Krakow and Aushwitz

Hello, I was going to wait until I had computer access which would allow me to upload photos but that might be a while! My new family only has an ipad and my new school has no internet access in the english classroom. Anyway, I need to tell you about my weekend.
On friday evening I got a bus from Olkusz to Krakow. This only cost six zloty (2NZ dollars) for an hour long trip. NZ buses need to up their game! In krakow Kamila's aunt met us. There was lots of arguing in Polish, talking on phones and walking the wrong way in order to find a cheap hostel! Although this was very very helpful, I couldn't stop myself from being annoyed because it was a nippy minus 10 degrees celcius and I was really tired from school. Once we found a suitable hostel... 'the dizzy daisy', Kamila's cousin took us out for a drink. We went to an egyptian style shisha bar which was lavishly decorated and underground. Then we went to a couple of other bars, one was very similar to library bar in Wellington.
On saturday morning we left the hostel at 10am and went to market square. There we went inside a church called St Marys, but in Polish, which was absolutely incredible. A very close second to St Peters in the Vatican. Everything in it was colourful and made from gold, with blue painted ceilings. From the church we went to Wawel Castle which overlooked the city. Very cool, an epitome of Eastern Europe castles. The cathedral in it had murals from the 14th century or something, plus tombs of Chopin, the Prime Minister who died in the air accident and medievel queens. We waited by the Wisla river, where gulls sat on floating ice for our friends to arrive from Wroclaw. Once we met up we went to the jewish quarter of the city. We walked to Schindlers factory (which was miles away). I found the factory, now a war history museum harrowing, in a way I didnt expect. There was so much information on everyday life in occupied krakow, which sounds absolutely awful, not even including what happened to the jews. After seeing it, the beautiful city streets took on a new darker history at every corner. We took a tram home and got ready to go out. The hostel held a chocolate fondou event before we left. We went to some great bars, including this one down in a cellar, where a Polish Ray Lamontagne was playing guitar. He was gorgeous, haha.

The next day the alarm went off at 8am. Our bus to aushwitz left at 9am. After being distracted by waffles and the hostel having no change for us I had to run ahead to hold the bus. Haha, the tour guide hated us by the end of the day. Aushwitz was amazing, but awful. It was around minus 15 which really added to the atmosphere. We saw the barracks at the first camp, and they had a hallway filled with photos of some of the victims. There were torture rooms, the wall where they shot people, the roll call hallway. They also had a huge room filled with human hair, collected by the nazis, as well of rooms of shoes, combs and other possessions. It is acutally incomprehensible how many peoople died and were affected. The second camp was worse. We walked the way people, mostly elderly and children were sent off the train. The fog obscured the gigantic camp and the dark shapes of freezing tourists trekking around made it seem eerily unaffected by time. We went straight to the gas chambers which are the same since the nazis blew them up at the end of the war. We saw sleeping barracks which hosted thousands and toilet quarters. It remains a warning to the world, and even after being there I still struggle with believing it actually was a reality, not a horror story. I felt sorry for the guide who had to experience that every single day for work.
We went back to krakow, had dinner and said goodbye to the others. Now I am with my new family, i will tell you more tomorrow!


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