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Eastern Europe Trip Day 8


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Sorry for the long dely....been travelling (for work)


Day 8


Stary Smokovec, Slovakia to Auschwitz, Poland and back


With a layover day to do with as we wished we decided to cross the border into Poland and visit Auschwitz. Interestingly no one at the hotel seemed to know how to get there so we looked it up on the internet and set off early in the morning with a waypoint set in the GPS to guide us. The crossing was easy but I did notice a sign in the window informing us that a US driver’s license is no longer accepted in Poland and that we were required to get either a Polish or International license. However the guards never mentioned it so we decided to chance it.


P1010312.jpg (Polish border crossing)


Despite knowing nothing specific regarding the countryside for some reason both Kim and I were surprised by how beautiful it was. Rolling hills and quaint villages were everywhere.








As were numerous wonderful twisty roads….






Soon enough we arrived at our destination, which despite its horrific past looks to the casual observer like any other factory or commercial setting from the outside. That being said the location (right in town) also surprised me as I expected it to be in a more isolated outlying area. I took very few photos at the camps (we toured Auschwitz and Birkenau) as it just didn’t seem appropriate….though many folks ignored the numerous signs asking them to not take photos (especially of the more personal items), something that really angered me at first, but then I decided it may be best for the true nature of the place to be shared with all who wish to see it lest it be forgotten.


P1010313.jpg (Auschwitz)



(Auschwitz, translates to “hard work will set you free”)


P1010315.jpg (Birkenau)


P1010317.jpg (Birkenau)


After a few hours we rode back in a somber but thankful mood, crossing the border at dusk.





(evening border crossing)

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Truly beautiful scenery.


Very somber, Auschwitz, but thanks for posting about it. "Lest we forget!!!"


Awesome stuff. Keep it coming. thumbsup.gif

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Yeah, Auschwitz isn't exactly a "fun" destination, but it is indeed a very somber place to visit.


Thanks for the trip report. And Poland is indeed a beautiful place in parts.

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They must have upgraded the railway line i cant imagine

timber sleepers looking that good after nearly seventy years.

The chimneys look newer than the brick work around it so

a lot of restoration seems to be undertaken as i remember

they tried to burn it all down on leaving after the allies

broke through.


Definitely a place return train tickets were not used.


kanne ich nicht sprechen zie deutchse

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I had a chuckle at the last picture.. your flash went off !!


Nice pictures and a sad place to visit.


Hard to turn off the flash while riding...I am sure it got their attention....

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Thanks for the ride tale. I really enjoyed it.


Your visit to Auschwitz reminds me of my visit to Dachau, the concentration camp just outside Munich Germany, where there's an identical "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign that the SS posted at the entrance.


At Dachau, during the school term, there are always school groups touring through. They were attentive, and not rowdy as school groups can be. It was clear that they had been coached to appreciate the seriousness of what they were going to see. At least in the western part, German schools make an effort to educate their youth about the holocaust so that it doesn't happen again. I don't know if any other countries that have committed great atrocities do the same.


Did you see any school groups at Auschwitz?

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