Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pigs Bum anyone?

After a dusty 3 hour train ride from Warsaw we arrived in Krakow. We spent most of the first day attending to business, including our lease agreement and new shoes for bec. Her 4 pound primark ballet slippers proved less of a bargain under the terrain of Polish weather. With that out of the way we explored part of the Old Market Square and started the hunt for a traditional polish dinner. After no help with directions from our hostel staff we came across a quaint lil cafe/bar style place that served a variety of Polish dishes. Bec had Perogi again, while Jarratt (the more adventurous of the pair) proudly ordered Pigs Bum. Both full we opted for an early night....

The next day fuelled on bum, Jarratt scrapped Bec out of bed to brave the mist of an early morning in Krakow. To then travel the advertised 1 and a half hours by bus out to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. An hour and a half turned into just over 2 and we arrived shortly before 11am, just in time for the English documentry film and tour. Auschwitz, and Birkenau for that matter, are places that need to be seen to believe. Words can not describe the emotion and heart ache you feel standing in a place that took over a million lives. We had both been to concentration camps before but agreed that neither was as harrowing or as moving as Auschwitz-Birkenau. After we had finished our 4 hour tour of the area we headed back to Krakow this time it took just over 3 hours... and while Poland's public transport system is claimed to be the cheapest, it sure isnt the fastest!! More Polish food was eaten for dinner and washed down with a cold beer... or two ;)

Saturday saw us adventuring through the Jewish Quarter where we saw remains of the Ghetto Walls, a memorial to lost lives and various synagogues. We visited Wawel Hill, which includes Krakow Castel, Cathedral and a dragons den. After a polish kebab-y lunch we explored the Old Town and surrounding areas. We were also lucky enough to catch a brief peak at a wedding at the Gothic Church of St Marys. We ended the day with a lavish meal, where much to Bec's shock Jarratt ordered wine for two!!!!

On Sunday we decided on a sleep in before heading out to the Wieliczka salt mines. We slept in til 9am, had breakfast and headed to the train station to catch our 10:10 train to the mines. On the walk up we noticed that the hostel clock was wrong, the clock tower ...wrong, the town hall clock... wrong.... the train station clock.... wrong?! Unbeknown to us, daylight savings had just ended and we were an hour early for our train. Bec, amused once we figured it all out, was also upset that she could have snuck in another hour of sleep! The salt mines were good, but nothing to write home about.... so we wont! Haha!

We ended our time in Krakow with a late polish lunch which included (beet)Root Soup and Pork/Cabbage Wrap for Jarratt and a schab pieczony (roast loin of pork seasoned with herbs) for Bec. Afterwards we zipped out to the Airport on the express train and we boarded our plane around 7pm.
The end :)

CD J on the Train.

Between the electric fences at Auschwitz Concentration Camp

Birkenau Concentration Camp

Looking through the fence to the Barracks at Birkenau

Bec on the streets of the Old Market "Polish Style"

Bec hearts the Krakow Dragon!

Jarratt at the Krakow Cathedral on Wawell Hill

The Old Market Square
(St Marys Gothic Church is in the background)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wodkas all round!

Wow, if Poland's Autumn is anything to judge London's Winter by, aren't we in for a royal old shock!!!

We arrived late Tuesday into Warsaw airport and began our trip with the easy task of getting a taxi. However, finding an actually taxi proved to be harder than expected. Firstly, we weren't sure where to stand, or what to say and mafia-looking men in long jackets kept asking us (in thick polish accents) to get in their car. In the end Jarratt flagged down the most docile looking driver to take us to our hostel.

We rose early the next morning, much to the dismay of Bec, who still fails to understand why on a HOLIDAY Jarratt feels the need to get up before dawn!!! Dawn may or may not actually translate to roughly 7:30am. However, rugged up and ready to battle the conditions we headed out. Firstly along the Royal Way, or to the polish "Krakowski Przedmiescie" (try pronouncing that after a few drinks lost on a Wednesday morning at 5am drunk!.... not that, that ever actually happened) On our walk we passed by the Church of the Holy Cross the place that houses Chopin's Heart; Radziwill Palace and ended at The Monument to Sigismund III Vasa just outside the Old Town.

Once in the Old Town many a photo were taken, as Bec fell in love with all the "cute, colourful" houses. We took a tour of the Royal Castle and were quickly bored by one throne room after another, that remarkably looked just the same as the last three. Regardless, we pushed on as Bec was keen to see the Rembrandts. So keen that when she finally reached them she set off the alarm for getting too close. To avoid being escorted by the heavily armed guards that appeared at the sound of the alarm we decided to make a quick exit. Once outside the Castle we headed to the Market Square where we visited the Warsaw Historical Muesum. At the muesum we saw a film documenting the invasion of Poland by the Nazi's and read some pretty horrific stories about the treatment of children during the invasion. Afterwards we explored the old town walls and headed to the Palace of Culture and Science, a gift to Poland from Stalin, with amazing views from the top. Almost exhausted we headed to Chopin's museum, where Bec played tour guide and read 8 pages of A4 notes that we were given at the entrance to explain the exhibition. We ended the day with a night out drinking and eating, polish style!!! Perogi, beer and wodka - a fun time was had by all!!!

The next morning we took a dusty train ride out to Krakow..... which we will enlighten you all about in the next post! In the meantime... here are some happy snaps! SAY CHEESE!!!

Us in the Old Town

Market Square

Church of the Holy Cross (where Chopin's Heart is)

Artists in Market Square

Out on the Town.... Wodka anyone?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I'm in London still....

Well for you commited readers you'll know its been over two weeks since our last post, terribly sorry to all those who have been hanging out for a 'fix' of the Bec and J goodness. Truth be told we've been super busy and well, dave and bec are more exciting than sitting in front of the computer posting on our blog. That or we've lost a week to boozing... hahaha.

Our meet and greet time is off and racing, with more dinners and 'catch-ups' than you can poke a stick at. We now both have favourite pubs and eateries, so the important stuff is covered. And we have that many dream trips in the pipeline we can't choose one from the other. BUT, christmas is now booked, 10ish days living up in the Balitics and Finland. Through no fault of my own, lithuania has been booted.... Ask J about visas and mishaps are bound to follow. But we are sorted now and everyone (including the blue eagel and young sparrow) are on board for the Christmas Festivities!!!

The last weekend has been spent keeping Bluey and Bec alive, awake and not regretting their decision about the move to London. The weather at the moment is enough to put anyone off.... its like 7 degrees in the morning!!!!!!! For an Australian thats just stupid! So we've been taking them out to the sanctuary of warming places... mainly pubs like the walkabout and camden head. As well as a catch up at the Royal National Pub last night to farewell Stevie B, aka Guns....for reasons that will not be mentioned. But seriously, who wears a snap button shirt out for a drinking night on contiki.... honestly! Tonight we're heading into Leicester Square to watch the Vegemite Tales, a 'friends'-like comedy about Australians in London, should be good fun.... will let you know in the next post.

But with holidays around the corner we're looking forward to some MUCH deserved time off to sleep and ... maybe, just maybe, visit portugal... if we can get our bottoms into line!!!

But enough about us... what are you up to?
xoxoxo, Us.