I have finally caved into starting my own blog, mainly due to the fact that when asked about my adventures, I cannot remember what I had done merely a few days ago. This realization made me come to the conclusion that this is a once in a lifetime trip and to simply forget the details would be tragic.
I have been in Europe for two weeks now and have already experienced an array of new cultures and lifestyles. Because of this, I cannot say specifically what I did each day, but I will provide a summary to catch you up on where I am in my travels currently.
We started our travels on May 19. This day proved to be a bit of challenge due to the fact that I absolutely can’t say goodbyes. It was all so new at first coming into the program really knowing no one to the point where a conversation could be easily started. The plane ride was fairly easy, with the exception of attempting to get any sort of continuous sleep. We landed in Frankfurt, Germany where we took another plane to Warsaw, Poland.
Poland. I never in my wildest dreams would’ve imagined that I would walk the streets and take in the sights of places such as Warsaw, Krakow, Auschwitz, and other small towns. Needless to say, I am so blessed for the opportunity to have gone to a beautiful country that I never would have included in my travel itinerary.
Warsaw was an interesting city, filled with so much rich history and strife. Most of the city had been restored and reconstructed due to the fact that it was destroyed by the Germans and many of the most beautiful landmarks of Warsaw were gone. Although most of the city is urbanized and McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and KFC have taken over, I could still feel the history around me and see the pain of it all in the people’s eyes. It’s incredible how much people can take away, but how strong a city becomes by banning together and restoring their precious city. There was one building that stood out, right across from our hotel actually, beautifully lit in an array of colors at night, a sight that took your breath away. Unfortunately, we eventually learned that the Polish people hate that building and call it many names such as Stalin’s Syringe..why? Stalin gave Poland this building to the city as a “gift”. It stands right in the middle and supposedly it was built higher because Stalin wasn’t satisfied until it rose above all the rest to signify his superiority. Now we really looked like tourists, admiring a building that is hated by the natives. Ooops.
We traveled to Krakow one day, which I must say, I wish we had more than simply a few hours to spend in that city. It was absolutely stunning in history and beauty. Unlike Warsaw, everything was original, dating back into the 11th century for some buildings. The beauty and culture of the city is something that I know I will have in the back of my memory for a long time.
Another highlight of the Poland excursion was our trips to Aushwitz and Birkenau concentration camps. I could spend another day explaining my experience here and may write about it in the next week. This was an experience that changed my life in my ways and being there made everything so much more real. I can’t explain the feelings you go through as you walk along a place that so much suffering and wrongdoing was committed. My heart broke for every single soul and I became aware of the incredible, overflowing blessings in my life. It is an experience that I would recommend to everyone at some point in your life. It is truly eye-opening.
That is a very very very brief summary of my first part of my journey and I am sorry for that. Had I realized my incredibly weak memory, I would have began this as soon as I set foot in Europe. But I promise, I will do my best to keep up with my travels (although, being the only one without a computer here, it’s more difficult than you would thing).
Do zobaczenia (until we meet again/goodbye in Polish..which by the way, is such a beautiful and extremely different language from English and Romance languages).
Quick note: This is my first time doing this, so I am just trying to get a hang of it, so just stick with me!