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 on: 24 April 2018, 12:57:54 
Started by hangchoi - Last post by hangchoi
After you passed the security check. You will find the book store to buy your guide book. Then you will see the camp and feel the atmosphere. My wife felt a bit scary already as the ambient really so solemn that made you uncomfortable. You cannot find many smiley faces during the whole visit.

Then you will see the main entrance of the camp at the right hand side. The iron gate with the words, meaning Work Brings Freedom. From the third picture you can see there was a guided tour group ahead of us.

 on: 24 April 2018, 12:52:28 
Started by hangchoi - Last post by hangchoi
The next day was the main theme of this trip. We went to Auschwitz concentration camp. Most tourists went to Auschwitz from Krakow because this was rather close to Auschwitz and convenient in traffic. From Krakow you can to there by train or by bus. If you go by train, you may need to walk 2-3km to Auschwitz so most people will go by bus.

Second point that you should know is that when you visit Auschwitz, you may choose to follow their guided tour or you may choose to visit by yourself. The entrance is free of charge but you have to pay if you join a guided tour. The guided tour is about 2 hours, I think, which different languages. You can go to their booking office to register if you want, or you may do it in advance via online booking. If you choose to visit on your own, it is strongly recommended that you made your reservation online because the quota for individual visitors is very limited. In addition, you are not allowed to visit alone after 9:00am till sometime around 16:00pm, and you have to join group tour after March.

Therefore, it explained why I picked Poland as my first stop to visit, not the other way round, so that I arrived at Auschwitz in March and I can visit alone. I booked my visit time at 8:00am, which meant that I had to catch a bus to Auschwitz at 6:00am.

Personally, I do not think a tour guide is necessary as most of the information were shown on the explanation notes attached to the exhibits. Besides, you may use the money for guided tour to buy a guide book which gives more details.

There were a lot of people visiting there. We arrived at the site at 7:40am and there were already a crowd on the queue. As we made our reservation online, we needed not to queue and can go straight into the camp by showing our pass printed at HK during reservation.

Another interesting point is that you are only allowed to bring a small bag into the camp. All other backpack, handbags, etc had to be left at locker room. This is because long time ago there was a group of student who stole something from the camp........I don't know what is so valuable to steal......

 on: 24 April 2018, 12:36:47 
Started by hangchoi - Last post by hangchoi
We took an evening train to Krakow. In this trip we planned most of our transportation in the evening or even overnight. This is because Poland splits their museum/ tourist spots visiting hour into two seasons. Most of the spots will be closed at about 4:00pm in winter time (up to April). So if you want to visit Poland during April to October, the museums will be closed at 5:00 to 6:00pm, a few hours more.

We took about 2 hours or so on train to Krakow and arrived there at about 10:00pm. Then we checked in a hotel just inside the old city, a bit far from the train station but I liked the decoration of the hotel.

 on: 24 April 2018, 12:31:39 
Started by hangchoi - Last post by hangchoi
Before we left Warsaw, we still had some time to visit the Warsaw 1944 museum, a museum recorded the Warsaw Uprising movement and told us how Red Army sold them out. After that we passed by the Jewish Ghetto.

During the WW2, Warsaw had the greatest Jewish Ghetto and most of them finally ended up their life in concentration camp. The Ghetto is now a public housing area with some walls marking the area of the Ghetto at that time. Some monument there too. I saw some tourists kept walking to that wall to pay their tribute to.

In WW2, Hitler ordered to bomb the whole Warsaw into ruin, so indeed almost 90% of the city was rebuilt, even those palaces and museums. Therefore, it seems that we were not looking at some antique stuff but having a history lesson on how tragic this city once was.

 on: 24 April 2018, 12:24:07 
Started by hangchoi - Last post by hangchoi
After our lunch, we went to Holy Cross Church. We cannot visit yesterday due to the opening hour. There is one thing that we want to see. The Chopin's heart.

Chopin's heart really meant the heart of Chopin. After his death, Chopin's body was buried somewhere in Paris (or France?) but his last will was that he wanted to have at least part of him rested in Warsaw. Therefore, his executor moved his heart and put it into this church. So the corpse of Chopin was divided.

The church is clean and solemn and luckily not many tourists.

 on: 24 April 2018, 12:18:57 
Started by hangchoi - Last post by hangchoi
Lunch time now. One of the Warsaw famous cuisine is dumpling. Surprised? Yes, we did. We went into a very old dumpling restaurant and had dumplings. Taste was good but not excellent. The excellent thing is the drink. We studied the cepage of the drink and wanted to make it in HK........

 on: 24 April 2018, 12:16:04 
Started by hangchoi - Last post by hangchoi
The Royal Castle was the actual castle that the king lived at 16 century. The oldest modern constitution was drafted here. It is now a national museum.

 on: 24 April 2018, 12:12:34 
Started by hangchoi - Last post by hangchoi
We passed by the Museum of Maria Skłodowska-Curie, the lady who invented the X-ray? Then we walked into the old town again to the Royal Castle.

 on: 24 April 2018, 12:09:30 
Started by hangchoi - Last post by hangchoi
Our next spot is Warsaw Uprising Monument. A monument for 1944 Warsaw Uprising.

 on: 24 April 2018, 12:06:29 
Started by hangchoi - Last post by hangchoi
A few pictures of the inside of the palace. The last one is the view from the park to the palace. If the sky is clear, you can imagine the reflection of the palace from the pond, which usually be used as the cover of a travel guide for Warsaw.

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