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Travelling to Poland next week for the first time.

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Alexis, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Superstar

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    A friend and I are travelling to Krakow in Poland next Sunday for a little 4 day city break. We both have never been before so I thought I would see if anyone here has been or is from there and could recommend good places to go. To eat and drink and maybe do a little shopping and sight seeing. What is the night life like?

    I think our trip includes a trip to Auschwitz the day before we return home. It sounds maybe a little morbid but I have always wanted to go there. I cant really explain why. What happened there and that part of history is such an immensely sad, tragic thing. I have seen many films, and documentaries and even plays about the camps and have always felt like I should go there. I should see it with my own eyes and be there. Like I say I cant properly explain why.

    Anyways any info or recommendations would be great.
     
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  2. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I have been to Krakow but it was many years ago now so I don't know of any good places to eat or about the nightlife as I was there with my family.

    We did visit Auschwitz. It was a really memorable experience that left a huge impression on me. But it was also very emotional and left me feeling really numb. So brace yourself. I think everyone should visit it since we should never forget what's happened. It's a part of history and we need to be aware of it and try to prevent it from ever happening again. Even though it already has in some parts of the world, maybe on a smaller scale but still. I am sure you'll get what I mean.

    One place that we also visited that I can recommend to you is a salt mine that is located somewhere in the area. I think it's this one:

    https://www.wieliczka-saltmine.com/visiting
     
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  3. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I went to Krakow in 2013 for 4 days - I was loaded with the cold so was tucked up in bed by about 9.30pm!! So missed all the night life but not too worried as there was a lot of stag parties and drunk Brits abroad!

    It was a lovely city, easy to get around and has a big square and a market and like you I have always wanted to see Auschwitz / Birkenau and to pay my respects

    It is harrowing, humbling and yes I cried about how such an atrocity could happen and mans inhumanity to fellow man all because of colour, creed and religion and it all seems so recent

    It was humbling, I started taking a few pics then you get taken into a Missen hut and it is full of artificial limbs, legs arms, prosthetics in a glass case, then the next is human hair, another one suitcases, another one childrens toys etc, It felt so wrong to photograph this and I put my camera away. You also get to see the showers for delousing where so many died / and the numbers stagger you

    There is a 1/2 mile walk to a memorial / cenotaph and thats worth it, I left flowers and in Birkenau you see the cramped dormitories and dreadful toilet facilities. You just try and imagine what happened there 60 years earlier

    I also did a tour en route to Concentration camp that went to the Salt mines which are worth a look and did a tour of the Jewish quarter, we had a great guide and she pointed out many places that were used in the filming for Schindlers list. Also visited the Schindler factory and there are photos of all the people he saved. When I came home I put the DVD on again and watched it with new meaning, I also sobbed. What a wonderful man with what he tried to acheive

    When I was at school we had "Show and tell" you had to bring something memorable in and talk about it for 5 mins, I hated doing stuff like this

    One girl at school who was Jewish, brought in her nan who was a survivor of the camps and she told her story (watered down Im sure for 10 and 11 year old ears) . I think thats why i have always wanted to go, I have never forgotten her and all she suffered as a teenage girl. It was humbling and moving

    re food Im a bit fussy with what I eat and didnt really like the rich stews, I used to stock up on a biggish breakfast, fruit for lunch and a couple of nights had a subway!!!!!! Also McDs but i avoided that - there are lovely restaurants but i didnt get there, i had lost my appetite being loaded with the cold so didnt pay too much for food!!
     
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  4. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    PS I dont think I bought very much and came home with ££ for a change lol
     
  5. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh I agree that the survivors stories are so powerful to listen to. We had a visit from a man who had survived when I was in Junior High. I am guessing I was about age 15. He had a number tattooed on his arm and when he told us what had happened to him and his family even the kids who ususally bullied others and were causing trouble were silent and listened.
     
  6. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    Hoping to go in October. I've wanted to visit Auschwitz for a long time.
     
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  7. Ms Southworth

    Ms Southworth Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    I know several people who have been to Auschwitz, and they all say that it's a much more powerful way to learn about wwII history than by visiting a museum! I hope to visit Auschwitz some day as well.

    I've been to the concentration camp of Terezin about 30 miles north of Prague. We went in the month of January, and it was colder inside the houses than outside! Just horrific to think of the many people who were forced to live there with no heat of any sort!

    Have a safe trip to Krakow!
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
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  8. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    Cannot understand people who deny the Holocaust ever happened. It's absolutely shameful :(
     
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  9. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Krakow main square - found my pics

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    Salt mines

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    love BF x
     
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  10. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Auschwitz - it was a picture post card sunny, blue sky day, it did not suit the venue, it should have been dark, grey, foreboding skies over head

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  11. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]

    Birkenau

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    BF x
     
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  12. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hope for the future

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    BF x
     
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  13. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for your photos BF. I totally remember the square of Krakow and also the salt mines.
    I remember Auschwitz too. But I've never been to Birkenau.

