Ryan & Kasia's Travels
Here is another attempt at telling you what we saw in Krakow. So we started our 1st day by seeing the old town of Krakow. It's a lot different than the old town in Warsaw. It's full of designer shops, bars, restaurants, and much more. This is where we saw the Pope on Friday night. The square was packed. There was about 1/2 million people there. We stood for about an hour only to see him drive by in the Pope mobile, but we were only 80 feet away. Pretty cool. Anyway, later that day we went further into the old town to see the Wawel castle. It was intense, bigger than I could explain. There was a Cathedral, state rooms, a museum and a huge garden. We spent over 6 hrs site seeing that day. The next day we did the Auschwitz tour. Actually we were going to spend like 90 PLN on a guided tour from krakow with bus return and everything but we decided to do the Ryan and Kasia discount adventure tour. We found our own bus out there and found our own tour guide and did it for less than half the price. The tour was humbling, frightening, and surreal all at the same time. Being in the very same gas chambers and crematoriums that are still in their original condition was eerie. The ruins in the Birkenau camp were interesting as well as the old barracks, all in original condition. It's hard to believe that nearly 1.5million people were murdered in those 2 camps. It's hard to see but something that people should see to fully understand what happened.About that one picture of the execution wall. On the right was the judgment house where prisoners were given a false sense of justice within the camp. If they misbehaved in anyway they would go there where 99% of the time they were given the death penalty where they were taken out to the wall and executed. Also within this judgment house (which we went in and saw everything) was different cells in the basement where prisoners were given other sentences like the standing cell. After a 12hr day of work 4 prisoners were forced to stand in an extremely tiny concrete room built only big enough for 4 people to stand until morning and then forced back to work. Another type of cell is the suffocation cell. It's a small concrete room with only a tiny hole at the top of one wall. 5 or 6 prisoners were placed in the cell but would only last about 2 hours because they would slowly suffocate. In that very cell is an engraving on the wall of Jesus with a heart. It is covered with a clear plastic panel to preserve it. It is quite terrifying to see. Another story they told is when one of the prisoners escaped from the camp. The Nazi's were so mad that it was possible to escape that they found everyone associated with the person who escaped and executed them in front of the entire prisoner population. This was to show all of them that if they escape or even try it, they will kill everyone they had talked to at one time. This would weigh on the escapee's conscience and prevent them from trying. Only one prisoner ever escaped. The next day we went to the Salt Mines in Wieliczka. It's only 10km from the center of Krakow. Again we didn't do the guided tour from Krakow, we took the Ryan and Kasia discount adventure tours for half the price. It was also something to see, we went 175m below ground to see a little city carved of nothing but salt. It was hard to take good pics because it was so dark. We ate at an underground salt restaurant. Later that night Ryan really needed a good Polish beer because he was having withdrawl. I'm used to having like 8 beer a day. So I ordered a beer at the restaurant and was informed that there will be no alcohol consumption during the Pope's stay in Krakow. I was pissed. So I had some Tea. The next day we got up and took a bus to the airport to fly to Milan. Only a 1 hour and 45 minute flight and from there we took a bus to the Milan train station and were lucky to catch a train leaving for Venice in 30 minutes. From there we had to navigate our way thru the winding streets and canals to find the stop where a shuttle was to pick us up to take us to our hostel, if that's what you want to call it. It's a modified campground to accomodate backpackers. Best hostel yet. We stayed in this private little bungalow that had a closet, bed and our own full bathroom. That's pretty huge for us. The place was really big, it had a pool, jacuzzi, market, restaurant, laundry, bar, internet etc... We got there at 10pm that night. I went for a late night pizza and beer at the restaurant. Fabulous. I had my own pizza (only size is large) and a Budweiser. The next day we took the shuttle back into Venice and I decided to put the map away and just walk and see where the canals take us. So then we got seriously lost. We ended up on the very tip of the industrial peninsula where we were the only people. So we bought a map and found our way. Venice is one of the hardest city's to navigate thru. This is what we read, what we were told and what we found out by experience. Nevertheless, we saw some huge attractions:The San Marco Basilica, the famous Rialto bridge and all the tiny little shops and streets and the best of all, the Italian bakeries evrywhere you look. The best pizza, buns and panini's you've ever had. So guess where we are right at this moment. We just left Venice on a massive cruise ship to Greece. It's going to take like 26hrs but we got plenty to do. Casinos, discos, internet, pools and much more. Best of all, it was free with our EURAIL PASS. We will update later when we get to Patras,Greece. Hope all is well and I can't believe the OILERS. We finally met some people from Edmonton that I can talk hockey with. The Stanley Cup. Crazy!!! There's a sports bar on board so hopefully I can watch the Carolina-Buffalo game. I'm hopin for Carolina so Cam Ward can play in front of his home town. We must go and drink-Love Y'All!