December 28th, 2007 – by: tiffharg
Walking to the Hostel.
As you know I was sitting at lunch the other day and just decided to go to Poland. What a great decision that was!! My friends and I went to Krakow
and it was beautiful! Getting there was fun... We got to the train station, hoping that it was the correct one. We found our platform with a few minutes to spare. We were walking along the train, trying to find an empty car... WHEN THE TRAIN STARTED TO MOVE!!!! So, we all jumped onto a moving train! It was pretty awesome, I am not going to lie. I did not know we were so athletic. he he. I never dreamt of jumping onto a moving train and although it was exciting, I hope that it never happens again. It turned out to be a fake 'departure' because after all of that excitement the train stopped and we waited on the train for another seven minutes before we actually left.
Inside Mama's Hostel.
I will not forget the face of a man in the hallway as we leaped toward him! He was looking at us like we were insane! After securing a cabin, we prepared ourselves for the possibility of being gassed on the train. Then the ticket man came and told us we have 2nd class tickets and that we were currently sitting in 1st class. Figures... so we left the cushy seats and the heated cabin, to go to a 2nd class one. Oh, yeah... where there was no heat at all and we froze the entire 9 hour trip!
We arrived on Friday morning and checked into Mama's Hostel. Which is pretty darn rad. It was right off of the Main Square. We went to see the Castle. It was a huge disappointment. The Polish sure did not know what they were doing when they built this Castle. Half of it had to be rebuilt.
. because one of the kings was an Alchemist and he was testing something out in his bedroom fireplace. It was not a successful experiment and half of the castle burned down! We had lunch at a local place called Bagel Mama. All of the food is homemade by the two owners. They were very nice and I had some delicious food there... including some blueberry cheesecake! Sooo good. We made our way to the Jewish Quarter, but it must have closed when the sun went down at (4pm)... because it was all locked up. Since it was freezing we went to a coffee place and Reyna and I got hot chocolate. But, this was literally Hot Chocolate. Like... they melted chocolate and put it in a cup and topped it with whipped cream. It was tres weird. I did not like it... something about drinking thick bittersweet chocolate.
Yuck. We got to the Hostel and of course I broke out the cards and we all played Nertz for a few hours.
Yesterday, we got up early in the morn and headed to Auschwitz
and Birkenau (Auschwitz 2). It was so much different that I thought it would be. I don't know if it is because I have learned so much about the Holocaust and have seen many pictures from it, but it was all so surreal. I was not sad. I couldn't cry. It was just weird. Aucshwitz now is a Museum and you can have tours through it. Don't get me wrong stories of survival are still moving and unbelievable. One priest volunteered to take the place of another and he lasted 16 days in the starvation chamber, when normally people only lasted 4 or 5.
A view from the castle.
He had the will to live and he was doing it. So, the Nazi's ended up killing him. It was weird... because it was pretty there. The snow covered the ground, the buildings were nice, and the trees were pretty. The sun was out.... but it was so cold. I think part of me was expecting to see/ feel the horror that was there and that did not happen. I still cannot believe that something like this could happen and I hope that nothing like it ever happens again! I can't imagine the coldness then. It was only around 5 below when we were there and when the Holocaust took place it was around 25 or 30 below (Celsius). So, let us just end it on the note of it being weird. I saw a picture of one of the men and he died on my birthday in 1941. His name was Borkowski Marina. That was strange.
After seeing those places we wasted time before our 10:30 pm train ride back. Maggie, her friend Katie, and I were in a cabin with a drunkard. He seriously had a canister of alcohol and was avidly drinking that and then he had a squirt bottle filled with alcohol (just a guess). At one of our stops he go toff the train and came back with 2 big bottles of some sort of alcohol and he started drinking it out of the bottle. It took everything in me not to laugh out loud at him. He just did not care and was doing whatever he wanted. The nerve racking part was that he had a pocket knife around his neck and was sitting next to the blood spattered wall. Sick! It was definitely a sight to see. He would go in and out of our cabin and leave the door open and smoke out an open window. Did I mention that it was already freezing! Turns out that our friends were in a warm cabin and were next to nice/ fun people. Lucky! I had to walk home with numb feet and I couldn't feel them for a good hour after being home. All in all, it was a good trip and I learned a lot.
Thanks for reading. Happy New Year!