victim who - hideously emaciated - miraculously survived, the replica of the living conditions and the "death wall" where they carried out executions.

    All it left me with was questions.. How can anyone have agreed and supported the actions of Hitler? How can they have carried out the inhumane torture and murder of one and a half million fellow humans? What would modern-day Europe's jewish population be if they had been spared this massacre? How can we tackle the hatred and prejudice that still plagues our earth?

    I don't have the answers and it is a horrible visit but one that I believe everyone who has the opportunity to should take.
    Read more

  • Day74

    Day 70

    Caught the bus from Olomouc to Krakow today getting in reasonably early which was nice we did a bit of a walk around. It is such a pretty place!!
    Then off to a pub crawl which was a big night but a fun one!

    Day 71

    Today was spent chilling out and not doing much. We went to the Jewish Quarter which is a bit run down and still has a large Jewish population which was interesting to see
    Then we had ice cream in the main square and watched all of the buskers. So many talented people out there!
    Read more

  • Day104

    Especially for you Ange! Don't worry, although I hadn't been particularly blogging about the food - as the 6 pic limit sometimes prevents me from doing so - we definitely weren't depriving ourselves :)

    Firstly my deep red Barscz with accompanying pastry things. have no idea what they were but tasted good! Stuart enjoyed his potato pancakes on a bed of gooey goulash... a very positive introduction to Polish food! How would believe it of a motorway services, obviously being freshly made in the kitchen, such a great little find!

    A small taster of Marta's wonderful feast.. we ate huge klobasa sausages, lamb kebabs, many types of wonderful salads, flatbreads sauces and topped off with chocolate cake with gooseberries.

    Next up me, the proud mother with my pierogi babies :)

    The one thing I failed to mention in the last post was finding a whole aisle of fresh biscuits in the huge supermarket. Would've been rude not to try at least a little selection.. chocolate orange mmmmm

    And finally a photo showing some of the wonderful food made by Sumona. Milder than traditional I think to cater just for us!! And finished off with chai tea

    Read more

  • Day14

    Beautiful night out for dinner and walk around the square. Apparently Krakow centre was untouched by WW11 so has preserved it's original form. Not commercialized like Prague. One of Europe's unspoilt cities.
    We are staying in old part of Krakow at Hotel Unicus. Perfect choice. Lovely room. Right in the square. Will have to get Ainsley to be a travel agent!

  • Day38

    St Peter and Paul church.
    In the old town the bells ring on the hour and a trumpet plays but gets cut short in remembrance of a boy who was playing the tune to warn of invaders but got killed by an arrow.
    The home of dumplings!
    Time for a pub crawl with a black out theme. We all wear black with glitter and glow sticks. Found some jinga to play

You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Poland, Polen, Poland, Pole, ፖላንድ, Polonia, Polaland, بولندا, ܦܘܠܢܕ, Polşa, Польшча, Полша, Poloɲi, পোল্যান্ড, པོ་ལནྜ།, Poljska, Polònia, Polsko, Pòlskô, Пол҄ьска, Польша, Gwlad Pwyl, Polonya, Poland nutome, Πολωνία, Polio, Poola, اتریش, Poloñ, Puola, Pólland, Pologne, Polonie, Poalen, An Pholainn, A Phòlainn, Polóña, પોલેંડ, Yn Pholynn, Polan, פולין, पोलैंड, Pólska, Lengyelország, Լեհաստան, Polandia, ポーランド共和国, polskas, პოლონეთი, Polandi, Poleni, ប៉ូលូញ, ಪೋಲ್ಯಾಂಡ್, 폴란드, پۆڵەندا, Poloni, ໂປແລນ, Lenkija, Mpoloni, Polija, Pôlôna, Полска, പോളണ്ട്, पोलंड, Polonja, ပိုလန်, Poran, Pulonnia, Pholandi, पोल्याण्ड, Polongne, Polonha, Pol'šu, ପୋଲାଣ୍ଡ, Польшæ, Polska, پولنډ, Polónia, Pulunya, Pologna, Polonye, Полония, Pulonia, Pölôni, පෝලන්තය, Poľsko, Booland, Пољска, போலந்து, పోలాండ్, Лаҳистон, โปแลนด์, لەھىستان, Польща, پولینڈ, Polsha, Ba Lan, Pooln, Polän, פוילן, Orílẹ́ède Polandi, 波兰, i-Poland

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