Poland
Silesian Voivodeship

Here you’ll find travel reports about Silesian Voivodeship. Discover travel destinations in Poland of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

25 travelers at this place:

  • Day3

    Auschwitz - Birkenau

    October 13 in Poland

    This has been a place I’ve wanted to visit for quite some time and it didn’t disappoint. We were picked up by 8:00 for a 1 hour 20 minute drive to Auschwitz. On the bus a movie was shown about the liberation of Auschwitz - Birkenau by the Russians in 1945.
    Quite moving. The bus was silent for 5 minutes after it finished.
    We had a young guide, Michael, who took us through the camp. Auschwitz covers an area of about 6 football fields. The buildings were there before the war and used as a Polish Military Camp. The ones open now are turned into a museum. Many rare photographs showing the life of Jewish people before the camps, arrival and selection process. They thought they were being resettled and so packed their best things as they left on the trains. Especially moving are the displays of piles of suitcases( each with a name on them), pots and pans, eyeglasses, and thousands of shoes. Also the children’s shoes as well as a display case featuring some clothes where I noticed a hand sewn patch on a sweater and darned sock - a Mother had carefully repaired her child’s clothes. Also moving was the display of women’s hair.

    And then the walk through the gas chamber where so many people lost their lives.

    After Auschwitz we took a ten minute drive to Birkenau, a much larger camp that the Nazis built. This is huge - 140 football fields or a section of land. Polish people living here were told by the Gestapo to leave in one hour. The Nazis wanted the land. Our guide, Michael’s grandmother was one of these people. Rows upon rows of barracks with horrendous living conditions and four crematoriums. The famous railway track that we have seen in pictures and movies is here.

    The job of preserving Auschwitz - Birkenau was started in 1947 by survivors. Over 1 million people visit each year. It is so important that we remember this place as the saddest place of human cruelty in the world and keep passing the memory of the Holocaust down to future generations.
    As is stated at a sign at the beginning of the tour -
    “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it” - George Santayana
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  • Day257

    Katowice, Poland

    May 18, 2017 in Poland

    Had breakfast with Marienka this morning and packed a lunch for the trip to Poland. Couldn't decide whether to go to Kraków or Katowice. Zdenko took me to the train and at the last minute I decided on Katowice. The train was quick with only one hiccup where the rail line couldn't be switched and so we waited for half an hour. Arrived at 15:30 and quickly found a hostel, dropped my bags and started touring the town. There are a lot of young people here and very fashionable. Beautiful fashion! The streets are super clean and the countryside coming in had absolutely no litter. There was a light show in town these evening and the police stayed back from the crowd. People are so well behaved here and polite. Have not seen any homeless people or Roma's here at all. Stunning so far. Only staying one night and off to Kraków tomorrow.Read more

  • Day108

    Częstochowa

    July 24, 2017 in Poland

    So this is the second incarnation of this post which I accidentally deleted!

    In between Krakow and Warsaw, we camped in a wonderful little campsite near a town called Tarnowskie Gory. It was by the far the most sociable of the places we have camped despite its size. We met three separate sets of dutch campers and enjoyed an evening, a beer and a boardgame with them.

    Unfortunately since leaving Krakow I had been feeling quite unwell so the first few days I spent in the hammock reading a book.

    It was from here that we had travelled to Auschwitz. We also visited Tarnowskie Gory and had an amazing icecream for the equivalent of £1.. surely the best medicine. We also discovered the Silesian museum in Katowice. A super interesting find that had even Stuart and I wondering around the art gallery part! It also has a museum exhibit dedicated to the history of Silesia the area of Poland that - I did not know - we were staying in. The highlight though was the temporary exhibition room made up of mirrored walls and floor named “reflections”. Not sure what we reflected on but was a great spot for funny photos.. not quite sure that was the point but its what we got out of it! We also squeezed in a trip to the IMAX in Katowice to watch the new Spiderman movie. Very funny film and one I would highly recommend for Marvel fans out there.

