17 May

Wow! Sorry about the delay in posts! It’s been pretty darn hectic around here, with final papers this week, and finals next week! Ah!! But, nevertheless, I did manage to travel both two weekends ago and last weekend. I’ll start with two weekends ago, when I went to Krakow and had one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life.

So, Krakow. I went with two of my really good friends, Kaitlin and Cliff. They’re amazing people. We all had wanted to go to Krakow at some point in our European adventure, and decided that this weekend would work. Best decision ever. Kaitlin and I had tried to go before, but the tickets were far too expensive for just a weekend trip. We finally found decently priced tickets, and headed on our 7 hour train journey to Krakow, Poland!

If you know me, you know I can sleep through almost anything. Trains, planes, and automobiles put me right to sleep. So, I warned my friends, and said, I will be sure to pass out on this 7 hour train ride, I apologize in advance for any drooling or snoring that may occur! Well, as my friend Cliff put it in a dear message to me, “Tia, I knew that once we got in the train and started talking and that you weren’t going to doze off instantly.” Kaitlin, Cliff, and I, while we had travelled together before, had never travelled just the three of us, and it was marvelous. We had some of the deepest and most meaningful conversations, as well as the most humorous and “What would the other passengers think if they heard us” conversations! I didn’t sleep a wink on the train ride to Poland, and I’m so glad I didn’t. The views on the train were absolutely wonderful, as we were traveling through rural Czech Republic and Slovenia. Absolutely gorgeous. When we arrived at our hostel, we found it to be situated directly on the main square (which by the way is the biggest main square in all of Europe!) which was SO nice! The hostel was a really great one, great service, clean, etc. We put our bags down, and immediately left and started taking “night pictures” of Krakow. Krakow, I must say, is one of the most underrated cities. It was absolutely gorgeous, everything is cheap, plenty of things to do and see! So, we walked around for a few hours, then headed back to go to bed, because we were getting up early to go to Auschwitz in the morning.When we got back, we met our hostel-mates. It was a group of about 7 Belgian guys who were visiting their friends from Warsaw. We called these guys the “Techno Twins” from the AT&T commercial.  They were the most upbeat, crazy guys I had ever seen! They soon left to go out, only to return at 6 am! Well, they woke us up so we wouldn’t miss our bus to Auschwitz! Although we were a little put off because our alarms weren’t supposed to go off for another hour…haha! Well, once we got up and got ready, we met another friend staying in Krakow and headed to Auschwitz, which is about an hour outside of Krakow. I was sitting with my friend Katilin, and we were talking, but when we started to get close, we got quieter. I couldn’t believe the beauty surrounding such a horrid place. Auschwitz was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. But then I saw the barracks. And gas chambers. And pictured what it must have been like back then. Not so beautiful anymore. Quite horrifying. We had to take a tour of Auschwitz, as they did not just want people wandering around. While I didn’t really want to take the tour, I wanted to see things for myself, I’m glad I did. It was a lot more heartfelt and I learned quite a bit about it. We spent about four hours there, and afterward headed back to the bus. Two of my friends that went are Jewish, and I can’t imagine what they were feeling. I knew my feelings, and they knew theirs. After seeing the camp, we all just hugged for a few minutes. It was an experience that I’ll never forget.

We got back to Krakow, all feeling a little better after the “bus ride of reflection,” as I liked to call it (although only my group reflected. There were many people who I don’t think got anything out of the experience at all). We got back to the hostel, told our other friend, Laura, that we would meet up in about an hour to go to dinner. In our hostel, our Belgian and Polish buddies were hanging out, and told us all about their adventurous night! They then tried to get us to go out with them, but we had to decline…haha! They were actually really fun guys and really interesting! Our dinner ended up being right outside of our hostel! We found a good place to eat that wasn’t very expensive! I got 3 pieces of salmon, gnocchi, and a glass of wine all for under 10 euro! Amazing! On top of that, it was absolutely delicious! We then left Laura and went to an underground bar. It was so amazing, as we were the only Americans in there, and you could tell that they didn’t get a lot of tourists. They stared at us curiously for a couple of minutes, but then just let it go. We weren’t being the annoying Americans. Thank heavens. We left there and got desert at another place, then headed back to the hostel. When we walked in, I heard Cliff’s voice, “Th-they…they ate my Toblerone…..” The Belgians had eaten Cliff’s chocolate, moved some of our stuff (which was all on our bed or the table by our bed…) and completely trashed the room! It was crazy. But I guess that’s Europe for you. We weren’t mad, just found it incredibly funny! The Belgians didn’t come back until 7 that morning, when we were getting up. Oh, them Belgians…..haha! We spent the afternoon traipsing around the rest of Poland, then caught our train back. It was a great trip, and I’ll never ever forget it.


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