In high school, did I have a passion for history and one of my "favorite" historical periods? was the second world war.
I informed myself a lot about the events of the time, watched many documentaries and read many books, my only favorite poem? was written by Primo Levi. In the fifth year, I centered my examination on the extermination of the Jews and how the world had become anti-Semitic.
It was surreal to read about what had happened in the concentration camps, it made no sense for us students that kind of war against one people where the only intent was to eliminate them all. I promised myself that one day I would go to visit Auschwitz and in November 2018 at the age of 30 I decided it was time.
You can read and see many films on the incident, you can leave 100% informed on the site you are going to visit but what you will try will not be? never told by any school book.
I am sure that Auschwitz leaves each of us with one and only question: why?
November 10 2018
Our flight, booked a month earlier, provided for direct flight from Cagliari to Krakow with the Ryanair company: flight time scheduled for 12 but two days before the Irish company decides to move the flight to 18.30 on the same day. It takes about 2h30 minutes to get to one of the city? pi? beautiful of Poland, but at 21, just before landing, the commander informs us that due to fog it will not be possible? to get to Krakow but that we will land at an airport in a city? 2 hours drive from our point of arrival.
So definitely angry for the day lost with all these changes in time and airport, we get off the plane and wait for the bus managed by Ryanair that should take us to our destination but after two hours and more? in the cold waiting for a bus that we don't know if it would actually arrive, we decide to take a taxi. We share the shopping with another couple of travelers and spend the two consecutive hours chatting about their respective trips.
We arrive at our hotel, the "David Boutique Hotel", at one in the morning and with an alarm that would sound at 5.30. Unfortunately we didn't see anything in Krakow that evening.
November 11 2018
Our hotel is located in the Jewish quarter, in a very central position, a great price for 3 nights with breakfast included.
Months earlier I had contacted an agency to organize the visit to the concentration camp and now I can say that I was delighted to have found an organized and serious agency where we could book and pay for vouchers online and more. there was a guide in Italian. The vouchers include a 6-hour visit to the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps, a lunch break and a 4-hour visit to the Wieliczka salt mines.
I recommend you to rely on this agency, "Sostraveltour of Krakow".
What? at 7 in the morning we are at the meeting point and our guide arrives on time, who makes us get on the bus and for the whole journey he will speak? of the incident of Auschwitz (in front of us there was also a TV with a documentary) and I will show you? the characteristics of the city? that we can see from the window during the trip.
Krakow early in the morning? shrouded in fog, can we see a city? hidden, silent and tidy.
The trip takes about 2 hours.
Arriving at the large parking lot we all have 10 minutes to stop at the bar located next to the gates to enter the field. Was it strange to see a bar right there? and all those visitors sipping coffee? in a place now very touristic but strangely with a deafening silence. Fortunately there? no profit for this visit. You don't pay any ticket to enter through those gates, can you? enter alone but obviously a guide will be? able to make you go around the field in order to know what happened and how? happened, so you just pay for the guide and transport to get there.
Everything happens very quickly, on our heads the words "work makes you free" (Arbeit macht dich frei, the one we have seen hundreds of times on television) appear on our heads and once you have passed that gate, isn't there? nothing that I can tell,? an experience to live, each with their own emotion.
A valuable advice that the guide gives us? not to photograph, not why? you can not but why? ? a cemetery.
After the visit to the concentration camp we return to the city center? and we discover a sunny Krakow, magnificent, modern and ancient at the same time, with a square full of people, we see green parks everywhere, lots of trees and a city atmosphere? enjoyable. We have 15 minutes for a quick lunch break before we leave. We eat a sandwich while walking in the main square. We leave with the bus to the salt mines. We arrive at about 15. There? a long line at the entrance but groups with reservations can enter. Our guide is waiting for us outside why? inside there are the guides who work in the mines and ours will speak? an excellent Italian.
The site ? an old mine from where the salt was obtained, now in disuse yes? decided to use the factory for tourism and the intent? succeeded in a big way with millions of visitors a year. If you imagine mountains of dusty white salt you are wrong! Everything here? carved in salt: walls, statues, chandeliers, everything! The mine ? an entire labyrinth that winds for many kilometers. You will find small refreshment points and for the purchase of souvenirs made of salt c '? to indulge yourself. Does the visit end around 18.30pm and outside? now dark and the lighting makes the place even more? magical. Let's go back to our hotel for a quick shower why? you can not? stop, I am an organizer and a month before I booked a dinner at the restaurant "Starka", considered one of the best in the city, very close to our hotel, with a menu? great and a unique Krakow atmosphere. Satisfied with the day and with a happy stomach, we return to our hotel walking through the Jewish quarter.
November 12 2018
Day entirely dedicated to visiting the city.
The view from our room overlooks an old Jewish cemetery and we decide to start with that and the synagogue.
We head towards the famous royal castle of Wawel which unfortunately on Monday? ? closing day and we cannot visit the interiors, we are content to walk around in the wonderful gardens, below you will find the statue of the dragon that really spits fire!
We move to the main square where you? a nice central market. In the tower in the center c '? the possibility? to enter and go up to enjoy a panorama of the city? in the round. Shall we have a coffee? at the Hard Rock Caff ?, we walk through the medieval alleys and arrive at the Collegium Maius where you will see an ancient clock. We have lunch in the area with the famous Polish Pierogi, ravioli with meat or vegetables. In the afternoon we go back to the Jewish quarter and visit another synagogue with a small cemetery attached, we enter the Jewish museum of Galicia and then when it is getting dark we move to the square of the Heroes of the Ghetto and this place too? to see with your own eyes and not to tell. We have dinner in a typical Polish restaurant with a hot soup. Polish food? was a revelation, delicious, men? attention to detail, special recipes and unique flavors.
Were you surprised you found such a thing? beautiful city? we go to bed full of happiness.
November 13 2018
Breakfast at the hotel and the taxi waiting for us outside takes us back to the airport where our mini journey ends but which has left many emotions, surprises and above all the certainty of how powerful and bad a man can be towards another man.