You’re going to get the Coles notes version of Poland because I started my blog today and I leave Poland tomorrow so we’ve got some catching up to do!
I had an overnight flight from Halifax to Warsaw so I was pretty tired and unaware of what hour it was by the time I finally got here. I still managed to navigate the public transport and met up with my first couchsurfers, Luiza and Michel. We went back to their apartment and I got settled in. We went out for food and they paid as a birthday treat and then we did a bit of exploring around the city. The next few days I did a ton of walking around (40km according to my Jawbone UP) and saw all that Warsaw had to offer. The city was completely flattened during WWII so the ‘old town’ has all been recreated and a lot of the buildings are very new with typical high rises all around. I’m not much for museums but if you go to one museum, I’m biased because it was the only museum I went to, in Warsaw go to the Warsaw uprising museum. It was beautifully done and there was an incredible amount of footage and artifacts from the war to look at, it was an emotional but real look at what life was like in Warsaw throughout those years.
I would spend the evenings with Luiza and Michel and we would tell each other all about our different cultures and I learned a lot more about Poland than I would have otherwise. They are the sweetest people, opened their apartment right up to me, they even gave me their room because Michel gets up early for work and didn’t want to wake me up if I was in the common area. On my last night we had polish vodka, which, when paired with apple juice, tastes like apple pie! And on my last morning I made pancakes at Luizas request.
Next stop: Kraków
I took a 4 hour train and managed to make my way to my hostel at midnight and settled right in.. well ‘settled in’ isn’t a great term. I had a terrible sleep, I forgot how loud hostels were and I had forgotten to get my ear plugs out.
The next day I had booked a tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau so I caught my bus and started the drive. I met a German guy named Nico so we spent the day together. I can’t even begin to describe the emotions of going to such a place and standing where such attrocities happened. It was a very emotional day, filled with sadness and anger and an inability to understand how a person can treat another person so horribly. We had an amazing tour guide who helped us to understand what we were looking at and answer any questions that we had and I would highly recommend doing a guided tour. I knew this would be a hard thing to do but I also felt it was very important to honour those lives lost and to not turn a blind eye to the injustices of our world.
After the tour Nico and I headed back to catch our tiny bus in the back parking lot in the hopes that it would actually take us back to Krakow. I think we got lucky because it did! We chatted the whole way back and then decided to have dinner. So we split up to get showered and met up again in the main square. We had a lovely meal and watched as the sun went down on the old square. He was headed back to Germany the next day (with stem cells, because he’s uber smart and studying to be a doctor) so we said our farewells and went our separate ways.
The next few days were a lot of walking around and seeing the sites until my knee decided it wanted to pop out of place again. Cue the meltdown. There were lots of tears (and pain) and there were a lot more when I finally heard my parents voices. Needless to say I was not going hiking the next day so I had to totally re-evaluate my next few days. Now this is going to come across normal, and calm, but inside my head I was going crazy and all I wanted to do was be at home. So in all the chaos I watched some TV to distract myself (Mistresses if you must know, guilty pleasure).
The next day was hell as I tried to find a place to stay for the night. This resulted in me walking around for 8km in 30+ degree weather with a 30lb backpack all on a knee that I wasn’t supposed to be walking on and still finding no place to sleep. This resulted in another almost meltdown only held back by the fact that I knew it would be uncontrollable and my pride was too great to let this happen in a KFC. As they say, there was no room in the inn, so I hopped on a train and headed back to Warsaw. I’ve ended up at a gorgeous hostel which is my silver lining.
Today I have eaten more Nutella from a jar than I would like to admit but I have rested my knee and that is the important thing here. I got some laundry done and I may even attempt to do a small workout.
So, in a longer than expected post without a ton of detail that has been my adventure in Poland.
If you are still reading, I applaud (and love) you.