DAY 1: We made ourselves acquainted with the Medieval main square of the Old Town, Rynek Glowny, and also the crumbling but wonderful Jewish District. It's here where the world's best bagel restaurant, Bagel Mamma, is tucked away in an unassuming corner. It offers all imaginable bagels and toppings- even dessert bagels laden with chocolate spread and banana. I've lost count of the number of travelers we recommended this place to during our stay, but they all came back with glowing reviews. I'd make a trip back purely for their cream cheese and sun dried tomato doughy delight.
DAY 2: In the world's most notorious concentration camp in the nearby town of Ozwiecim, we were taken on a guided tour of Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II- Birkenau . I won't go into detail about the sickening things I learnt and saw, because I believe it's something you should really be experiencing first hand. It's a harrowing and draining ordeal, but something I feel everyone should go through if they can. Personally, we chose not to take any photos during our tour; there was something about snapping away in a gas chamber that really didn't sit right with me. There was one man, a baker, sent to Auschwitz after feeding a group of starving Jews some bread. He survived to see the liberation but spent the rest of his life suffering with ill health. On his death bed he made his daughter-in-law promise to ensure the horror of the Holocaust was never forgotten. Forty years later she's still kept her promise. This was the wonderful woman who showed us around the camps.
'Forever let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity'.
Auschwitz memorial plaque.
DAY 3: We spent the day with our Australian friends, Pak and Tom, before they moved on to the next leg of their journey. That's the bittersweet thing about traveling, you meet so many fun and open-minded people, but they're always on their way to some place else; a lot of 'goodbyes'. Well, hopefully 'see you laters'.
DAY 4: Laura and I went tandem bike riding, an effective way to demonstrate just how synchronised we'd become after spending an entire two weeks together. Our proclivity to take selfies in any situation was, however, our down fall. We crashed the bike and spent the rest of our ride along the river stuck in fifth gear. Afterwards, I went in search of some traditional Polish dumplings (pierogi)- it wasn't what I was expecting as to me they looked and tasted like anemic ravioli stuffed with a sweet cream cheese. The traditional Polish vodka we tried later that evening was much more to my liking: a shot of honey vodka (krupnik) and apple juice mixed with bison grass vodka (zubrowka). It was in a bar that night with Laura and our Australian room mate, Tim, whilst discussing the universal benefits gained from traveling around (and arguing over the pronunciation of 'hostel'. For all you Aussie guys out there, if it was meant to be said like 'host- ELLE' then it'd be spelled that way), I realised the nomad life was the life for me.