Well OK! I know I know, its been ages and at least 4 different countries since I last wrote. But with only 4 days in each place, my objective has been to see as much as possible in the shortest time. At the moment I am in Venice, in the midst of a thunderstorm- it is literally putting a dampener on the place, but still huge queues at the st. marks piazza so am on the internet instead. So where do I start. After I left Alex and family in Budapest (thanks guys for having me, i love u all) I made my way to Krakow in Poland. Whilst primarily known for being the closest city to Auschwitz it does have other interesting sites. It is a tiny city, and full of old world charm and a really really yummy pizza shop. Even better pizza then what I have had so far in Venice.On my first full day I went to the Salt Mines, about half an hour out of Krakow by bus. Started chatting to a Brazilian couple and a brother/sister couple from Portugal on the bus and ended up touring the salt mines with them and having dinner with them afterwards. The salt mines are interesting as everything from the floors to the chandeliers to the statues are all made from salt. Everything. All salt (with the odd bit of wood thrown in for supportive measures.) Despite queuing for an hour it was really interesting and well worth the wait. Even though climbing down 400 stairs to get to the first level killed my thighs. Picture 5 of the salt mines shows the old staircase that the miners had to climb down! I'm glad we didn't have to use those! The most amazing room was the old church room, photos salt mine 9-15. It is also used as a concert hall, the acoustics would be amazing.The next day was a complete turnaround as I went to Auschwitz and Birkenau. I did the tour, but we didn't go into all the halls, but you could go back and do them on your own. There is really not much to say that the photos don't cover. It is hard to put words to the devastation and the conditions that were inflicted onto the prisoners of these camps. Birkenau was especially moving as most of what is left is just the chimneys of the barracks, miles of them, just standing desolate. It is a huge camp, with the destruction of it all making it even more moving. It is actually more moving than Auschwitz as the sheer size of it is just incomprehendable.After a few drinks that night first at a club called Prozac (love the name) then one called frantic (hmmm) I called it a day and prepared myself to do the entire city of Krakow in one day.This was do-able (is that a word?). Being so small it was not hard to do. I started off at the old town square, a pretty place surrounded by churches and halls. Then off to the wawel castle. The cathedral was amazing, with each side alter more impressive than the last. The dragon’s den, where legend has the dragon lived until slayed by someone famous who founded Krakow, was a huge underground hollow (Uncle Ron- u would love this (fyi- he is a geologist)). After that, it was off to Kazimierz (the jewish quarter) where Schindler’s List was filmed. An interesting place, there was an amazing photography exhibition of now desolated and abandoned synagogues and cemeteries, taken from today’s perspective. The oldest synagogue in Europe was also interesting. I didn’t make it over to Schindler’s factory, after Auschwitz the day before I needed some uplifting sites to see. Interestingly though, as you walk through the streets of Kazimierz you can see signs of previous synagogues and places of importance, now everyday homes and shops.And that basically was Krakow. Up next was Warsaw. After checking in, finding London was bombed again, and a man was shot dead 5 times, the group sitting round the TV- mainly aussies surprisingly, decided it was enough to drive anyone to drink- and so the pub crawl began. It was an organized tour, though by the time happy hour was over at the hostel everyone was very happy. To my amusement, I was the only female on the tour, a fact which played out plenty of times throughout the night. No more shall be said, except I did meet someone but that is all I am saying. (Though I will mention I forgot my camera hence the lack of pictures.) The next day I walked around Warsaw with the help of the tour, run by Nathan- the same guide from the night before- so at least I wasn’t the only one feeling tired and seedy. We went everywhere (well it felt like it!) The main moving areas were the monument to the Warsaw uprising, the ghetto memorial and Pawiak Prison. The exhibits from here churned my stomach in such a way that even Auschwitz couldn’t. Not from horror, but the overwhelmingly size and breadth that the atrocities covered. That night I had the 11th wonder of the world. The world’s biggest burrito. It was huge- about 30cm long, 10cm wide and 5cm high. I could only eat half. You had to be there- sorry. Went to go to a jazz club after, but they had a salsa night on- man can some of those people dance. Note: I am very bad at doing the salsa, despite trying. The next day, a girl called Amy from Denver and I went to the Museum commemorating the Warsaw Uprising. This is a new museum only being opened this year. It was very interesting and we spent a good 3 hours in there. Bet you didn’t know 1 lone Australian fought for the insurgents in the uprising. (nor did I!)An easy, lazy night ensured and then the next day was off to Berlin. And that was Poland, in a nutshell.Berlin I shall tell u about the next time, as I have been on the net for ages and it is costing me a fortune. (And it’s dinner time.) Though I will say I could easily live there, I loved Berlin (despite getting food poisoning).The photos for Krakow are here: http://au.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/katefreedman/album?.dir=/7311&.src=ph&.tok=phBf7ZDBTHcBSZh1And Warsaw here: http://au.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/katefreedman/album?.dir=/1af5&.src=ph&.tok=phjd7ZDBZkFfMyAj
Oh yeh and before you all ask- no knitting content, I know its shocking but i'm travelling so for me its a good excuse.
Till next time.
Attention Perth Knitters
I am thinking of Starting a Stitch and Bitch in Subiaco or Claremont. If anyone is interested can they please email me and if we get numbers we can then arrange time and place.