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August 13th 2013
Published: August 14th 2013
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Taking it all in during our horse and carriage ride through the Old Town.
We began the day with a walk down to the Old Town historical district in the heart of Krakow. It is a medieval city ( hence the dragon) established in 1257. UNESCO has entered the whole of Krakow's Old Town on the World Cultural Heritage List. It is very beautiful and you definitely feel like you have been transported back into the Middle Ages. The Grand Square is a hive of activity and is the hub of the Old Town. It is surrounded by historical buildings including the Town Hall Tower, St Mary's Basilica and Renaissance Hall. We did the tourist thing and took a horse and carriage ride around the perimeter of the Old Town. Beautiful horses clopping on the cobble stone streets. There is much work being done in the Old Town. We have discovered that as a result of World War II and years of neglect under Soviet rule much of Poland is in disrepair. The restoration of Poland to its pre World War II beauty will be a long slow process. The economy is weak (but improving) so there is little money to carry out the much needed work but there is evidence every where that genuine
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Old Town
attempts are being made to get the work done.

At 2.30pm we were picked up for a private guided tour of Auschwitz - Birkenau. It takes just on an hour to get to Auschwitz from Krakow and during the journey we were shown a documentary of the two camps to provide us with some history and I think 'prepare' us in some small way for what we would see. Our guide was a solemn young Polish man who clearly took his responsibility as a guide of the camps very, very seriously. We were told we could take photographs but decided that it would be inappropriate and disrespectful to do so. So with the exception of the infamous 'Arbeit Macht Frei' gate that stands at the entrance to Auschwitz we took no photos. There are no words to describe the impact that this experience had on us so I will not even try. Nor will I attempt to relay what we saw and learnt about the camps. It is something you have to experience yourself.


Additional photos below
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Old Town
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The Grand Square
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Arbeit Macht Frei


25th August 2013
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Hi Henny, the photo of just the gates was enough for me. :( Take care. Rose xxx

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