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28 Sept – Krakow

We woke a little more spirited and with hopes of still making it to Auschwitz. We headed back to the police station and played charades with about 4 different offices before we got one that spoke enough to realise why we were there. We sat and waited maybe 10 minutes before a lady came in had a conversation with the guys on duty then turned to us and said “you are here for 10am interpreter ?” oh yeah, g_d love him he had actually made an appointment with a real live interpreter – yay. After some haggling over whether they could actually do the report or if a another station had too, they finally agreed (or realised it was way easier) to do it there, so we went upstairs and an hour later we had our report.

From the station we headed back to two of the shops that were in the ball game in regards to price and camera models and then made our decision.

With camera, card, bag and batteries in hand we high tailed it back to the bus station, to haggle over whether we could use yesterday’s tickets today. After being directed to the “boss” and a broken polish/English/sign language conversation which mainly revolved around our police report. Having worked out what happened they exchanged our ticket and we were away :-).

The bus was a little interesting, now Poland is not exactly up there with technology but they aren’t back in the horse cart era, yet this bus driver wad driving this bus like an old double clutch actor and not doing so well at either. It also appeared that rather than being the bus to Auschwitz it was the local bus service that made a few extra dollars by going via the Auschwitz gate, because instead of the advertised 90 mins it took more than 2hrs!

We arrived at Auschwitz and due to the time headed over to Birkenau first. Birkenau still has many buildings standing as well as just ruins, it also has ruins of two gas chambers that even semi demolished are indescribable reminders of the atrocities that occurred there. Walking amongst the buildings and ruins and following that train track down to the selection ramp was something somewhat more than eerie.

We headed back to Auschwitz where we wandered through the ‘living’ quarters, many of which are now museums about all different aspects of the camp and of the people. We also walked through the original gas chamber. You can’t really explain what its like to be in places like these because the sense of loss and sadness is just to much to fathom.

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