a trip in the Czech Republic (Prague), Poland (Auschwitz-Birkenau- Kracov- Wroclow) Germany (Berlin)

Voir le sujet précédent Voir le sujet suivant Aller en bas

a trip in the Czech Republic (Prague), Poland (Auschwitz-Birkenau- Kracov- Wroclow) Germany (Berlin)

Message  JeanPierreD le Jeu 14 Mai - 22:43

Towards Poland : 25 April – 2nd May 2015
This was the title of the journey prepared by  « Calais voyage en Liberté », this well known association that regularly offers short and cheap trips to London, Bruxelles and Amsterdam (http://calais-voyager-enliberte.jimdo.com/). So Poland was a premiere and it proved to be a complete success, even if at first I was a little scared about the number of kilometers we would have to drive with the bus .
We left on the 25th of April, at about 8th in the morning, after many stops in order to stretch our legs, pee or eat something we arrived through Belgium and a little of the Nederlands in Germany in Nuremberg . This town is full of the sad history of Europe ; there took place during the Thirties the huge demonstrations of the Nazi party aimed at stricking the German ,as well as the world’s public opinion . It was the ideological capital of the Nazi party. It is in this very place so,  that the allies after WW2 chose to put to trial and judge the main nazis responsables of the war crimes and genocides.
The second day we arrived rather quickly in Prague the capital city of the Czech Republic. This town really  worths his nickname of « Magical capital of Europe ». The terms for qualifying this marvellous town full of history , and spared by the wars are innumerable : « the town with a hundred of spires » , « the Paris of the Twenties in the Nineties », « The mother of all cities », « The Heart of Europe » . Prague is really the equal of Paris in terms of beauty and its history goes back a millennium.
What I regret the most is not to have time to attend a musical concert, (the famous Austrian composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart visited many times Prague in the 1780 an 90s and appreciated the way the city’s people loved his music . Still now his music continues to win Czech hearts ) I could have done it in the evening during our free times  if  we hadn’t have been invited in a small village next to the city for a typical Czech party with a special meal with specialities, wine from Moravia and folk dance .
Which was very good too and very typical.The next day we visited Prague Castle which is Prague’s most popular attraction. Looming above the Vitava’s left bank, its serried ranks of spires, towers and palaces dominate the city center  like a fairy-tale fortress. Within its walls lies a varied and fascinating collection of historic buildings, museums and galleries that are home to some of the Czech Republic’s greatest artistic and cultural treasures.

" />


According to the Guinness World Records, it’s the largest ancient castle in the world, covering a total area bigger than seven football fields. … After a last meal in the Municipal House on Republic Square, that is the city's foremost Art Nouveau building, and one of the finest in Europe (which host a wonderful concert Hall too…but )  we travelled to Poland . We arrived at the border of it in a town named Cieszyn where our euros were no more in use ( The Czech Republic has been a member of the European Union since May 2004. It is bound by its Treaty of Accession to join the eurozone once it has satisfied the euro convergence criteria, but meanwhile, still uses the Czech Koruna but it was possible to pay small things in euros ) we have had to change our euros into Zloties (The entry of Poland into the EU dated back to May of 2004, but as the Czech Republic still keeps his own currency the zloty :  4 zloties are 1 euro, which is rather simple, all the prices are moderate).
The next morning we headed to the town of Oswiecim. This name means little to foreigners, but his German equivalent Auschwitz-Birkenau  evokes fear and shivers in almost everyone . These actually three camps (Auschwitz I opened in June 1940 ; Auschwitz II in March 1941,Auschwitz III in 1943)  were part of the European network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built in annexed Poland by the Third Reich.

" />

" />



It is estimated that even 1.2 million prisoners of different nations died there. Most of the exterminated prisoners were Jews. Victims of Auschwitz also included approximately 150,000 non-Jewish Poles, Gypsies, Soviet soldiers, Jehovah's Witnesses, and thousands of members of other nationalities as well as people recognized as homosexuals.
 We visited the sad museum, apart from exhibitions we were allowed to enter the former places of martyrdom ; gas-chambers, crematory, prisons and execution walls, as well as see the realities of everyday life in labour camp. It was very very sad but important for me to see and try to understand what men pushed and blinded by ideology can do to others …
After this grave morning we rushed to Krakow for dinner . The afternoon was free for visiting on our own (or an afternoon nap ! ). In the afternoon we had a special visit in Kazimierz, the district south of the Old Town which was the centre of Jewish life in Krakow for over 500 years before it was systematically destroyed during World War II. Since the 90’s and the lens of Steven Spielberg it has become Kraków’s most exciting district –
a bustling, bohemian neighbourhood packed with historical sites, atmospheric cafes and art galleries. In the evening with friend we chose to eat in one restaurant in the obscure courtyards where Spielberg shot one of his most famous scenes of his film the Schindler’s file (Schindler's List is a 1993 film about German entrepreneur Oskar Schindler, who was instrumental in saving the lives of over one thousand Polish Jews during the Holocaust) .

" />




The day after, we had to wake up very early in order to visit the very ancient salt-mine of Wieliczka, in the Krakow metropolitan area. The mine, built in the 13th century, produced table salt continuously until 2007, as one of the world's oldest salt mines still in opération . It is now a museum and is often referred to as "the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland." Even the crystals of the chandeliers are made from rock salt. It also houses a private rehabilitation and wellness complex.
It worths the experience, first going down the 378 steps by a wooden staircase that make you a little dizzy, and then hiking through the 3 kilometers of corridors, chapels, statues and underground lake 135 metres below the surface of the ground. Happily we have been returned to the surface within 30 seconds thanks to a quick lift.

