Archivo de la categoría: Polonia

[Polonia] Auschwitz, la fábrica de la muerte

Este es sin duda el post más triste de todos los que hemos escrito hasta el momento. Nuestra visita a los campos de concentración de Auschwitz-Birkenau, y es que no fue un sólo campo sino varios. Toda una zona declarada de interés militar al inicio de la segunda guerra mundial y que paulatinamente se fue convirtiendo en la fábrica de la muerte.

Con la intención de trasladaros la experiencia con el mayor detalle y realismo posible, hemos decidido que podáis ir leyendo la historia a través de las fotos. Por ello os sugerimos que pinchéis en la primera de ella y vayáis una a una leyendo y adentrándoos en este horroroso capítulo de la historia, ocurrido hace apenas 70 años.

No ha sido fácil escribirlo, pero esperamos que el esfuerzo haya valido la pena y que podáis experimentar ligeramente lo que sentimos en nuestro día en el campo de concentración.

Un fuerte abrazo!

[Poland] Krakow: Poland’s heart

Our next move was Krakow. A four-hour wonderful trip was waiting for us. Maciej took his car and drove along the one line per direction but in good state national road, surrounded by green and yellow landscapes. We had great conversations about how common and different  Spain and Poland were. We touched some political issues and discussed about how the governments deal with them, but when we explained some facts that are happening right now in Spain, they could not believe it. And then Asia asked «Can we do anything about it or help you somehow?». It was a simple question, but I have to say that it touched my heart. Never ever a non-Spanish person after talking about these kind of problems had asked such a simple but (at least to me) meaningful question. They really care about us, they really wanted us to have a better country. This moment will remain inside me for ever!

And after a short stop in the middle of nowhere to have an extraordinary dinner, there were we…in Krakow! The city of Polish kings and bishops, the center of culture and art, a university center and a magic place. The city that was called Altera Roma or Florence of the North.

Contrary to Warsaw, Krakow had remained through the wars and you could see the history talking directly to you: the Wawel Castle, fortresses, churches, basilicas, streets that had risen some meters (literally) leaving some once-ground-floor establishments underground, the old and new Jewish quarters,… –

Staying in Asia and Maciej house we discovered step by step the beauties of the city. First night walking around the historical center and grabbing some beers in an underground pub. The day after Maciej took a day off (thanks man!) and was our private tourist guide. During the morning we visited the historical center and found a free tour that would show us the Jewish Quarter in Spanish during the afternoon. In this case the roles switched and I explained Maciej some of the stories that happened in Krakow :p though surprisingly he could get most of what the guide said, even he presented himself in perfect Spanish!

This three hours were the toughest of our days in Krakow. To listen how the Jewish community was progressively dehumanised seemed to be a nightmare from another country, not just seventy years ago… When the nazis conquered Krakow, the first day they gave sweets in the square, but after that they were progressively removing rights, day after day. First identifying them publicly, then restricting work permits, banning their entrance in shops and public places, obliging them to move to the other side of the Vistula river, enclosing them with grave-shaped wall and then… extermination camps. We will talk about it in the next post: Auswitch.

As Maciej said wisely, Poland is a country that you should visit at least twice: the first one to know, understand and assimilate the history and the second one to immerse yourself in the current Polish life. So,… we’ll be back! We have a deal 😉

See you soon guys, it was great to share with you these days! Huge hugs and thank you!

[Poland] Warsow, WWII and the Uprising

We woke up in Mykonos, took a plane to Athens and then another one to… Poland. Our plane landed smoothly in Warsaw, we picked up our backpacks and here they were: Asia and Maciej holding a lovely poster with our names! Smiling, happy, full of joy and energy, as they have always been, even after having had a 4 hours trip from Krakow to be on time to pick us up! Thank you guys, you are the best ;D

In fact, we had no idea about what we were going to do during our week in Poland, as Maciej had said: «No worries, just rely on us»… and so we did. We jumped into their car and went to Pawel and Joanna house. That was already a great start! We were going to spend with them the whole weekend, cooool!

It was curious. All of us were supposed to be really tired after such a short night, but we were plenty of energy instead! So we went to do a walk around Warsaw center while we started learning about the history of Poland, and specifically of Warsaw. A city that was completely destroyed during the WWII, and then rebuilt from scratch reusing the materials of the former buildings. A new city inspired in the old one, with almost no historical buildings, nor walls that can «tell you» what happened during those times.

That afternoon we had decided to go to experience new Pawel’s hobby: shooting! As soon as you arrive, you feel strange. Some dry and profound sounds are coming from the shots of the next room. Despite having shot during my year in the Air Force, I felt like a complete newbie and my hands were sweating. But with Pawel’s smile and Asia and Maciej assuring that everything was going to be all right and which were the important things to take into account, we started the shooting session. First Maciej and I shot with a rifle, you didn’t feel almost any backward movement from the weapon. Fast shots, one after the other. In the meanwhile, Asia and Mónica tried with a light gun. At the beginning Monica was scared, but after a few shots she became confident and adrenaline run through her veins. Very good accuracy to be her first time ever. (Video Mónica) We finished with some shots with a Glock. The self-balanced gun used by dozens of police departments around the world… and it was another story! (Video Juny) After such a formidable afternoon we had dinner in a really charming and delicious restaurant close to lake.  A perfect first day in Poland!

The day after we decided to go to the Uprising Museum in Warsow. It was raining, and for the first time in our trip we could take advantage of having carried raincoats with us, yeah! Half an hour of queue under the rain, chatting, laughing, and having good time. Though once we went inside, things became serious. I started to realize how tough the history of Poland has been, overall during the last century: WWII, invasion, cruelty, resistance, pride, honor, W hour, Uprising, fight,… these are the terms that come to my mind when I think of Warsaw.

Pizza at 50% discount (as it was weekend and eeeeveryone leaves the capital) and end of the day going up to the tallest building of Poland: the Palace of Culture and Science, including an marvellous sunset view.  Lucky guys!

Our last day in Warsaw started with an excellent brunch at home, and followed by a visit to the few remaining walls of the ghetto in Warsaw. When you are on site, you feel embraced by the history, you are there, in the same place but in different times. I was a very bad student regarding History, and now I feel kind of ashamed because of my lack of «general culture». Though on the contrary I am surprised of how interested I am becoming when I am present, surrounded by people that explain you plainly how things developed. And this is the way I’m understanding step by step our recent (and surprisingly inhuman) history.

Pawel, Joanna, Asia, Maciej: thank you so much for those days, for your time, your explanations, living with you, learning from you, enjoying every single moment! Next post: Krakow!

And now, finally… the photos!