At the end of June we did a 4 night city break to Krakow. We flew from East Midlands airport on Ryan Air, now this was my very first flight with Ryan Air and the only thing that kept going through my head all through the booking process and flight was the song "Flights for 50p" by facinatingada, if you don't know what I am referring to then do a youtube search for "Flights for 50p" and watch this hilarious parody of Ryan Air.

Anyway all in all the flight was uneventful and I was pleasantly surprised, I know Ryan Air get a lot of stick but if the flights are all like the one we did then I would be more than happy to use them again in the future.

We stayed at Andels hotel which is just a short walk from the main square, we have stayed here previously and love the modern contemporary style of this hotel and the friendliness of the staff. We used their airport transfers which were cheaper than the taxis.

This is our second visit to Krakow, the first time we didn't do any tours, just spent our time around the old town, drinking, eating and watching the world go by.

This time we decided to do some tours, we did a horse and cart tour of old town, a golf buggy tour of old town, Jewish quarter and schindlers factory. We also did a full day semi guided tour to Auschwitz and the Salt mines.


























































































Over in the Ghetto there is a very poignant monument made up of 70 over sized bronze chairs. The monument symbolises the persecution of the Jews in Krakow who were ordered in to the Ghetto. The chairs represent the furniture that the Germans threw out of the windows in the liquidation of the Ghetto in 1943, where Jews fit for work were deported to labour camps and those unfit were killed in the streets. The chairs face in different directions symbolising the deportation routes from the Ghetto.



I was in two minds as to whether I wanted to take photos of Auschwitz, I always feel uneasy taking photos of places where atrocities have happened. We went to ground zero in New York a couple of years ago and I couldn't bring myself to use my camera. However it is encouraged that you take pictures of Auschwitz so that people don't forget what happened here.

If you haven't studied Auschwitz in any detail then like me you may not realise that Auschwitz is made up of 3 main camps.

Auschwitz 1 was a Polish Army Baracks that the Germans took over and converted it into a concentration/death camp.

Auschwitz 2 (Birkenau) was a purpose built concentration/death camp. It was 10 times the size of Auschwitz 1

Auschwitz 3 (Monowitz) a smaller sub-camp built to house prisoners as slave labour for the Buna Werke industrial complex.

There were quite a few areas that I still couldn't bring myself to photograph, so I post some of the photos I did manage to take during the tour.










































Moving from Auschwitz 1 to the large Auschwitz 2, the first thing that strikes you is the entrance. This is where the trains carrying the Jewsand others came through. The only thing waiting on the other side of the entrance was torment and death for the prisoners.

Auschwitz 2 (Birkenhau) was designed by the Germans for one purpose and that was to eradicate the Jews on an industrial scale.


















Remains of one of the Gas chambers situated right at the end of the train line.

The Germans destroyed the chamber at the end of the war to try and hide the evidence of what happened here.






One of the huts that housed hundreds of prisoners.



Inside the huts the prisoners slept in these small uncomfortable beds, there were several prisoners to each of the beds,






Most of the huts were destroyed by the Nazis at the end of the war to hide the evidence.









After an emotional tour of Auschwitz camps our tour guide took us to Wieliczka Salt Mine.

The Salt Mine is one of the most valuable cultural monuments in Poland, visited each year by over a million tourists from around the world. It is also a world class historical monument and as such is inscribed in UNESCOs First World list of cultural and natural heritage.

When you enter the mine you have a very long walk down hundreds of wooden steps to the bottom of the mine, some 130 meters straight down. Luckily there is a lift back to the surface.



The pictures don't really do the mine justice as they don't give a true sense of scale. The mine is massive, the tour only covers 1% of the actual mine but it still takes a couple of hours to se what is in that 1%.

The main attraction of the salt mine is all of the intricate carvings that the miners have created in the mine. In their spare time the miners carved out of the Salt Rock, many statues and carvings depicting battles and religious scenes. There are full churches and a cathedral carved out of the rock.
























One of the many chandeliers created from Salt Crystals




















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