Monday, April 28, 2014

 IVF Czech
April 22

 We drove to our hotel in Krakow after visiting the Wieliczka Salt Mine.  It was around 7pm so we decided to stay in and eat at the nice restaurant at the hotel.  The next morning we knew we didn’t have a lot of time to see Krakow and go to Auschwitz too, so we headed into the city and found a parking spot.  I recommend always making sure you have change for the parking meters over here.  Trust me, no one will make it for you!   
Town Hall Tower where men sentenced to death were detained

Wawel Royal Castle
   After wandering, to find the famous town square, we finally met a nice street vendor that showed us the way on a map in one of the books that she sold.  Just to be safe, and to thank her for her kindness, I bought the book, which definitely helped us out later on. She sent us two streets down to the famous Kanonicza Street, which leads into the main square.   Kanonicza Street is the famous route royalty took to the Wawel Castle in the old times.  The houses date back to the 14th century.  Pope John Paul II, who is beloved in Poland, lived on this street when he was cardinal.  

Kanonicza Street

The house where Pope John Paull II lived when he was a cardinal in Krakow. Can you see his picture in the window?

 While walking, we had seen horse drawn carriages, and since we were short on time I figured that it might be a good way to see the sights of the city.  Our guide on the carriage ride, Joanna, spoke excellent English and did a good job explaining everything.  I am a horse person so I apologize for multiple horse pictures!   For my horse friends, these are Silesian horses native to Poland. 

Our horse drawn carriage

Horse drawn carriage in the town center

Horse drawn carriage in front of the Royal Castle
  We arrived back at the square around lunch time and Joanna said that all of the restaurants were good so we picked one called Szara and had a wonderful lunch.  Everything was good except the asparagus soup that John ordered.  He was not a fan at all!  I had mushroom soup that was delicious, and we both had roasted rabbit and vegetables.  The rabbit tasted like chicken and was also wonderful! 
John eating Asparagus soup
  In the center of the square is the Cloth-Hall which dates back to the Renaissance.  It was a market for spices, leather, cloth, wax and salt from the Wieliczka Mine.  Today there is a museum on top floor while the bottom floor consists of tourist shops that sell local crafts and souvenirs. 

Cloth Hall

The center of the Cloth Hall with various vendors
  We shopped a little and then meandered back to our car for the hour drive to Oswiecim where the Auschwitz Concentration camp is. There are tours that are guided, but unfortunately we missed the last one so we wandered around on our own.  The museum is free and is open to individuals after 3:30 pm.  It was raining and dreary out, which I guess is fitting considering the circumstances.  I don’t have much to say other than it was a very humbling experience.  To think that there are or have been people out there that can commit such atrocities to millions of innocent human beings is despicable.  To walk in the place where it happened is another story.  I only took pictures of the outside as taking photos of the inside felt too personal and exposed.    There are areas where no photography is allowed out of respect to the victims and their families, but that didn’t stop some from taking photos anyway.  We didn’t stay long, just enough time to see the major areas and displays.  

Guard gate from the inside of Auschwitz.  Sorry I couldn't find my picture from the other side.

Barbed wire fence outside the main gate.

Just a few of the many many buildings

This is the entrance to the courtyard where the execution wall was located

 We have our next appointment tomorrow.  We will find out how many eggs I have and when the retrieval will be.  Stay tuned.

More to come...

Kelly and John

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