    I remember the year after we visited Auschwitz we went to the military cemetary of Omaha Beach and also some other places that were central for the D-day. Having been to Auschwitz a year before I understood the sacrifice the soldiers had made and why they had to die for the cause. The war really needed to end. Somehow going to both places felt like coming full circle history wise.
     
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  14. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Superstar

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    I got back from Krakow on Thursday and I really had an amazing time there. It's a beautiful city with such a sad history to it. It was freezing cold but I expected that anyway and packed accordingly. Our apartment was just a 5 minute walk from the main square but it took us a little while to get the hang of where we were going. In fact on the first day we did get lost, probably due to the alcohol we had the airport then the very long wine soaked lunch we had when we got there. We had to go into a hotel and ask them to call us a taxi to bring us back to our apartment. We had somehow managed to walk quite a distance in the totally opposite direction. Anyways after that we were more aware of where we were going.

    The restaurants there were unbelievable and the food was delicious. On the first night we had steaks at a place on the main square called Virtuoso. You cooked your own steak on a hot stone. It was delicious as was the wine and it was so cheap. We thought there was some mistake with the bill as it worked out less than £30 each including a bottle of wine. No, it just was that cheap. The next night we found an Italian place just on the square too. I think it's my favourite restaurant ever! The Grande Mama. Again unbelievably cheap but the food was unreal. Most of the pasta dishes worked out at about £5 - £10 which I couldn't believe. We ate there two nights as it was so good. The second night we ordered a main of muscles in white wine sauce and focaccia as our starter and it was the hugest portion I have ever had and it was so good. We also had pasta primavera and pumpkin risotto as well as tiramisu. I will be back in Krakow if only to eat here again. Also the wait staff were all just lovely and very helpful.
    We also managed to do a bit of shopping and there just happened to be a 70% sale on in Zara where I managed to buy an amazing blazer for £6! That just wouldn't be possible here at home.
    There were also many, many great bars around and just off the main square. I'd ideally like to go back late summer, as there are gardens and park all around the outside of the main square. The trees and shrubs were bare as it was winter but I think it must look really amazing when it's all in full bloom. The same with the old tree lined streets.

    Well that's all the lovely stuff that we did there but we also visited Auschwitz which was something I always felt I needed to do. It was a full day tour there. The first part was spent in the main Auschwitz camp then in the afternoon we went to Birkenau. I already knew a lot about the place and the horror there but I just wasn't fully prepared for the feeling of being there. It just feels like hell, like every thing there is wrong. It's dead and still and you can feel the suffering there. I think it's literally the saddest place on earth.
    Walking through those big wooden buildings where everything was so tight and compact. Knowing people were herded in like animals. Seeing thing like the standing cells, the firing squad wall and the gallows. The barbed wire all just meters away from where the camp commandant was living with his family.
    I felt exhausted coming back from there and not physically from walking or the cold but from the sadness there.
    The next day we also did a city tour taking in the old town, the Jewish quarter and the ghetto and Schindler's factory. It was just my friend and I in a little buggy with out guide. He played a recorded narration as we drove around and he would pause it now and again to tell us things in more detail or to explain them better. He was great and recommended us a restaurant to go to in the Jewish quarter when he dropped us off which was really nice.
    The bit of the tour focusing on the ghetto was very sad as well, especially the looting and destruction of the Synagogue's and how the soldiers used the graveyards as rubbish pits. Just totally horrendous.

    Unfortunately we didn't get to go see the salt mines as we didn't realise we needed to book it 24 hours in advance and we already had so much to do while there. That's always something to go back for though.
    I will be back as I say it's a beautiful city with a deep history, friendly people and you can live like a king for a few days on very little money at all. I'm very glad I went there and I will stick a few pics up when I get a chance.
     
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  15. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Superstar

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    Some espresso martinis and some paddles of flavoured vodka from the vodka bar. It was an amazing place, we lost a lot of hours there. :) And one of me with a sculpture outside the medieval torture chambers. Like I've said, a lot of history, not all of it great.
     
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  16. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Superstar

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    I'm having trouble trying to fix and crop some pics... They keep showing up with black bars at the top and bottom.
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    Last edited: Feb 24, 2018
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  17. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Superstar

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  18. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Superstar

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    I noticed this when I was at an ATM... I have to say I did wonder myself.
     
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  19. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Superstar

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    Freezing!!!
     
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  20. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    My mum, and other people have told me, you will never ever hear a bird singing at Auschwitz. They just don't.
     
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