Poland

Gdansk

The only bad thing about Gdansk is the train ride there.  A slow ride on a dirty train full of shady folk is exactly what to expect.  I remember some guy standing right outside our cabin (next to the no-smoking sign) smoking really smelly cigs the entire way from Warsaw to Gdansk, and the bathroom toilets were plugged and stunk like they hadn’t been cleaned in weeks.  It was a pretty sick ride, I was happy to get off that train.

The city itself is awesome, one of those places that’s so old you lose sense of what age you’re living in.  Old streets, old vehicles, old buildings, old churches, old boats, everything’s just…. old – but in that charming kind of way.  It’s quite the tourist stop nowadays, and ironic that you can find an internet cafe just about anywhere, with the fastest internet you’ve ever used in a city that’s 1000 years old and been completely demolished, twice.  In the middle of the touristy city center there’s a massive crane that used to be the biggest in the world which is pretty cool.  One guys’ blog referred to it as something that’s just so out of place, even in an ancient city like Gdansk, you can’t help but to look up and stare at the thing scratching your head. We took a boat ride through the shipyards out to the coast and passed by a WWII war monument marking the site where 182 Polish soldiers held out for 7 days defending against the invading German army.  I regret not seeing it on foot, you can read more about it here, it’s a pretty amazing story.

Auschwitz

Auschwitz is the most bone chilling place I’ve ever been.   Hundreds of thousands of prisoners killed by gas chambers, starvation, forced labor, disease, executions, medical experiments.  The entire camp is open to explore, each of the main barracks has something on display, like documents or prisoners personal belongings.

Warsaw

* coming soon *

Krakow

* coming soon *

Tip 1

If you’re waiting for a bus, stick your arm up when it comes or it’ll fly right by.  It’s not like here where the busses stop regardless.  If they don’t see someone indicating they want on, they won’t stop.

Tip 2

The transit authorities are clever.  They’ll sit next to you and watch your pass expire then give you a ticket 2 seconds later or watch for tourists hitching a ride without a validated pass.  I got busted again, as usual.

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