Category: Poland

Oct 16 2009

Warsaw, Poland

Nathan’s Villa hostel
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is one of the nicest hostel I visited so far in Europe besides the hostel in Buenos Aires which is incredible. Nathan’s Villa is not very big but things are well placed and well thought of, the color is bright and very clean. A day pass for transporation cost 9ZL and 4.5ZL for students.
Warsaw was completely destroyed after the Germans left. Only 64 out of 986 buildings remained after the world and the city was completely rebuilt.
The southern part of Warsaw has some communist style buildings built by the soviet union. When I got here yesterday night, I thought it looked similar to Chinese cities with wide street and big buildings.
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This tall tower is one of the most hated buildings and it’s a symbol that big brother is watching.
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They have body sushi here too
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There are now more new buildings.
Old and New
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This is the only old jewish building left standing.
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Stare Miasto which is the old town of Warsaw was a UNESCO heritage city. All buildings were destroyed during the war and the old city was completely rebuilt.
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Visited Warsaw Uprising Museum (3ZL ~1USD),
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spent around 3 hours since the museum is quite interesting and have some interactive exhibitions.
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One of the catalyst which started World war II were when the Germans attacked Poland. The German attacked Warsaw on Sep 1st 1939. Even though England and France declared war on Germany but noone helped. The Nazi set up Jewish gettoes housing 450,000 people in a small neighborhood and many Jewish died of starvations. After 5 years of suffering, Warsawnians decided to stand up and fight the Germans on Aug 1st, 1944. After few months of fighting, they surrendered on Oct 5th, 1944 and the German killed 180,000 civilians and 18,000 insurgents.
After the war, before the germans left, they completely destroyed the city
Visited Akadia mall
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and got a selection of cheap polish food again in Careffour, the supermarket.
Took a train to Budapest at 9pm because I managed to get a special ticket cost 125 ZL, usual price is over 300 ZL.
Train Station
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Oct 15 2009

Krakow to Warsaw

Walked around the city today and spent time setting up my new laptop. My new laptop is in Polish and I went back to the shop today but they mentioned I would have to buy a new windows XP cd in English which is quite expensive.
Originally I was planning to go to Budapest on Wednesday but after my things got stolen, that cost me some time and I have to wait until Friday night for the next bus so I decided to visit Warsaw for the time being.
Walk around the city
Florianksa st.
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Cheap Polish food at Carefour
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There is special train called Interregio to Warsaw at 6.25pm which cost 40ZL compared to the usual one which cost 107ZL. Warsaw is around 300km away and is the capital of Poland with a population of around 1.7millions.
Waiting for the train
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Arrived in Warsaw around 10.10pm.
Got to Hostel Tamka (Tamka St.) by bus 102, unfortunately the hostel doesn’t have any more dorm beds and only have private room. Walked to Hostel Nathan Villa, Pieska St. (40ZL, 10 Euros) which is around a 30 minutes walk and here I am.

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Oct 14 2009

Auchwitz, Poland

Took a guided tour (80ZL)to Auschwitz. It’s around 100 km from Krakow and the trip there took around 1.5 hours.

From 1940 – 1945, around 1.2 to 1.5 millions people were killed. 80% of the people that were sent to Aushwitz were sent to the gas chamber on the first day. Those that were selected to stay at the camp were put to work. There are 3 concentration camps in Auschwitz. We spent 2.5 hours at the first one because it’s better preserved and some of the buildings were converted into museums. However, we weren’t allow to take pictures of the museum.

Arbeit Macht Frei (Work will set you free)
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Inside the museums there were some belongings of the prisoners, such as human hair, shoes, bags, the gas tanks in the gas chambers. There were many tourists and I guess everyone felt a deep sense of sadness and shocked at what the Nazi did.
It was snowing and raining, the temperature is around 3C and everyone was shivering so in a way we can feel that the weather was a big blow to the prisoners. I can’t imagine how anyone can survive in this kind of camp.

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The other camp is called Auschwitz Bickenau which has 300 baracks and is 20 times bigger. We only spent 30 minutes there since the camp is too big to walk around.
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Inside each barack cramped around 400 prisoners.
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It’s a cold and snowy day
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The weather was snowing pretty heavily in the afternoon.

Finally bought a new laptop after looking around for 2 days. I bought a Asus netbook (1200 ZL, around $400) and then realized that the operating system is in Polish.
Went to a Polish restaurant with some hostel mates.
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Tried Pierlogi, a kind of polish food that looks like pasta but it stuffed with ingredients such as meat, mushroom and cheese.
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Met up some CS people (Basia and Cassie) at a bar called Singer, in Kazimierz – the former Jewish town which now has many bars. The bar has Singer sewing machine on every table. Kazimierz is at the south part of the old town which has a history of Jewish dwellings before the Nazi came.

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Oct 13 2009

Krakow, Poland

The train in from Bratislava to Krakow has many carriages and the carriages split to different destinations at night. I asked 2 person that I am going to Krakow but they gave me the wrong information and I got on the wrong compartment. Got off at Kratowice at 4.30am in the morning and took another train to Krakow arriving at 6.30am.
I tried getting something out from my bag and noticed that it was ransacked. Looked around and noticed shit, my money (150 EUROS and 150-200 dollars), laptop, sunglasses were gone. Luc kily they didn’t take my passport and credit cards.
Went to the police station twice today but the translator wasn’t there and they don’t speak English. So they asked me to come back.
Stayed at Dizzy Daisy hostel (25 ZL, 1 USD ~ 2.8 ZL). Krakow has a population of around a million and it was the old capital of Poland. There are many universities and many young people and tourists here.
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Took a free walking tour around the city.

Dorzec Glowny (Train Station)
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Rynek Glowny
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The cloth hall (the yellow building)
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Wavel Castle
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Spent time looking around for electronics because my netbook has become a neccessity to me. Went to Media Mart (a place which sells electronics, something like Best Buy in US)
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which is at the east side of town. Electronics in Poland are slightly more expensive, I guess electronics in US is the cheapest other than Paraguay.
Then met a CS friend Ewa for coffee at night.

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