So I’m just now getting back from a great weekend in Kraków! On Friday, we left first thing in the morning by bus to drive to Poland. After a few hours, we stopped in a town called Olomouc, which is the capital of the Moravian part of the Czech Republic (while Prague is the capital of the Bohemian section). Olomouc is predominantly a college town, so it was pretty empty while we were there. But it reminded me of a smaller version of Prague! We did a short walking tour and then got some lunch. After lunch, we drove the rest of the way to Kraków! It was a really long drive—we didn’t get in to the city until 8pm! After dropping our stuff off at our hotel, we walked to the main square and had dinner in a traditional Polish restaurant (I had pierogies—they were delicious!)
On Saturday morning, we had a walking tour of the city. We saw the old city gate called the Brama Florianska, St. Mary’s Basilica, the main town square and marketplace, Jagellion University (the 2nd oldest university in Europe after Charles University!), and several other churches and cathedrals! After lunch, we had another tour where we went to see the beautiful Wawel Castle and Cathedral. Just like in Prague, it was amazing to see a castle right in the middle of a city! We then continued the tour to the Jewish ghetto, stopping at several important synagogues and markets there. After the tour was over, we went to dinner at another Polish restaurant and then spent the evening shopping in the marketplaces!
Today was a busy day as well. We got up early and left to go to Auschwitz, which was about an hour outside of Kraków. We had tours of Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II (Birkenau) in the morning and early afternoon. During the tours, we walked through all the different parts of the concentration camps, including the train stations where prisoners arrived, the barracks (tiny buildings that held up to a thousand prisoners each), and the gas chambers and crematoriums. It was an incredibly emotional and moving experience. I honestly can’t describe what it was like to be there, but I know that it definitely gave me a new perspective and I learned so much. After we finished the tours, we drove the rest of the way back to Prague, getting back to our dorm around 8pm tonight.
I can’t believe this week is my last week in Prague—this trip has gone by too quickly!! But I’m looking forward to packing as much as I can into this week before I have to leave!