So I got back from Eastern Europe, where I was sort of sick the entire time (my tummy does NOT travel well), on Sunday evening and then this week at work has been ridiculously busy (and of course, my stomach got even worse - with my period coming in as a bonus!). ANYWAY. I've been wanting to go through the 1000+ pics I took and thought I should start sharing them before I gave up entirely. So here we go.
We started in Warsaw.
Here's Venus (Wenus) on one of the concentric rings surrounding a statue of Copernicus, which in turn sits outside the Pałac Staszica (Staszic Palace, seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences). We walked along Nowy Świat/Krakowskie Przedmieście, apparently the route to take in Warsaw, and passed monuments and tourist sites and inexplicable things. Lots of beautiful things too. The day was grey and drizzly, but the main square was still a knockout. And then I went and took a silly fannish pic. Mr. Potato was not impressed. We ditched Warsaw early the next morning (we'd heard the sights were better elsewhere), and took an easy train into Krakow.
So, I don't know if you've heard anything about Krakow, but if you haven't, you should go! It was very beautiful, it's a great mix of cosmopolitan and folksy charm, it's extremely affordable, (nearly) everyone speaks English and likes to be helpful, and one of the most amazing sights in the world is tucked quietly away there. Anyway, enough of the hard sell. On to that wondrous place where I had pierogi twice (including potato with dill, topped with caramelized onions, mmmmmgasm - WHY can I not find dill pierogi in NYC?). We stayed at the Venetian House Aparthotel right on the main square, which was ideal, because that was where everyone gathered anyway. And wandering only a few streets in any direction was bound to get us somewhere cool. My favorite pub sign from the entire trip:
That first afternoon, we wandered, taking in the Jewish district and ending up at Oskar Schindler's factory.
(This factory is now a museum that is really well done, but there are no accommodations made for visitors - you have to be able-bodied and have to have quite a bit of stamina to get through the museum, because there are no seats, no quick exits, and a lot of shifting terrains.)
I'd been voted down about going on the Auschwitz-Birkenau tour (I didn't think I'd have the stomach for it, but my parents and my brother are keenly interested in twentieth-century history), so we went the next day. It actually was far less explicit than I had been fearing, and I did not have to stop or shut my eyes or anything like that. I'm only posting one pic from there, but have more if you're interested. (Actually, that goes for everything I'm posting today - if you want to see more pics of any particular thing, just ask and I'll do my best to oblige.) This was the main gate, where the Nazis had the prisoners make the slogan Arbeit Macht Frei ("Work Makes Us Free") above it, and the prisoners' only expression of rebellion was to put in the B upside down. (It was definitely something the prisoners took pride in - that upside-down B is in all of their artwork of the place.) That tour (our guide was very good) took up most of the day, and once we were back in Krakow, I saw two sights that summed up the beauty and horror of the day.
This same entry also appears on Dreamwidth, at http://innie-darling.dreamwidth.org/451774.html.