Travels: Warsaw & Krakow, Poland

The man was in Warsaw on a business trip two years ago and decided to extend his stay while I flew in to meet him for the weekend. We spent one night in Warsaw, and took a train to Krakow for two nights. The main thing we wanted to do was visit the concentration camps, Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II - Birkenau. They were absolutely heartbreaking. 

 Taken from our hotel -  The Palace of Culture and Science : a gift from the Soviet Union in the 1950s

Taken from our hotel - The Palace of Culture and Science: a gift from the Soviet Union in the 1950s

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We went there in February when it was freezing but I think it added to our experience. Most of us had four to five layers of clothing on, and were still shaking and at some point, in pain because it was that cold. Standing out in the bitter cold shaking, the guide walked us through the ugly events that occurred in the very same spot we were standing, one can only imagine how the survivors survived with so little in such extreme conditions. 

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It's hard to explain the emotions I felt walking through the camps. My heart felt so heavy and I kept saying a prayer as I walked from room to room. 

After leaving the camps, we decided to schedule a more uplifting visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mine. It was beautiful, but the tour turned out to be a bit too long. Halfway through the tour, our guide (whom we affectionately nicknamed Count Dracula because he sounded like it) ended up leaving the group and no one would tell us how to get out of the place! So there we were, stuck 443ft underground, hopping from group to group hoping someone would show us the exit.

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If anyone is looking to visit Krakow, we stayed at the Andel's Hotel, a modern boutique hotel. It is conveniently located by the Old Town, train station and close to many other sites such as Wawel Castle and the former Jewish quarter of Kazimierz. We hired a car and driver during our stay, which is highly recommended.

(all photos by me)