Friday, April 19, 2013


So the trip to Poland was great. Poland was never huge on my list of places to go, but sometimes it's good to try new and unexpected places. Because they can surprise you. Big time.

So Saturday afternoon we landed in Warsaw, and it was raining. We found our hostel and walked around Old Town exploring. We saw some interesting stuff.

We got up VERY early the next morning to take the train to Kraków (three hours). I ended up in an apartment with an older Polish family; one guy studying in London, his parents, his cousin and another woman who I didn't know how she was connected. The first thing they asked me was if I could understand Polish (for the obvious reason); and they became so fascinated by me (an Australian girl, studying in Sweden, on a trip to Poland) that they asked me questions the whole trip. I was exhausted and cranky but I stayed polite and answered all their questions.

I asked to learn Polish and the cousin said something that made them all laugh, and the aunt slapped his knee. Eventually they told me he'd said 'give me a kiss' (daj mi buziaka) and the next one was 'you have pretty eyes' (Masz piękne oczy). I couldn't help but feel uncomfortable; I've been hit on by older men before, but it isn't any easier the more it happens to me.

We arrived in Kraków and toured Auschwitz I and II. This was an experience I'm never going to forget. It was something quite similar to what happened to me in Phuket (I explain here) - I was feeling so much that I just shut down completely and went numb. Walking through the grounds of both camps, I felt... haunted. I was so uncomfortable to get pictures of myself here, so I merely walked around silently taking pictures of what was there.

There was one display at Auschwitz I that requested no pictures to be taken... human hair taken from the prisoners. I was looking at the pile, thinking, 'this is human hair'. There are no words. I have no words. There can't possibly be words for this. I can read all I want about history, but being in a place where you know what happened is something else entirely.

Auschwitz I was the former Polish military base taken over by the Germans at the start of World War II. Auschwitz II was built entirely by the prisoners, and you can see the significant difference.

We stayed the night in Kraków, exploring that old town. There's more in Kraków for the simple reason of Warsaw being levelled by the Nazis in World War II, and being rebuilt.

We went back to Warsaw the next (Mon)day and spent the rest of the day there. The Rising Museum was a definite highlight. We then went back to Sweden Tuesday.
I also got my Polish Starbucks!
I'm glad I decided to go, it was one of those unexpected surprises. 

Also, things were cheap. Food. Alcohol.

My Starbucks mug collection is growing nicely.
I've also booked a week long tour in Italy (Rome/Florence/Venice) for the first week of June. It'll be my last overseas trip before I go back to Melbourne on the 14th, and the tour covers all three cities that I want to visit. It was perfect. I'll be hitting up all four of the top four cities of Europe during my exchange: Barcelona, Paris, London and Rome.

As always, you can find my Instagrams on the go on my Tumblr.

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