Monday, July 14, 2008

A three hour train ride from Warsaw brings you to Krakow (which is also written Crakow). At the train station you find the familiar I's that indicate information offices. This was a welcome, as the other two cities do not have them, or are not easily visible. I got my maps, directions to Auschwitz and booked a hostel all in one fell swoop. I stored my luggage at the bus stop, which is directly out the back door of the train station and jumped a bus to Auschwitz. I do have pictures. By the way, if you are going to do this trip- it is a 2 hour bus ride. You purchase your tickets from the bus drivers but don't pay for a round trip. There are many different bus companies that make this trip, and they all cost the same. By waiting to pay when you are ready to return, you have the flexibility to take whichever bus is there first--no waiting. I did not do this, and ended up simply paying double for the return. BTW the bus ticket is 10z each way.

As I have been to Dachau a couple of times, I was not generally overwhelmed. However, there were a few things that really struck me. The number of small children killed. The fact the Nazi's tried to burn all the evidence. In fact- one day before Russia liberated the camp-the Nazi's burned every one of the storage facilities t the ground. These, of course, were where they stored the artifacts taken from those killed. Despite this, there were found enough shoes to fill an enormous room, same with suitcases, hairbrushes, eye glasses etc. What was the hardest to see was the room that was filled with human hair.

I grabbed a cab from the train station to my Hostel which is in the very heart of the old city. It is actually a short walk- but my bag was heavy. This square is amazing!  This hostel is very very good. It was 60 bucks, includes breakfast and a private bathroom. i have a double room, but during the week it is slow so I have it to myself and my room locks. They give you bedding and towels, and there is a kitchen for cooking. It is in a old building that was probably an aristocrats flat at one time. It's neat. The windows of my room overlook the courtyard, not the square. plus they have free wireless internet and free computers to use.

So far, Poland is AMAZING. My U.S. students want to know if it's "sick". I don't know what that really is, but I would think they would say YES simply because there are clubs and bars and things to do everywhere. Also, at least in Krakow, the bars etc stay open 24 hours. I, however, will be hitting the bunks as son as I call my son.


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