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Trip Start Jul 17, 2007
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Trip End Feb 06, 2008


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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Wednesday, February 6, 2008

ITALY
After watching both The Godfather I, The Godfather II and The Italian Job Benny and I thought that we were sufficiently ready to head back into Italy and visit Christiano and Mattia in their hometown of Forli, which is kind of in the middle/top-rightish of Italy. We didn't do all that much, just mucked around and went out to dinner. Oh, and we visited a few factories who make transportation type of stuff.

AUSTRIA
We spent a couple of nights in an Austrian ski resort called Bad Gastien. On the first day I took Benny cross-country skiing (cause downhilling was seriously pricey). After a few hours of playing around we got bored and decided to go climb up one of the nearby downhill runs. Unfortunately for us we happened to choose Austria's second-highest peak and ended up climbing some 600 vertical metres before we realised we would never make it and turned back. As benny had never skied before the way down was just painful - we were on cross-country skiis and it would have easily been a intermediate downhill run we were making our way down. In the end we took so long that it was getting dark and amazingly cold and the last buses had left. Luckily some nice Dutch guy gave us a lift home. So after this baptism of fire, the next day we pretty much just resigned ourselves to completely emptying our wallets and went downhilling. It was amazing. The views in every direction looked like they should be on the front of a magazine somewhere and the snow was great. The only bad bit was that every time you started getting cocky about how good you're getting you'd be comprehensively overtaken by a bunch of 10 year-olds, all just mucking around without poles or anything.

BELGIUM
As we're now both bored to tears by each other we split for a weekend and I headed to Belgium to visit martin while he stayed back in Germany. Belgium was fairly uneventful, I just hung out with Martin and his flatmates, walked around a bit, ate lots of chocolate and went out on the town a few times (Hoegarden is great).

POLAND
I met with Benny again in Krakow. The city is really really beautiful but the main reason we went there was to go visit Auschwitz (which was, unsurprisingly, quite a depressing place to go.)

Perhaps the worst part of Auschwitz was the section of the museum dedicated to Belgium. Here they had about 50 or 60 big wooden boards that were about the size of doors scattered around a huge room and each board had a person or family's photo on it. It took me ages to work out but it turned out that every board represented a train of Belgians that had been sent to Auschwitz. Each train had either 1000 or 1500 people on it. When they arrived about two thirds of the passengers were sent straight to the gas chambers and the rest were sent to work. Each board/train had a number down the bottom that represented how many people survived the war - none were higher than 100 and a couple of trains only had 10 or 20 survivors.

The other terrible part was one part of the museum that showed all of the personal belonging of the people. There were shoes and suitcases and so on, but the most horrific section was an entire room that was about the area of about half a basketball court. It was filled to a depth of several feet with human hair, which the Nazis used to weave into cloth. Tests showed that much of the hair had traces of Cyanide/Zyklon B in it from the gas chambers. It was horrible.

FRANKFURT
After a few days in Poland we trained back to Germany cause my plane leaves from Frankfurt. We heard that Frankfurt was a hole to be avoided at all costs so instead we tried to go check out the (in)famous Nurburgring. Unfortunatly out train took us to a town called Nurnberg, which is about 300 k's from Nurburg. So when the subsequent blame session was out of the way (in which benny blatantly refused to accept the fact that it was his fault) we just prowled around Nurburg for a while and headed back.

Atm I'm planing my way to Malaysia so this'll prob be the last post, so I'll cya all when I get home.

Ciao
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