Pretty Poland

Trip Start Nov 01, 2006
1
83
168
Trip End Oct 15, 2008


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Flag of Poland  , Southern Poland,
Tuesday, June 3, 2008

3/6-4/6

After being attacked by Mosquitoes in the National park we decided to just drive the whole 500 or more Km to Krakow, an interesting drive which took us 8 hrs in old Clive. We saw forests, plains, farmers using scythes to cut the grass, people driving horses and carts..... everything, it was an interesting day, and it was about 30 degrees, fantastic.

Krakow is beautiful, the old town is rather small, but it has the largest town square in Europe, and it is a wonderful place to sit and people watch. We did our usual wander around, saw the castle and chapel both of which are very nice and then headed back to our camp site. We have seen more people today then we have in a while, I think tourist season is getting started. We also were out and about in shorts and singlet's again, so hopefully the weather is warming up for good!



The weather stayed warmish, but after a bit of rain it cooled things down a bit. We drove out to see Auschwitz and Birkenau today, a very sobering experience I must say. Since we were only going to do the one concentration camp we thought we would use a tour guide and do it well. It was a good decision as our guide knew everything, and was very good. Everything in Auschwitz is very well preserved, every building and every bit of furniture and clothing is original.

We saw what the living conditions would have been like, saw the jail and the execution or 'death' wall and also the only remaining gas chamber. There were also piles of clothing, suitcases, brushes etc on display, stores left over from when the soviets liberated the camp. We were told that it was a miniscule amount of what would have been taken from the dead during the 5 years that the camp was running.

Birkenau which is about 3km away was built as an expansion to Auschwitz which had become too small by the beginning half of the war. This was in fact where the most gassings of Jews took place, an extraordinary number of Jews were led off the trains, separated into groups and then either gassed or if they were fit young men they were spared from the chambers and made to work to death. The living conditions of this camp would have been unbearable, you would not believe that it could have happened if the evidence wasn't right in front of you.

We returned to Krakow for the night where we met Mike and Lela, an Aussie couple from the gold coast, who were camped next to us in their wicked camper. I went over and said hi, and the response I got was, 'oh are you from Australia? We thought you were German!' Apparently they thought we had sounded German, it was a funny introduction. We had a few drinks and chatted into the wee hours of the morning. They were heading off to Prague the next day and we were heading down to Zakopane in the Tatry Mountains so we said good bye and went our separate ways.

Miles so far: 5145
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