A whistle stop tour of Poland – Krakow and Auschwitz
We arrived in Poland on a national holiday, it was a glorious sunny day and families were out in force enjoying the summer holiday. We had planned to visit the southern mountains of Zakopane, but having repeatedly read that it is exceptionally busy in the summer and based on what we had already seen of the crowds on the Slovakian side of the mountain range we just couldn’t face it.
Instead we spent a quiet night slightly to the east of Zakopane alongside a river where we watched rafts full of families and tourists passing by and listened to the church bells welcoming locals to the service of the Assumption Day national holiday. In the evening we walked through the village and across a footbridge back into Slovakia. It seemed like a good trade off.
We only planned to spend a few days in Poland, we were making our way across to Czech Republic where we would meet my sister in Prague, but we wanted to see a little of Poland on the way and so we headed maybe rather predictably, for Krakow. We stayed at a Stellplatz at a motorhome showroom just outside Krakow, it seemed like a bit of a weird location as we went into the sales office to ask about staying for the night but it turned out to be a great place to stay, cheap as chips, all the facilities we needed, and within easy distance of the city centre.
We took the bus into Krakow and had a fantastic day seeing the sites of the beautiful city centre.
We even found a dog friendly cafe and stopped for refreshments, Chief loved the comfy beds they provided for their canine customers and promptly fell asleep.
We only had a couple of days to spend in Poland but we really enjoyed what we saw, it will definitely be somewhere we will return to see more of.
From Krakow we moved on to visit Auschwitz. I’m slightly embarrassed to say we hadn’t been certain we’d go, we’d umm’d and ahh’d about it, we wanted to go but we also didn’t. In the end we went and we’re glad we did.
We didn’t take photographs and I won’t try to explain what we saw or felt, it is a hugely emotive place and one to be experienced by everyone individually. But while learning of the atrocities that occurred there and trying to comprehend the unfathomable numbers of people who lost their lives I was struck by the fact that since the museum opened in 1947, 45 million people have visited, to learn of what happened and pay their respects to the people who suffered, and that this must continue, so that future generations never forget and the suffering was never in vain. If you have the opportunity to go, go.