Friday, February 25, 2011

day 9- Poland has the best food

So- after that rough morning, we stopped by a place our tour guide suggested- Polskie Smaki to eat linner- you know, for when you skip lunch. Oh wow-  some of the best food we've ever eaten! The soups alone were so flavorful- like nothing else I've ever tasted! Eric and Tagen had mentioned that Poland had great food. But wow. It was beyond delicious- so warm, and comforting.

This is a type of Polish dumpling called pierogi. This picture doesn't do justice- but it tasted so amazing. This one had potatoes and cheese inside and those are onions on top. I've looked up and found some recipes, but haven't made it yet. Why?! And the food was so cheap! Lots of food for little moolah. Nice. 
Okay- the apple pancakes were to die for. Just like a crepe with cooked apples, carmel and whipped cream. I need to make these!

The doors! So much fun.

We walked around the square at sunset. I loved the light on the buildings. 

We took these for the boys.

This is the Old Cloth Hall that has been around forever. There are tons of little booths inside. You think it would be warm in there, but it's like a fridge because of the opening on the sides. Brrr.

We had to try everything and these seemed to be selling everywhere on the streets. Kind of a mix between a pretzel and bagel. Even though they were a little dry- we fell in love.
The twelve apostles, minus Judas and plus Mary.

So we heard some advice from the great Rick Steves (we followed his books the whole time for great self tours and info on everything from restaurants to transportation) that if you see a closed door, just open it. As long as there is no sign saying no. So we saw this door cracked open a teeny bit and we pushed it open and found this beautiful courtyard! I loved it. Again- not as cool in the pic as in real life, but I loved what they did with the place.

They sold these leather gloves everywhere- I got a gray pair.

I seriously wore half my suitcase when we'd go out everyday. Lots of layers. And double socks. So cold. Looking back I should have just bought a better coat while I was there... We were still in our warm Utah fall when we left, so I thought it would be pretty much the same weather. I was wrong.

We'd come back at night and just drop on our beds. We were so tired from walking all day everyday. So exhausting and amazing all at once. 

day 9- auschwitz-birkenau prison camp

the morning view from our hotel window- Krakow
  I was nervous about this day. I've been to a prison camp before in Germany (Dachau) and it wasn't my favorite thing to do on a trip. But I wasn't traveling by myself, we were still a group of six. So I went along to the Auschwitz-Birkenau prison camp. It was a foggy and depressing drive. Perfect weather for the day.
 "Work makes you free"- the first lie prisoners were fed as they entered the camp. The "B" was put upside down by the prisoners as a quiet act of defiance. 
 The German army took over these Polish army barracks. Now they are the museum. You can go in each building to see giant maps and pictures, and windows into rooms with piles of shoes, hair (since they made the jews shave), luggage, glasses, everything left over from the jewish prisoners (that wasn't taken and used by the army.) It all made me sick. Especially the windows with all the kid stuff.

I hated that when the women with babies and children got off the train back then, they sent them directly into the chemical showers. But then I was glad that they didn't have to suffer there. I cried the whole time. I don't remember it being this hard to handle, but now that I'm a mom, I think it has changed me. I can't imagine my little family going through what they did- it was just too close to my heart. I felt a little ridiculous crying (I think I might've been the only one?) Oh well. It's what I do. That's why I can't watch sad movies or read sad books. I can't deal.
Adam took all these pictures. I didn't feel like taking any and turned the camera over to him.

This is where the director of the camp was later hanged after he was found guilty. (Read below.) It was facing the camp, so it's the last thing he saw.

 After Auschwitz we drove down the road to Birkenau, where they started building prison housing because they were out of room. The German army blew up this building (the crematorium) to try to hide evidence of the killings. The rubble still stands as a reminder.

 Behind this explosion you can see a field full of chimneys- the only thing remaining of the houses.
a memorial
I know it's important for us to never forget that this happened, because that's when it could happen again. The kids in Poland visit Auschwitz at least twice during their school years- 8th and 11th grade. It is very eye-opening and raw going to a place like this- even if it is sad. It was nice having a tour guide- she was full of information and answered all the questions. We learned a lot about what went on there. So very sad. I think the camps make such an impression on me, that I don't ever need to see another one. An interesting experience if you've never been.

And this is the end of a sad post. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

day 8- Krakow, Poland

 Our flight didn't leave from Prague until around noon so we had a little bit longer to soak in some more of the city. We couldn't get enough. Prague is even cooler than we thought it would be and hopefully we'll get back there someday.

This is another funny sculpture by David Cerny- the same guy who did the upside down horse. Anyway, if you look close you can see that the butt section of these two guys is not fully connected to the legs and torso, so the butt section can move back and forth so they can pee- because yep- that's where the fountain comes from. (It was turned off, but the butts were still moving.) The irony of this is that they are standing in a map of Czech Republic... and peeing on it. Pretty silly I say, but Adam loved it. It is just outside the Franz Kafka museum (another famous Czech artist/author.)
 From the bridge right by our hotel.

Next stop Poland!

 Prague from the plane.

By the time we got into Krakow the sun was setting! It was so red! We watched it go down on the way to the hotel.
I loved this hotel too. It was right by a mall. H&M- one minute away.
Even if it did have two twin beds...
Even the bathroom was cool and had a steam shower (below.) Can you see that orange glass? It was right next to the bed on the other side. I liked it.

The funky doors from the hallway. Steve and Adam were just talking like this and I thought it was a cool photo.
I want one of these in my yard!

We grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed out to see Poland at night. It was FREEZING!! But the buildings looked amazing.
There were still a couple of booths selling things. I liked these, but didn't think they'd make it home okay.

We stopped by the hotel bar to warm ourselves with some hot chocolate on the way in. 
It was a busy travel day. Traveling without kids is so different for us. You mean we just have to pack one suitcase? You mean I can read the entire flight and not have to worry about a crying kid? Ahhh. I could get used to this. :) But I did start to miss them a lot. A week must be my max without kids, at least the baby. (Linc was 18 months when we went.)

Oh yes- on the plane and throughout our travels we ran into big groups of English speaking kids. There was a big group hanging out in KFC one night (they said they all lived in Prague,) and on the flight from Prague to Poland there were like fifteen kids speaking English, but in all different accents. I was so confused. I asked them if they were all together and they told me they just played in a soccer tournament, but they lived in Poland and went to an International school. He said he lived there because of his dad's work, which was a mall developer. What an interesting and cool way to grow up.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...