    Checking the weather forecast on the penultimate day of our stay we decided to pack up early to avoid the torrential rain waiting on the horizon. Such a great decision as it gave us the chance to pack up a dry tent and an extra day before arriving at Warsaw which we spent in Czestochowa. The Jasna Gora monastery here houses a shrine to the Black Madonna. It is a place of catholic pilgrimage.. which you cannot really describe our 5 mile walk to and from the hotel.. nevertheless I found it a very moving place.
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  • Day251

    Day 252: Tarnowskie Gory Mines

    October 24, 2017 in Poland

    Off we go again! Back in the car heading north-west, this time to the town of Tarnowskie Gory. This UNESCO site was another mine, this one a lead-silver-zinc mine. The website said they offered underground tours, and some in English, but was a bit vague on the details though implied they might've been at midday.

    So we arrived about 11:45am and after some difficult conversation with the reception people, the only tour available was at 12pm and was in Polish. And the tour would entirely consist of excitable schoolchildren. Fun! Oh well, they at least gave us some information leaflets in English.

    The underground mines are huge, very deep and with 200km worth of tunnels. Obviously it's mostly closed now and mining no longer happens, but it's still interesting to see the history of mining down here. The key feature of this mine was actually water management - obviously water leakage is a problem in most mines, but here it was a particular issue I guess because of the lead?

    Anyway, they dug these underground canal type things called adits which allowed them to divert water where they wanted around the mine, keeping it away from the worked areas. The highlight of the underground tour was taking a boat ride along one of the canals for several hundred metres. I did have thoughts of the salt mines story about capsizing tourist boats, but this was so narrow it would've been impossible for the boat to capsize!

    Returned to the surface after around 90 minutes, where we had a quick McDonalds lunch and then headed off to Wroclaw (pronounced Vrots-lav). It was a couple of hundred kilometres away, but motorway all the way and you can cruise at the 140km/h limit (or faster if you want, police enforcement is pretty lax and fines are pretty low). I didn't push it that much.

    Arrived at our apartment, a brand-new building on the edge of the city centre. Probably a gentrifying area! Had a mis-understanding with our host, as he didn't realise we were bringing a dog. He didn't realise his listing said pets were allowed, and we'd forgotten to mention it when booking. Though once he saw Schnitzel was small and not likely to leave tufts of hair everywhere he said it was OK, just no dogs on the couch or bed. So Schnitzel will have to sleep in his own bed for a few nights.

    Stayed in for the evening as it was bitterly cold and raining on and off. Shandos ventured to a nearby supermarket to grab a packet of Polish dumplings, though sadly they weren't as good as a previous brand we'd tried.
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  • Day53

    Auschwitz

    September 22 in Poland

    A long drive to a depressing by required day.

    No photos only memories.

    Rabbi Lord Sax wrote:

    Today, on Yom HaShoah, we call on You, Almighty God, to help us hear Your voice that says in every generation:

    Do not murder.

    Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbour.

    Do not oppress the stranger.

    We know that whilst we do not have the ability to change the past, we can change the future.

    We know that whilst we cannot bring the dead back to life, we can ensure their memories live on and that their deaths were not in vain.

    And so, on this Yom HaShoah, we commit ourselves to one simple act: Yizkor, Remember.

    May the souls of the victims be bound in the bond of everlasting life. Amen.
    Read more

  • Day57

    Our Lady of Czestochowa

    September 26 in Poland

    National shrine of Poland.
    Believed to have been painted sometime between the 8the and 12th centuries it was brought from Ruthenia (Ukraine) in 1382 and entrusted the Pauline monks.
    In 1439 it was renovated and repainted in a more gothic style after it was damaged by Czech Hussites. This is when it went dark as the different paints reacted.
    In 1655 the monastery was besieged by the Swedes but wasn’t taken after a 49 day siege. Our Lady was credited with the success and was crowned Queen of Poland.
    Place is nuts as almost every kid in Poland gets brought here. Small chapel with the painting. Huge baroque basilica with we hope very repentant Polish teenagers. Groups of every other shape, size and nationality. Older monk mad sure we were directed to the gift shop. Somethings are the same everywhere.
    Not a bad finish to Poland.
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  • Day46

    Auschwitz - Birkenau

    October 10, 2014 in Poland

    Ruins of barracks went on as far as you could see. We were told some where as far as a couple of kilometers. The scale of what they were doing here was massive and it is not only important to remember what happened as this was a death camp but also that many thousands of people were complicit in these crimes.

    Remaining parts of a gas chamber. These were the ones built late in the war after the final solution and were built to kill at a much higher rate. The Russians blew them up.

