Polska 🇵🇱

I arrived after sunset in Wrocław (pronounced Vrotswov). I spent a day in the city, it’s cute, has an interesting collection of gnomes strewn about the city. I think there are 600 or more of them. Each of which are in front of a storefront and they must follow the same logic. In front of an old prison, there’s a gnome chained to a window, in front of the oldest tavern in town, there’s a drunk gnome holding a cup. Hope you get the idea…

I also went to Kraków. It’s a nicer city since it wasn’t damaged during WW2. This is the old royal capital, before it was moved to Warszawa. Kraków is known as the city of dragons because legend had it one lived in a cave below the castle. The old town used to be surrounded by fortifications - but those were destroyed and a parc surrounds it now. Looking at a map, a green belt surrounds the old town. The city also had a very old Jewish district - where Schindler saved Jews during the War. Kraków used to be a very rich city, for two reasons: it was the center of the European continent and therefore was a mandatory stop for all trade routes (hellooooo taxes) and there used to be a salt mine. Salt was very expensive back in the day. If memory serves me right, two kilograms of salt for a kilogram of silver.

I therefore visited the salt mines outside of the city. The visit was rushed but these salt mines are unique in that there are chapels carved from salt inside the mine. Even the chandeliers and the statues are sculpted out of salt!

My last day trip was to the ancient concentration camp of Auschwitz and the Birkenau death camp. Suffice it to say that it was a chilling experience, one that made me realize how cruel the Nazis were and the sheer number of victims that perished at their hands. The Nazis kept bags of hair, weighing 100 kilograms each, as well as any belongings that held value. Seeing the hair, I felt so sick and disgusted that I felt that I was going to puke. A glass pane showcased a tiny little outfit, that most likely belonged to a toddler that was deemed unfit to work at the camp and was automatically sent to be murdered. I just wept. Walking through a gas chamber and witnessing the death camp were no easier tasks. It was one hell of a day.

Poland was overall a fun country to visit, I learned a few words, ate well, and very much enjoyed how far each and every dollar got me. Partying was particularly cheap: my hostel was under 10€ per night, but included free dinner, free alcohol after dinner, free shots before going out, and free shots at each club we went to, after being treated as VIPs to skip the entrance line. A shot was about 1€ at the club too…