This is where JPII is from!
07.23.2010 - 07.23.2010 80 °F
Our train journey ended about a half hour late, but we finally arrived at Krakow at around 7 AM!! We easily found our way to our hostel, Zodiakus (which is a miracle for us, as many of you know).
Once we arrived we had planned to just explore the city on our own, but saw that the Auschwitz-Birkenau tour left at 11:30 so we decided to join in. After a quick shower and some free hostel breakfast, we headed off. Thankfully the bus picked us up from right outside the hostel and we didn't have to worry about getting to the train or getting off on the right stop.
The ride was pretty boring. Sam slept pretty much the whole way and I read the latest book Sam had picked up from a hostel: "Lead a Horse to Murder." The book sounds ridiculous and the premise about a veterinarian who solves mysteries sounds dumb, but it's actually pretty good!
Once we arrived at Auschwitz we had to wait for a little while for the English tour to begin. I have to say, the tours are very well organized and they even provide you with headphones so you can hear the tour guide.
Auschwitz was a great experience. It's one of those places that I think everyone should go to, no matter how hard or emotional it may be. It's hard to describe what it's like and even the few pictures I took don't do it justice.
Our tour guide was great. She explained things clearly and allowed plenty of time to digest all the information and sights. Most of the tour is outside. The actual size of the camp is huge and you can walk among the buildings. You also go inside some of the buildings where prisoners slept or were tortured.
Some of the buildings have pictures or actual objects that were found at the site when the liberators came. Some things I will always remember are the rooms full of human hair, shoes, clothes, prosthetics, etc. It was hard to take at times, but I'm very glad we went. After Auschwitz, you climb into the bus for a short ride to Birkenau. This camp is much bigger, but there is not as much to see there. Even so, just the size of it and being in that setting gives you a sense of what it may have been like.
The bus ride back was pretty much the same. We both slept a bit. We saw German people eating a raw pepper like the Chairman in Iron Chef! It was strange.
Back at the hostel, we met some cool people. We met a very nice Scottish girl, Melanie, who became a good friend. We met a strange guy from Utah, Tim, who seemed to disappear and then reappear all the time. We met some great Irish guys and 2 ghetto English girls. After talking for a bit, we all headed out to a nice pub. It was decorated with lots of lights and gummy bear lamps. Some of the people headed out to a club later, but we were too tired from the night train and headed back to the hostel.