Diary from Poland
Dagbok fra Polen-tur i 10. klasse.
I started my journey to Poland to day. Every one met on school at ten o’clock. We drove for some hours in the bus, before we stopped at Håby, in Sweden, for a short break. We drove some more before we stopped to eat dinner, Swedish meatballs and potatoes. It was quite yummy.
In the evening we were finally in Ystad, in Sweden. We were going to take a ferry over to Poland, but before we could get onboard we had to go trough the passport control. We had to be very quiet, because they didn’t accept any noise and nonsense in the lines. It went very well because every one was so tiered after the long trip. When we came on board, we went straight to our cabin. Marielle, Hanna and Mariam slept in my cabin (with me). Mariam wanted to sleep right away, but Hanna and Marielle had other plans. But finally they got tiered too, and we all went to bed.
I woke up at 04.45 in tis morning! Even before the alarm clock rang. I can’t believe that I did that?! I usually want to sleep at least one hour after the clock has rung. But anyway, I got up in we ate breakfast and we went ashore. On land again, we had to pass another passport control, and this time it was even more important to be quiet.
Everyone slept on the bus; you have to remember that all of us had hardly slept for four hours. We stopped at a place called the Crocodile, inside the restaurant a real crocodile lived! Our second stop was to get some food. Christian Frederik, Hanna, Marielle, Mariam and I did the impossible thing to sit down at the wrong table. So we sat for half an hour before we realized that we sat at the wrong place.
There was nothing to do at the bus and every one was very bored. So thank god, we stopped at a shopping mall. We had one hour to shop. Mariam and I ran around in the mall to see all the shops. The food store was one light year long and it was impossible to find anything there. But during one hour we had I managed to buy a puma bag and a sweater.
In the evening we arrived hotel Krakowiak. It is a one star hotel. The rooms looked okay, but it smelt funny, and the sheets were like the ones grandma has. But the bathroom was worst, it was very small, and it looked like the shower had never been cleaned. But we are only going to sleep here, so I think I’ll be okay.
I woke up with a sore throat and it hurt when I spoke. But this was the day we had come for. We visited the concentrations camps today. We visited Birkenau first. It was very unreal in the same time it laid right in front of me. It was much bigger than I thought; even most of the camp was tore down. We gathered in three groups and met a guide. The guide told us about the history of the camp first. Then we walked into the men’s part of the camp. We got to see their toilets, it was in a stable and the toilets was just holes in a long row. In the hut beside you could see their beds. It was three floors beds and they usually slept two or three people per floor. The beds in the women’s part of the camp where built into the walls. They were bigger, but they had to sleep four or five persons on each floor.
Most of the camp was torn down, the gas chamber too. But we saw the ruins after it. Beside the ruins the memorial place was. We had a one-minute peace in front of the Norwegian memorial. When we walked back along the trail way I felt my belly hurt. Back at the entry we went up in the tower and heard the information in Norwegian.
After we had ate some food we drove to Auschwitz I. We walked through the gate with the words “arbeit macht frei”. The blocks were made of bricks not wood as some of the huts in Birkenau were made of. And the blocks looked more like houses and they had several floors. All the blocks were empty, except pictures and showcases with papers from the war. In big showcases there were collected cloths, buckets, used brushes and toothbrushes, glasses, artificial limbs, suitcases, hair, and thousands of pair of shoes.
We went to see the gas chamber and the crematorium. It was not what I had pictured. It was very small and it looked like a bunker. It didn’t look like showers inside. It was like a basement with hols in the roof. It was a bit creepy to walk inside there so I hurried out.
We had a one-minute peace at the wall of death, beside Block 11, the block of death. Afterward we went inside and down in the basement of Block 11. There we saw the cell that Maximilian Kolbe died in.
I can’t describe what kind of feelings I had in the concentrations camps. I have got so many impressions. I think the most sad moment was when we drove slowly in front of Birkenau and Schindlers list’s theme were played on the speakers in the bus. And the film we saw, from the liberation, made a huge impression.
After Auschwitz we had a feature evening. We were lucky to have a man with us that had experienced a concentration camp. He told us his story and remained us that these terrible things didn’t happen so long a go and that there were concentrations camps in Norway too.
When we drove back to the hotel we stopped at a mall. I just took a quick look and went back to the bus. When I came back some sellers stood in front of the bus and tried to sell wool mittens, slippers and caps. There were some that bought from them, but they probably didn’t think it was enough so they followed us to the hotel.
Thursday 31.08.06Dear Diary
I can’t believe I made it through this day. I had a fever and a headache; it was so bad that the adults considered leaving me in bed at the hotel. But I’m glad that I didn’t.
