The last leg of our journey through Poland. On a Thursday morning we packed everything up and drove from Warsaw to a campsite near Krakow, an area where I had been before. The main reason I wanted to go here, was to bring Matthijs to Auschwitz. In 2005 my parents took me and my brothers there, and the experience never left me. The immensity of these two camps made history more visible to me. And even after being there twice, I still cannot comprehend what has happened there. Why go there, then? If it’s such a sad experience? Because I think it’s important to go to places like this. To see what humans are able to do to one another. To make history less abstract, and to learn from it. So, be warned: a large part of this article consists of photos I took there. Not to show off my skills, not to brag about having been there, not to shock you. I share these photos in the hope that it makes you aware of what happened seven decades – literally a lifetime – ago. To imprint on you that humans shouldn’t do this to one another. To remind you that the situation we are in now, however horrible it is, is still better than being deported because of your origins.
The following day, we visited the Wieliczka Salt Mine to shake off the experience of the day before just a little bit. In hindsight, after walking an entire day, going to the mines was perhaps not the smartest move. The tour started with walking down an infinite amount of stairs, and then another 3,5 kilometers of underground paths. So if you’re going to visit both, take a rest day in between. Your legs will thank you for it. I had been to the mines before as well, but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing it again. My favourite room is the underground cathedral that is carved out of the mine. I tried to capture it, but my photos didn’t do it justice, so go ahead and see it for yourself when we’re able to explore the world again.
After the mines, we went to Krakow for lunch. And while we enjoyed some good food and lemonade on a terrace in the old town, we both realized that we were ready to go home. So instead of wandering through the city for another day or two, and then going to Prague, we returned to our crappy campsite, packed everything up within an hour and drove west.
And that was that. The end of our uneventful adventure in Poland. Will we go back? Probably not. Do I regret going there? Definitely not. It’s a lovely country to spend some time. And also not unimportant, it’s budget friendly and even with all my food intolerances I never had trouble to find something I could eat. So if you love camping and don’t mind spending some time in the car, go explore Poland. But do bring a phone with a translate app with you.