Posted by: bkropf | March 18, 2008


Immediately following my previous blog entry the hostel had scheduled me a tour of Auschwitz.  The timing couldn’t have been better, I jumped out of a little Polish bakery with my ‘lunch’ (a little loaf of bread), and climbed into a van that went around the city picking up people for the trip.  It was funny because we picked up Aaron Peake’s doppelganger who I had talked to at the train station.  He, and his friend, were both studying in Spain and were from Arizona State University.  It was so nice to have some other Americans along for a change, to talk about ASU/Duck football and other experiences we were having.

We drove through the countryside and eventually got to Auschwitz.  It looked just like I expected from all the documentaries I had watched.  The weather was very cold and it was raining pretty hard.  I thought the weather was fitting for how depressing the place was.  If it would have been sunny and warm with birds chirping it really wouldn’t have appropriate (My opinion of course, I really don’t expect it always to rain there).  Our tour guide took us around and I really didn’t like him a whole lot.  He went so fast I feel like I missed most of the sights.  He also was pretty bitter at the Allies for not bombing the rail lines bringing all the Jews to the camp. It was a good point, I wander why they didn’t.

The camp was pretty sad though.  They had big rooms completely full of items stolen from Jews: Shoes, eye-glasses, prosthetic limbs, hair brushes, pots/pans.  I think the most disturbing was a huge room full of hair they shaved from corpses which was sold to factories and used to make textiles.  The torture areas were horrible too.  They let us walk through a gas chamber and the ovens which was really sad.  I have tons of pictures but my camera’s battery is charging so they will have to wait.

Getting back to the hostel I realized the only people staying there were me and this Polish woman who actually just moved back from Vancouver, Canada.  She is really awesome so we talked a bunch about Polish life and history and why the guide was really bitter.  She made an interesting point.  She said many of Polish people feel that when the Nazis left Poland they were just replaced with another horrible dictatorship, Russia.  The Russians have mistreated the Polish people for a long time.  Many Poles feel that the Allies were just paying Stalin off by giving him all the various eastern European countries when we really had leverage on him and could have made them free.  Unfortunately, I don’t know enough of the history so I don’t know how I feel.  I would like to learn more about that though, it is pretty sad that Russia basically occupied Poland for so many years and they just became totally free from Communism in 1989.

And yes, the girl from Canada does look like someone I know: Cinnamon, a woman from my community group.  It is scary how similar they are.

I walked around the Jewish Quarter for a while and got something to eat.  It was called a Zapiekanka and was basically a long loaf of bread cut in half with topping toasted to the top.  It was really good.  I also have pictures, don’t worry, I usually take lots of pictures of me eating, haha. 

It being St. Patrick’s day and all I met the Aaron Peake look-a-like and his friend for a beer at the Irish Mbassy.  It was really packed but it was fun to have a change to hang out with a familiar face. 

So I fell in love with the old ladies of Krakow.  They seem to be all over and are so cute.  I just want to hug them and take pictures.  But I tend to be timid when it comes to physical affection and taking pictures of strangers.  I can’t wait for Tyler to get here and then I can position him in front of my targets and I can pretend to be taking a picture of him but really snap one of the old lady behind him.  I used to use this maneuver when I was taking pictures of mullets in Australia.  I have a feeling my pictures will become much more interesting once Tyler is here to help me.

People are so nice here in Poland.  They definitely make this place awesome.  Last night I got back to the hostel and a couple of locals had stopped by to have some cake and wine with the girl running hostel because it was her birthday. They kept making me eat it, talking with them was so much fun.  This hostel is great!



  1. Aww I want to go to that hostel! Actually our hostel in Krakow last time was amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever met a more helpful host… ever…

    Hahaha that picture technique is great… we always did that in Europe and Cambodia. It’s great for getting pictures of people without being an awkward stalker.

  2. I wanna see a photo of Barney and one of those cute old ladies from Krakow 😦

    Just ask! I’m sure they’d obliged 🙂

  3. Don’t you love old people? They are so cute! Whenever I see an old person eating alone in a restaurant I always want to go eat with them…

    Tyler is packing right now and it’s making me want to get out my backpack and start rolling my clothes… Don’t worry, he will be there soon so you can start taking sneaky pictures.

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