I think it’s safe to say that about 90% of my meals two weekend ago in Krakow, Poland consisted of pierogies. I also learned the Polish word for sour cream in the process: smietana. So good. Well, as you may have already guessed, this weekend was the big CIEE trip to Krakow, including a tour of Auschwitz, Birkenau and the Wieliczka Salt Mines. Auschwitz and Birkenau aren’t really something I want to talk about, because I think they speak for themselves. I just want to say that personally I could not believe the sheer size of Birkenau. I’ve known most of my life what had happened there. I knew the facts and statistics well before I visited. However, walking along those paths that millions have walked and seeing how incredibly large of a concentration camp it was really got to me. It wasn’t something I was excited to see, but I’m grateful for having the opportunity.
But, on a much lighter note, here’s my quick weekend re-cap:
Transportation: Coach bus. Roughly a 7 hour drive.
Travel Buddies: About 1/3rd of my program
Hotspots Visited: Auschwitz, Birkenau, the many churches of Krakow, Jewish memorial in Krakow, Schindler’s factory/museum, and the Wieliczka Salt Mines.
Favorite Dish: Pierogies, obviously
Favorite Polish Drink: I only really tried the beer. And to be honest Poland’s got nothing on the Czech Republic.
Words I learned: Tak means yes and przepraszam means excuse me (if you can pronounce that because I sure can’t)
Facts I learned: Amber and leather are very cheap in Poland so buy some there if you have the chance, almost 90% of Poland is Roman Catholic, Krakow is a big college town, polish money is called zloty and is incredibly tiny.
Closing Remarks: Krakow is actually a pretty incredible city, but my favorite day on the trip was visiting the salt mines on Sunday. Did you know you could actually lick the walls? I don’t recommend it, though, because they are incredibly salty and might make you sick afterwards. Also, it’s a great place to get souvenirs. I bought a lamp made of salt and I think it may be my best purchase thus far in Europe.
And so I know this post is a week late and I’ve been a little behind on my blogging. Poland was 2 weekends ago, and this past weekend I stayed in Prague mostly except for a day trip to Brno and a day trip to Terezin. But I’ll write about those in my next post!