When we came to the bus this morning, the same sellers from yesterday stood there. But we just ignored them and drove to the salt mines. I was supposed to sleep and the bus, but the travelling guide couldn’t stop blabbering. When we arrived at the mines and walked out of the bus we saw that the sellers had followed us all the way. But again we ignored them and walked straight up to the entrance of the mines. We had to stand in the rain for a long time because our guides weren’t ready yet. When they were ready we gathered in three (I think) groups. Our group was first. To get down to the mines we had to go down 800 steps in a stair. Well down we began to walk in a passage that lead to big cavities. In these cavities you could see the salt that “grew” at the walls. It was also statues made in salt and models of mineworkers in some of the cavities. I think the guide spoke about the statues and the history of the mines, but I didn’t hear what she said. She dragged the words out and it looked like se was asleep, because she closed her eyes when she spoke. The only thing I remember she said was this: “Dooon’t wooorry, it’s huuundreeed percent safe”.
The thing that made biggest impression down in the mines was the big cathedral. Every thing inside it was made of salt and it was so great and pretty. All the groups gathered together and we took a picture that we could buy afterward. We continued walking in the mines till we came to a route that we could walk by ourselves. On the route there were a cafeteria and souvenir shops. I bought a cross made of salt and the picture that we took. After twenty minutes we walked together to the lift that were bringing us up to the surface. The lift had six chambers on top of each other and each chamber had room for six persons. The chambers were very small and it was very narrowed inside the lift with six persons. When the lift was filled it increased the speed and we were up in no time.
When we walked down to the bus again we got “attacked” by sellers. Our “friends”, the sellers had brought their friends to the bus. It was hard to get in the bus because all the sellers blocked the entry. But we managed to get in and we drove to Krakow city.
We were allowed to shop all day long on our own. I walked with Mariam, Marielle and Hanna. We took an el-car from the parking lot and up to the market hall. It was many shopping street going from the market and the square. I think we went in all of them! Most of the shops were fashion stores and the prices were half of the prices in Norway. Jippi! I bought a Puma backpack, Roxy necklace, Disney flip-flops, shawl, and silver bracelet and necklaces in the marked hall.
There were many artists that performed on the street to earn money. One of them was a group of boys that breaked. You should have seen them, they were very good, and we just stood there and gaped. I got so impressed that I gave all my coins to them. When we sat down on a restaurant I had to do the talking. But I couldn’t breathe through my nose so when I asked for the bill for the drinks, it became: “Can I please have the bill for the rings right now?”.
I have to add: We took a quick look inside the saint Maria church. It was pretty big and beautiful!
It was a lot of fun shopping in Krakow even tough I had a fever. I’m so happy I had Marielle and Hanna, they looked after me and rested when I needed to. They are the best friends ever! I just want to give them thousands of hugs and the price for the best friends in the world! What would I have done without them? I love them so much!
We ate dinner at a hotel... When we were finished some Polish dancers came and danced for us. Suddenly they picked out some and started to dance with them. It was quite funny to watch;) Almost everyone had to get up and dance, hehe, but I got away;)
When our dancing evening was over we took el-cars down to the bus. Before we drove away we could go and see the dragon. We stood for years (it felt) in the rain to see the dragon blow out fire. When it at last blew out some fire it was only for a second or two… we got very disappointed and went back to the bus and drove to the hotel.
We had to get up early in the morning to start on our long trip through Poland and up to the ferry. I felt much better today, I only harked and snivelled. We stopped at the same shopping mall that we stopped at on the way down. We had two hours to do all our shopping. I bought a pair of trousers and some food. When Mariam and waited in the line to pay, in the food store, some boys came and stood behind us. They laughed out loud, so Mariam and I turned around and looked weird on them. When we turned back, one of the boys whispered something on German to Mariam. She said to me that they asked if we were from Germany. We didn’t say anything to them; we just paid our food and walked to the make-up store. When we looked at some make-up we saw the boys again in the store. But since we used so long time they left. When we walked to McDonald we ran into the boys again. When we passed them, one of them shouted out to us: “We love you!”. Mariam and I just started to giggle. But I have to admit that the blond boy was kind of cute, and he had so bright, blue, eyes.
Back at the bus we watched movies: “Lange Flate Ballær” and “Dutch Ball”. Our second stop was on a McDonald. I think that was the fourth time we ate McDonald’s food on the trip. After we finished our food we drove to the ferry. We watched “Wallace and Gromit”, but we didn’t finished before we had to go out to the passport control.
This ferry was so much better and fine than the other. We went to the disco. No one was dancing there, so we went back to our cabin. But after twenty minutes we went back up again to the disco, now everyone was dancing, so Marielle and I joined. When the clock was 00.45 it really started to get fun, but already 01.00 we had to go to bed.
Every one slept on the bus, and we had just one stop because of that. And since we just had one stop; we got home two hours before planned. This was the last day on our tripL. It feels good to be home and sleep in my own bed, but it is also sad. It has been so much fun, I was never bored on the trip (maybe accept an hour or two on the bus). We did something all the time! I have many fine memories, but also sad ones, it felt so weird to walk in the concentrations camps. But it is an experience that I will remember for a lifetime. I would have regretted a lot if I didn’t go on this tour!
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