" />


The rest of the day was free for visits in Cracow, which was, although ancient Capital City of Poland, rather easy because the town was not very large .Time to buy the clear Vodka (The Zubrowka Bison Grass Flavored is  said to be the best known), the slicing sausage, the chocolate and different spécialities.

" />


The day after we travelled to Berlin . A large visit by bus first because Berlin is a huge capital city , one third of it is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers and lakes. A very nice french speaking guide helped us to understand how was Berlin during the 20th century, during the Nazi period and then during the after war years

( the victorious powers divided the city into four sectors, analogous to the occupation zones into which Germany was divided : the sectors of the Western Allies ( The United States, the United Kingdom and France) formed West Berlin, while the Soviet sector formed East Berlin. In 1948 when the Western Allies extended the currency reform in the Western zones of Germany to the three western sectors of Berlin, the Soviet Union imposed a blockade on the access routes to and from West Berlin, which lay entirely inside Soviet-Controlled territory. The Cold War then lead to the building of the Berlin Wall. Many times with our bus we cross the line that was previously the place of the Wall,  some parts of the wall itself can still be seen. We recognized them because there are the canvas for Bright-coloured street painting that tell the story of the town.

I visited with some other participants the Holocaust  Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a very impressive site covered with 2711 concrete slabs, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field They are organized in rows, 54 of them going north-south, and 87 heading east-west at right angles but set slightly askew. It gives the impression of waves, supposed to symbolize the waves that brought to crowds of peoples to the extermination camps . It has been designed by architect Peter Eisenman. According to Eisenman's project text, the stelae are designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere, and the whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason. In the bassement « the place of Information » holds the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims, obtained from the Israeli museum Yad Vashem.

" />

Outside, on the slabs people are drinking beer or eat their sandwiches, it was a sunny day so some others were sunbathing, a couple of gay men were kissing, children were jumping from one grave to another . Life is back after these terrible times .
The last day was dedicated to the way back . We left Berlin at about 20 O’Clock to spend the night in Schopsdorf on our way back ( 85 km far from Berlin). So in fact our last day by bus was not so long, because in fact 12 hours  were only necessary to reach Calais. I couldn’t believe Berlin was so close : 929 km only. I could even go back one day with my own car !
It was really a wonderful trip , because of the program of course , but not only, because of the group too which was very nice and friendly. But I’m sure that the pleasant atmosphere is mainly due to the skills of our driver and his wife. Without forgetting the very nice Polish Guide Tom ( every over 50 years’s old female participants had a crush on him, but not only …) .
A very very very nice Trip.
avatar
JeanPierreD

Messages : 118
Lieu : Calais
Langues : Français (Langue maternelle), Gb

Voir le profil de l'utilisateur

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

Re: a trip in the Czech Republic (Prague), Poland (Auschwitz-Birkenau- Kracov- Wroclow) Germany (Berlin)

Message  Remy le Ven 15 Mai - 7:00

Thanks for your account, Jean-Pierre.

I traveled to Prague last year and I have been amazed. The czek republic was part of the Holy Roman Empire from the 10th century, and the prince of this country was elector prince from the 12th century. So Prague has been the capital of the Holy roman empire two times, in the 13th century and in the 17th century.

On the whole, this town has been built mainly in the 17th century. Houses are colored, there are many palaces, and each different from the others. Prague is a fairy tale town. I loved it.
Moreover, people are very nice.


I don't know concentration camp universe. The Giesbert's novel "La cuisinière d'Himmler" stages a quite normal man - even perhaps insignificant person (Himmler) - who obeys Hitler and who is able to commit the most horrible crimes...That's just terrible.

Remy

Messages : 1543
Lieu : Calais
Langues : Français (Langue maternelle), Gb

Voir le profil de l'utilisateur

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

Re: a trip in the Czech Republic (Prague), Poland (Auschwitz-Birkenau- Kracov- Wroclow) Germany (Berlin)

Message  MurielB le Ven 15 Mai - 10:45

what an interesting travel account, Jean-Pierre ! Your photos are beautiful ! I have inserted a copy in "Voyages, travels, Reisen, viajes, viaggi, etc."
http://www.cafe-polyglotte.com/f8-voyages-travels-reisen-viajes-viaggi-etc

_________________
Merci de me faire part des grosses fautes dans mes messages en langue étrangère. Grâce à vos remarques, je pourrai m'améliorer :-)
avatar
MurielB
Admin

Messages : 12029
Lieu : Calais
Langues : Français (Langue maternelle), Gb, De, It, Es

Voir le profil de l'utilisateur

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

Re: a trip in the Czech Republic (Prague), Poland (Auschwitz-Birkenau- Kracov- Wroclow) Germany (Berlin)

Message  JeanPierreD le Ven 15 Mai - 20:50

thank you for reading Muriel and Rémy and for your adds
avatar
JeanPierreD

Messages : 118
Lieu : Calais
Langues : Français (Langue maternelle), Gb

Voir le profil de l'utilisateur

Revenir en haut Aller en bas

Voir le sujet précédent Voir le sujet suivant Revenir en haut


 
Permission de ce forum:
Vous ne pouvez pas répondre aux sujets dans ce forum