Exciting Poland

There isn’t any more time to do detailed writeups with pictures for now, so text will have to do.

We visited Poland from the 20th of March to the 23rd. This was also my first time going to Skavsta Airport. I’ll see much more of it in future for other flights.

Our first day was basically spent on getting to the airport and making our way to Hostel Lemon in Warsaw. There were some problems with overstayers and lost keys but it seemed like there were enough beds. By the time we were settled it was dinner time, so we headed out to the nearby city area to look for a place to eat.

Dinner was at a small Polish restaurant with traditional Polish food like dumplings and pancakes. We basically ordered by picking out most of the recommendations and sharing it among everyone. Eating out in Poland is much cheaper than eating out in Stockholm. We managed to get a large variety of food for <S$10.

The shops were all about to close by the time we were done with dinner, so we went to Carrefour Express to stock up on food for our full day in Krakow the next day. Stuff in Poland can really be much cheaper.

Our first night in Hostel Lemon was filled with incidents. We slept early because we had to wake up at 4am to catch the train to Krakow. A couple of hours later, we were woken up by a Nigerian guy asking who had taken his bed. He had the key to the locker and all, but somehow he had no reservation for the bed, neither had his company paid yet. This was settled amicably and he moved to another room, but by then most of us were awake.

A short while later most of us woke up again when someone else came in and turned on the lights. It didn’t help that the mattresses were so thin that we could feel the metal bars of the bed frame through it.

The highlight of the night was when an old Pole came in. We had wondered whether anyone was using the bed with an old battered suitcase under it, like the kind used by Mr Bean. He wandered in at about 3 am, switched on the lights, and proceeded to mutter very loudly to himself. He seemed to have a couple of screws lose, as he then proceeded to undress himself right there.

After a while he settled down and went to sleep, but by then it was nearly 4 and we woke up to get ready. The old guy woke up too and went to make a cup of tea, muttering continuously in Polish.

Due to the lack of good sleep from the previous night, most of us slept on the 3 hour train ride to Krakow. We arrived and were taken to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. The tour guide brought us around the first camp, showing us the living spaces and some other exhibits documenting the Nazi’s atrocities during the war. All of us were lent wireless headsets, so hearing what she was saying was not a problem.

After a short break, we were brought over to the much larger camp at Birkenau. It’s a huge place, with rows and rows of wooden and brick huts stretching out into the distance. Railway lines divide the camp into 2, and the ruins of the gas chambers flanked the lines. Most of the people who arrived at this camp never even survived one day. If they were deemed unfit for work, they were just gassed immediately.

We returned to the city of Krakow and had a few hours to wander around before taking our train back to Warsaw.

Ok it’s time to sleep and I’m going to Copenhagen later. Will add more about this next time.

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