Two flights later we had left our memories, friends and braincells in Budapest and had finally made it to Krakow. After we jumped off the plane we grabbed our bags and made our way for the 45 minute taxi ride to our hostel in the Old Town. Now the main reason I really wanted to go to Krakow was to see the Concentration Camp Auschwitz which to no surprise is on my Bucketlist . Now many of you will know what this place is and some of you won’t but Auschwitz is the biggest and very few remaining Concentration Camp’s used by the Nazi’s during World War 2. I won’t go into to much of a history lesson but the Nazi’s used the Camp as a place to use the Jews for labor and then to exterminate them. I think for me it is important to see the history side of things and visiting a place Auschwitz can touch you’re heart and show how cruel humanity can be.
Our hostel for this leg of the trip was Greg & Tom’s Party Hostel. Straight out our stay at this ‘Party Hostel’ was unlike our previous stay at Retox at all. The hostel itself was nice including it’s warm modern showers, our receptionist Olga was pretty cool on the downside there was a funky smell to the place and it was roasting downstairs. We were staying in a 6 bed dorm here with one American for a couple nights and another one staying the other night. Now Patto has some Polish in his background and was given advice by his advice by his sister who had also previously been to Krakow to try this restaurant called “Milkbar Tomasza”. By this stage it was late and we were starving from being in transit all day and after a few quick directions from Olga it was time to find this place and eat the life out of it. After a few minutes of walking we had found it only to find it was about to close since time I had slipped away from us. With a bit of charm and a chat to the owner they managed to keep the place open for our hungry souls. So it was all about the pirogi’s, now if you don’t know what a pirogi is it’s very similar to a dumpling. We had a few different flavors like meat, spinach, cottage cheese. Anyway you can get them either deep fried or steamed so we got got a whole mixture to share between the five of us. I had only tried them down in Australia once and I really couldn’t remember them too much but the ones we had here were freggin delicious and super cheap! Highly recommend the ones from here you’ll have to try them yourself. We ate at here about another three of four times at our stay to play on the safe side, Oh and they do have other stuff on the menu but the pirogi’s are the bomb.
Now our trip to Auschwitz was a very exhausting day, we had to get up really early I think it was something like 6am and meet at the Bus stop at 7am to be driven an hour to the Camp. On the bus they had a TV’s showing explaining the history to what that happened at the camp but we were all struggling to keep our eyes open due to the lack of sleep. When I was in High School we had visited a Holocaust Centre as part of a school excursion and learned all about the horrific events that occurred. That itself kind of prepared me for what I was to expect but seeing it first hand was something different and very much more visually real. Even though our tour started very early the Camp was very busy, much more then I was expecting. The downside to that was that you would have to wait for groups to get out of some rooms before you could get in as it was too crowded. At the entrance of the main gate to get in to the camp there is a sign ‘Arbeit macht frei’ which translates to “Work Makes One Free” how mislead the Jews were on arrival. We had a tour guide show us around the entire camp, it was a really big eye opener to stand in the same room where many Jews were gassed, burned and even shot alive. They have a lot of rooms filled with different stuff like human hair, glasses, cyclone gas cans, briefcases and many other things to show on a small scale what was taken and sorted from the Jews. The living conditions itself were unimaginable with people to sleep on top of each other in the most unsanitary environment. After we had finished the entire tour I felt some sadness within me, I don’t think anybody could even try simulate how bad it really was living under the horrid circumstances. Coming out of a place like Aushwitz makes you realize how lucky we are to live in this time of age and even be free.
Our stay in Krakow went very quick because we were there for only three nights and on the last night was the World Cup Grand final. As the game was coming to kick off we had managed to find this Italian restaurant which was telecasting the game the game downstairs. I think everyone was a in the same boat with a lot of people already set up getting a good table ready for the match. After some pasta and a few glasses of red we were engulfed in the showdown that went to extra time. I had a bet with Cheungi for Germany to win and in that second piece of extra time we got the goal that made them the World Cup Champions. After we got out of the restaurant we went to find everyone from hostel who had already had a head start on the night ahead. I don’t know if it was because we came from Budapest but none of us could really get into the Polish night life, the atmosphere was OK but nothing to exciting going on but we ducked it out for a while before we decided to make a move back to the hostel. Now Krakow wasn’t our most entertaining spot for the trip but while you’re traveling it’s going to happen from time to time, it was nice to rest up a bit and prepare for our next stop Prague. One really good thing about Krakow is that you can do it very cheap especially staying at Greg & Tom’s, they have free breakfast and dinner everyday even free alcohol at certain times. We flew in but you can catch buses from Budapest or Prague for a fraction of the place.
Also edited the photos in black and white to kind of set the mood of the concentration camp and for something different 🙂