On a lovely sunny day we walked under the Arbeit Macht Frei sign (not the original as it was stolen) into wide, clean streets full of two storey brick buildings at Auschwitz I. Walking further in the area we saw streets full of one storey buidings that resembled warehouses. There was a uniformity and tidiness about these brick buildings that, if you didn’t know the history, could give the impression of a rather pleasant place. We began our visit early in the day, so […]

Krakow (Part 2)

Legend has it that Krakow was founded on the defeat of a virgin-eating dragon! A statue of this dragon is to be found betwen the Vistula River and Wawel Castle and if you’re lucky, you’ll see it breathe fire. The legend goes that as well as eating cows, the dragon found virgin girls particularly tasty. Given the King had a daughter who could very well be the dragon’s next victim, he offered the daughter’s hand in marriage and half his kingdom to anyone who […]

Warsaw, Poland

Old Town Square

Warsaw was the first European destination of our trip. It was a city with a great mix of architectural styles and interesting history. 85% of the city was destroyed during WW2 so most of what we saw was built after 1945. We stayed in a soviet style Air B & B apartment with a nice couple who were away most of the time we were there. The place was quite funky and had a huge balcony with great views of the city. In between the […]

Jewish Prague

We wandered around the Jewish Quarter (Josefov), between the Old Town Square and the Vltava River in Prague. Jews have lived in Prague since 970AD but were persecuted in the 11th and 12th centuries, many fleeing to this area by the river, seeking safety in numbers. In the 13th century Jews were ordered to leave their own homes around the city and all live in this area. Over the centuries Jews were banned from living elsewhere in Prague and Jews expelled from other areas […]