Tragic Weekend in Poland

Trip Start Feb 23, 2010
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8
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Trip End Jun 21, 2010


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Flag of Poland  , Southern Poland,
Monday, April 12, 2010

As I'm sure by now you all have heard, it was a tragic weekend here in Poland. Saturday, April 10th, at approximately 10:50AM, Poland’s President, his wife, and 90 some other important government officials were all killed in a plane crash in Russia. They were going to Russia to for the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre of thousands of Poles during World War II. Apparently there was very thick fog when the pilot tried landing. He missed the runway, crashing into trees. No one survived.

Here is a link with one of the first stories on it:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8612825.stm

So where was I when all this happened? Well Andrea and I were on a 2 hour bus ride to a little town in the mountains called Zakopane. The radio was on, so everyone probably knew what was going on right away, but obviously, being it was in Polish, we had no idea. We actually didn’t find out until about 3:30 that afternoon. We were sitting in a coffee shop after a day of exploring and happened to get free wifi, so we were checking our email on our iPods. We both had a message from the ERASMUS organization (group that puts parties and events together for international students) about what had happened and that everything was cancelled. We couldn’t believe what we read. We were both in shock, we had no idea all day. When we returned everyone was very somber. All events were cancelled and most places closed down. Everyone has been asking me how crazy it is over here right now, but honestly, I would say it is the opposite of crazy. It’s very quiet and somber. Andrea and I went to church Sunday morning and there are memorials everywhere.

On a lighter note, besides the tragedy that had happened on Saturday, Andrea and I enjoyed most of the day in Zakopane. On our way there, however, we couldn’t help but notice that it was snowing! We checked the weather before we left and it just said it was going to be raining all day. Well, of course we didn’t even think about it. This town is in a valley in the Tatra Mountains. So yes, we arrived and it was cold and snowing! We were soo not dressed warm enough for this! We ended up buying a hat and gloves right away! The cold and wet made it pretty miserable for a while, but eventually it stopped. This town is known for its beautiful woodwork. Everything is made out of wood, and very detailed carvings in it. The old houses were soo pretty. It was neat though because they had an area just full of little stands. We spend soo much time just walking around through here and were able to get a bunch of souvenirs! Believe it or not, everything was even cheaper here than in Krakow! There was also a street that had tons of shops and touristy things that we walked down as well. It’s definitely someplace we will go back again, soon! It was soo nice just to get outside of Krakow for a day. It’s soo much smaller, not as many people, right in the mountains! It was very pretty, I can only imagine it when the sun is shining and it’s nice out!!

So I have some older pictures to put up from a while ago that I forgot about, as long as pictures from Zakopane and a few of the memorials here. I hope you enjoy them!

It’s been a historic weekend here in Poland, and I can’t believe I was here when it happened. It truly is something I will never forget. It really makes a person realize that you have no idea what tomorrow will bring, so live each day like it’s your last.

I hope all is well back home and that you are enjoying your hot Iowa weather, because it doesn’t stop raining here! Ugh!

Take care,

Chelsea
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