Wanderings in…

Auschwitz, Poland

featured The continental breakfast was a small spread of the usual suspects. Bread, a bit of meat, a bit of cheese, some fruit, some yoghurt and some cereal and warm milk. Yum.

We picked our poison and headed outside onto the terrace, where we promptly got attacked by a wasp. We obviously then moved indoors, finished our breakfast and then headed off to Auschwitz.

We arrived to Birkenau I at 12-ish, the sun was shining and it was 30 degree heat. There was a long wait to get to the museum entrance. The queue was huge, and it took us so long that Ben ventured off half way through to find some ice cream while we waited.

The queue for the ice cream was also large... Ben was gone at least 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile Beth was getting dangerously close to the museum entrance, and Ben had no idea...

Finally Ben managed to get two magnums, which we quickly ate as the entrance got closer and closer. Eventually we had to ditch what we had not yet eaten and head inside. Which was yet another wait to get tickets and wait for a tour guide.

Word of warning: If you ever go to Auschwitz in August, get there early... 10am or earlier!

We got given a set of headphones and a portable radio to listen to our tour guide. The groups were made of about 50 people, and there were about 20 other tours going on, in various languages which made the radios nessesary.

Our tour began by walking under the infamous 'Arbeit Macht Frei' archway and through the various buildings which were used to house prisoners before building the second camp.

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These buildings contained various artifacts saved from the time when Auschwitz was liberated. The first thing we saw was a large glass urn containing the ashes of countless unknown prisoners.

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As well as that, there were piles and piles of suitcases, shoes, glasses, hair and many more miscellaneous items that prisoners had brought with them.

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Towards the end of our tour, the heavens had opened and it was literally bucketing it down. Nevertheless, the tour persevered as the guide was the only one with an umbrella. So, with the majority thoroughly soaked, we wrapped up the tour and got a chance to recoup in the break.

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During our 15 minutes before getting the bus to Auschwitz-Birkenau II we bought ourselves a large umbrella (a tad late in the day, and in the entire holiday) and dashed over to the car to change into some dry clothing and grab ourselves some hoodies.

The bus ride was a short 5-10 minute trip to get to the second camp where it was a short guided tour which only lasted about 15 minutes (At a guess due to the rain!).

This camp was absolutely huge. Words cannot express how big it is. It would take hours and hours to walk around it properly. As it was raining, we went up the watch tower for an aerial view, and then trekked up the train tracks and then back around through one of the many paths between ruins of buildings (towards the end of the war, the Nazis tried to destroy all evidence of happenings at concentration camps)

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After so much walking through rain, we were starving. So next to the car park, we found a cheap diner which served freshly made pizzas and chips.

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We decided to share the biggest margherita pizza we've ever seen in our lives (16'), along with some chips and a coke each. This set us back 32 Polish Zloty, which is an amazing £6...

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After filling ourselves on pizza and chips, we headed back to the villa which was an hour away. We wanted to try out the sauna before we left the villa, however the staff sadly failed to tell us it took over an hour to set-up and the woman had the look of "cba" at 8pm. Instead, Ben went for a quick dip in the pool which he had to himself and then it was back up to the room to sit in the hot tub spa bath for a while before bed.

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