    I can't say I would come back here but if someone wanted to go I would. Just too important not to see.
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  • Day7

    Częstochowa

    July 27, 2015 in Poland

    Lundi, 27 juillet 2015
    Avant de quitter la République Tchèque, nous utilisons nos dernières Couronnes pour faire le plein ( le lt de diesel env. Fr.1.16). Le GPS prévoit pour rallier Częstochowa 240km et quatre bonnes heures, et c'est effectivement le temps qu'il nous faut. Nous faisons juste une courte halte pour chercher qq Zlotis à un Bancomat. Nous trouvons du premier coup le camping Olenka, gratifié d'une toute petite étoile dans le guide. Il s'avère très bien situé, à 5min. du sanctuaire et muni de quoi vidanger notre bus; a deux dernières étapes ce n'était pas possible. Une fois installés, les quatre-heures avalés, nous partons pour les lieux saints. Le sanctuaire Jasna Góra est un couvent fortifié qui domine la ville. Une immense allée de plus de deux kilomètres y conduit. La basilique est de toute beauté et la chapelle avec l'icône sainte aussi. Une foule très recueillie y prie le rosaire. Le soir nous y retournons et pouvons cette fois mieux voir la Madonna. Ce lieu est, tout au contraire de ce qui est noté dans le routard, très peu envahi par les marchands du temple, en tout cas bien moins que Lourdes ou Einsiedeln.. Aucun des quatre restos du routard (2014/15) est ouvert. Nous nous rabattons sur le premier qui veut nous servir à souper. La Najświętszej Marii Panny, la large allée, n'est peut-être pas l'endroit des petits bistros typiques. Une petite pluie nous accompagne pour le retour. La nuit va être reposante, il fait frais comme les deux dernières, une aubaine après un mois de canicule.Read more

  • Day129

    Krakow

    August 10, 2017 in Poland

    Woke up and the idiot roommates are gone 🙌🏼
    We got pizza for brunch because that was the agreement if I got Indian last night.
    Went home and waited next to the fan until it was time to meet for our tour bus to Auschwits.
    The wait was nerve racking - there are so many tourist buses driving past I didn't know how we would know which one to get in because none had labels.
    Our bus was early so lucky we were too - our driver got out to get us thankfully.

    It was about an hours drive away and on the way they played a documentary for us to watch. It was dreadful - not really any new pieces of information but it's not something you will ever get use to hearing.

    Got out of the bus and had a 10 min wait before we went through security. Will was happy he wasn't wearing a belt today so he didn't have to take it off for the scanners.

    We were given head phones and outlets.

    When our guide started to speak Will and I made instant eye contact. Her English was TERRIBLE. Well, no so much her English as pronunciation. She was a real bore too but I got over it better than Will. I was happy just to see it with my eyes.

    She took us through the main gate past all the barbed wire and through the famous German sign which translates to "work sets you free"
    The place didn't look as daunting as photos. I think that was because of the massive green tree nearby.

    We walked through the first set of barracks which had pictures blown up and documents about arrest, deaths, and concentration camps in general.

    One display had some of the canisters that were used in the gas chambers.

    The hair room was confronting to say the least. I knew of its existence because Helen told us but to see it is different.
    Mountains and mountains of the victims hair stacked higher than me covering a whole section of room.
    You weren't allowed to take photos in there. Normally ignore such rules, but not here, not this place.

    Next were more rooms with some of the victims items including briefcases, spectacles, pots, cups and a few prayer rugs.

    The next bit showed a display of victims shoes and omg. it's hardly a percent of the victims and yet so many.
    An entire room with a walkway splitting it. MOUNTAINS of them.

    When you look out the windows you can easily visualize the Jews walking up the paths.
    Next was a barracks showing how they lived.
    We were currently in Auschwitz 1 which was the barracks and not the crappy wooden huts you seen in movies.
    This was more tame but still undesirable. First was floor with hay, then sacks then bunk beds.
    As we were walking up the corridors the walls were covered In the victims mug shot - they were wearing the striped uniform.

    In another barracks was were Dr Carl Clauberg did his sterilization experiments.

    The last barracks we went through contained the torture standing cells where 4 people had to stand and sleep then work the next day then return.
    It also had suffocation cells and a starvation cell - the one where Maximilian Kolbe volunteered to die in place of stranger.

    Out the back of this barracks was the death wall where thousands of poles were shot.
    They had areas they had to strip down in beforehand.

    We then walked past gallows where people were hung.

