Day 16 - Auschwitz

I made a few Skype calls in the morning and then got ready. We had to change hostels which was only a 100m walk. Before we left Nerrille was talking to some Dutch guys in the kitchen, Sebastian and Joost (Yerst). They were going to Auschwitz so I tagged along with them. They were really nice guys and I taught Sebastian a bit more about Australian culture/history, more to do with the treatment of Aboriginals. We got a private bus (9zl) to Auschwitz and it turns out that Sebastian has a very keen interest in the holocaust so he gave me more info as we went around. Individuals need to go on a group tour that runs hourly, which was good but a little quick through Auschwitz I (still went for 2 hours though). After that it's a bus to Birkenau 3km away.

It's not a nice place to visit, and I went there to try and understand the scale of what happened there. I guess now I understand more about the mechanics of how things happened and learnt a bit more of the Polish way of thinking of what happened. But I still have no concept of why they killed 1,300,000 people there. Also I still have no idea of what a full camp would look like, and maybe it's better that I don't. Some horrific stuff happened there.

Walking through the 'barracks' where the prisoners lived however was enough to make you realise the conditions they had to put up with. There were the little things that made it real like the stencilled signs in the barracks saying 'be quiet' in worse wording in German, finger scrape marks in the walls of the gas chambers etc. Not pleasant. You definitely get a dark feeling being in the barracks, chills up the spine a few times.

The tour guides ask you not to take photos inside buildings as they are like graves, although some people were taking them. I wasn't that keen on taking photos inside so I didn't.

We got back to Krakow about 7:30ish and I met Nerrille at the hostel and we made our way out for dinner. We had a few wodkas afterwards and got some more Polish customer service. We waited ages for the guy to come over so we could get another drink, he looked at us a few times, I caught his eye and he still didn't catch on. So I went to the bar myself and he looked at me, so I ignored him. He asked me what I wanted so I gave him the order, loud enough for the barman to hear. My beer was first and the waiter grabbed it, I walked back to the table and the waiter walked behind me carrying my beer and put it on the table while I sat down. Weird. Then we waited about 10 minutes for a vodka shot to be poured and delivered. I paid at the bar for the same reason as before, with no chance of a tip for the waiter.

Just started to feel a little sick too, not alcohol related.