Tom and I took a tour to Auschwitz.  The boys didn’t come with us.  We deliberated much about whether or not we should bring them.  We did a lot of research.  The museum recommends that children under the age of fourteen don’t visit the museum.

To help us make our decision we watched Schindler’s List with them.  We asked the boys if they wanted to go to Auschwitz after they watched the movie.  They didn’t.  The boys thought it would be too sad.  Good for them for knowing their limitations. In hindsight, I think the boys would have been okay visiting Auschwitz though Jaxon would likely be bored.  After all, he is only 8. 

DSC 8490

Even though I was well prepared for what I was going to see, the concentration camp is still a chilling place to visit.  Just thinking about what happened there brings tears to your eyes. 

DSC 8492DSC 8494

They have put exhibits into the buildings that used to be barracks for the prisoners.  The exhibits display the property that was taken from Jews and the other prisoners.  There were rooms full of shoes, glasses, pots, combs, and artificial limbs. Other barracks were used to display the sanitary conditions of the buildings.  I have put a few photos here.  See the many more photos under the photos section.

The hardest things to see were the room full of hair, the standing cells and the crematorium.  We have no photos of these exhibits.  It is not allowed to take photos of the first two and it just felt wrong and disrespectful to take photos in the crematorium where thousands of people were murdered.  One of the more eerie sights at Auschwitz was what looked like scratches on the walls inside the crematorium.

After visiting Auschwitz, we went to Auschwitz-Birkenau.  This site is larger than Auschwitz.  Here is a video showing how large it is.

This browser cannot play the embedded video file.

DSC 8602

The Nazis attempted to destroy much of the camp and transported many of the prisoners to Germany prior to the camp being liberated by the Soviets.  There are still buildings standing and we went inside a couple of them.  The bunks were three high and there were five to six people on each bunk. 


This is one of the train cars that would have been used to transport people to the concentration camp.

This is one of the places on my bucket list.  The emotions one feels while visiting here is very personal.  The sadness and tragedy is one I will always remember.

Weiliczka Salt Mine

Since we need to do things as cheaply as possible, we took the public bus to the Weiliczka Salt Mine.  It took us a little bit to find the bus stop since the street where we were suppose to catch the bus was under construction and the bus stop had been moved.  Tom saw a bus route map at another stop and we knew the general direction that we needed to go.  Once we got to the street where the bus ran, we asked for some help and we were on our way.

DSC 8222

DSC 8234

The Weiliczka Salt Mine was more amazing that I had imagined.  It is massive with tourists only able to explore about 1% of the entire mine.  There are nine levels but tourists can only go to three levels.  The miners excavated all the tunnels and open areas.  It looks like you are walking through caves but that is not the case.  It was all solid salt rock before the underground area became a mine.  The mine used horses to work in the mine.  Some of these horses never saw the light of day.  

DSC_8286DSC 8273

The St. Kinga Chapel is outstanding.  I had read about how wonderful it is but you can’t even put it into words how amazing it is.  The photos don’t do it justice either.  There were just three men that carved out the entire chapel along with all the statues.  These men completed this work from 1886 to 1965. 

These stunning chandeliers are made from salt crystals.  Except for the lightbulbs of course which were originally candles.

IMG 0157

General stuff about Poland

Best things about Poland

  • The food
  • The perogies
  • Hawaiian pizza with bananas
  • Weiliczka Salt Mine
  • Did we mention the food??


Funniest Thing about Poland

Almost every time we asked a Polish person if they spoke English, the response was “A leettle beet”. 


What is most different in Krakow compared to Canadian cites?

  • Almost everyone in Krakow is Caucasian
  • Nuns can be seen everywhere

© VanKosh Family 2015