    We then found the fallow where Rudolf Höss was hung - he was the first commander of Auschwitz

    The last bit we saw of Auschwitz 1 was a gas chamber and crematorium.
    The scratch marks on the wall was horrific.
    I could hear their screams.

    They looked like literal ovens.

    Will was really unhappy. He was so disappointed with our guide.

    We then got on the bus and went to Auschwitz- Birkenau. This was what I envision when I think of Auschwitz - the railway track up to the gate and wooden hut upon hut.

    We had the same guide :/

    A lot of the huts were gone but they were represented by a chimney in their place. So many.
    Over 100, 000 lives here at a time and thousands died daily.
    Two thousand every hour was possible.

    We stood on the spot where the selection took place. Healthy people were sent to work and the sick, elderly, pregnant woman etc were sent straight to the chambers.

    We walked around and ended up at "death barrack"
    This is where those selected because they were no longer fit to work waited to be sent to the chambers.
    They waited without food and water and many died before reaching the chambers.
    We went inside and this was what I expected to see on this tour.
    The bunks that you see in movie.
    Spine chilling.

    This whole thing was beyond words.

    Disappointed we didn't see as many things here but a lot has been destroyed in an attempt to hide evidence.

    Everyone caught the bus back in total silence.

    I crashed when home.

    The police are at the hostel and we don't know why.

    It was an issue about selling alcohol. How boring I thought it would be something juicy lol.

    Total wasn't as emotional as I thought. I honestly believe that to be because of our guide. She was a gross disappointment for something I have always wanted to do and see.
    Still, I am so thankful for the opportunity and grateful for the life that I have.

    "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it"
    - George Santayana
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  • Day28

    Auschwitz

    June 23 in Poland

    The weather is certainly appropriate , 12degrees wet and cold, for the sobering day I have ahead.

    I cannot ever remember a time feeling the way I do today after visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. To explain my feelings there is not one feeling. I am sad, ashamed, cannot believe “humans” could do this, scared we will repeat again ( and do in fact continually). But also recognise the human strength it must have taken to survive these atrocities.

    I learnt so much today, too much to really take in. I stood in silence, pondering people’s lives, many times I could not even imagine what happened here. I’ve learnt of these atrocities during my school years, but nothing prepared me for this. To systematically kill over 1million people, primarily Jews, but also Poles, gypsies, scholars it is beyond reason or logic.

    The museum at Auschwitz breaks your heart. There are graphic reminders, 2 tonnes of hair piled high ready to be shipped off to be made in to socks - can you imagine that. Piles of shoes, suit cases, glasses, wooden legs etc. Human life being left as a loads of there items to be shipped off for others to use. To see the wall where those who were sick or punished were shot with a gun directly to the head is sobering.

    At Birkenau (Auschwitz II) we walked from the train station, like many condemned Jews and anyone else who stood up against the Nazis, down the same road directly to the gas chambers. They had the audacity to tell them to take there clothes off, remember where they are so you can get them after your showers. The complicity’s were enormous. They were shoved into gas chambers before dying in so much pain. Then the poor prisoners who were not gassed were made to cut the hair off the dead corpses, remove dentures and any other valuables. I’m not sure who had the better ending, dying in the gas chambers or dying of starvation and degradation.

    Much of Birkenau is in ruin, including the gas chambers, but it is still evident how large a camp this was. The 3 layers of bunks would often have 7 or more people to a bunk. The living conditions were atrocious, little food, little warm, some without roofs. People who were not killed died from disease, frost bite and starvation. Those who survived when they were liberated by the Soviets had to live with the horrors for the rest of their days.

    If you get the chance please go visit this memorial. These things must stop, genocide, ethnic cleansing whatever name you wish to put on it must stop. I’m sure it’s happening right now, but our western news doesn’t allow us to here the truth.

    I’m struggling to look at the photos. I’ll add some tomorrow I hope.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Województwo Śląskie, Wojewodztwo Slaskie, Woiwodschaft Schlesien, Silesian Voivodeship, Silèsia, Slezské vojvodství, Silesia, Sileesia vojevoodkond, Behe Silesia, Voïvodie de Silésie, Provinsi Slaskie, Voivodato di Slesia, シロンスク県, Silezijos vaivadija, Silezië, Województwo śląskie, Voievodatul Silezia, Силезское воеводство, Schlesien, 西里西亚省

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