Hungary for Some Slovakia and a Side of Poland

Dear Family, Friends and Followers,

It's official. We are suffering from writer's block with our blog.  Now, we must try our luck at vocalizing our thoughts through a rhyming poem.

We stepped off the train and had arrived in Budapest,

the land of goulash, doilies, cow tongues, sausage, pickled stuff and all of Hungary's best.

A glimpse from outside the famous market where you can find the items above,

and views from the bridge that you are sure to love.

A mere man on the horse you say? He's not just a man,

he's a saint that brought Christianity to this land.

Ruin Pubs are bars built in old buildings that turned a dark history into something fun.

These Ruin Pubs make Budapest's nightlife second to none!

Hero's Square is a sight to behold,

as is this good-looking man, so he's been told. (It counts if you tell yourself that, right?)

We spent an afternoon on our own tour of the top Ruin Pubs in town,

just like these luscious lips, there was no reason to frown.

A beer in the hand will get rid of all of your woes,

and if you drink enough of these, you too will take artsy-fartsy photos!

Wherever you are in the world, here's a great big cheers to Friday nights!

As the sun goes down, on come the lights!!

St. Stephen Basilica is home of the the Holy Right Hand and was full of history,

To us, displaying a mummified hand in a church is a complete mystery.

These bronze shoes signify a somber memorial of the countless Jewish men, women and children that lost their lives along this river bed,

forced by Nazi soldiers to line up before being shot, it was said that the Danube ran red.

Just like that, a week had passed and it was time for us to bid our farewell to life in the city.

It was on to Poprad, Slovakia to be in the comfort of the mountains which are oh so pretty.

Two bears are better than one,

and so are the mountains with a bit of sun.

Three days in a quaint mountain town was the perfect break,

before giving Krakow, Poland a fair shake.

We went to the castle Wawel for insight on Poland's past.

It's definitely a memory that will truly last.

We can't quite make heads or tails of this,

but the old gate was surely a can't miss.

The sites around town were worth a thousand looks.


They even jogged the imagination of mid-evil fantasy books.

We have to stop rhyming for now because we couldn't figure how to take on a serious topic like Auschwitz while making silly rhymes.  Almost everybody knows something about Auschwitz and if we're completely honest with ourselves it pretty much comes from the movie Schindler's List.  We don't think this is a bad thing because sometimes it takes film to jog the collective memory of cultures.  What happened in Auschwitz should never be forgotten.  Somewhere around a million and a half jews were killed at Auschwitz.  Knowing this we headed on our way to pay our respects and learn more about this horrible event.  Oswiecm is an hour train ride from Krakow through the forrest.  It was very sobering to take the train ride that the prisoners took all those years ago.  When we rode on the train it was so hot that we couldn't help but imagine the misery felt all those years ago.  Auschwitz got it's name because the Germans couldn't pronounce Oswiecm so they made the name more German sounding and easier to pronounce.

This children crossing sign reminded Leanne of the "Red" girl Schindler's List.  Did Mr. Spielberg get the idea from this sign?  Hmmm...

This is the train stop where the prisoners departed the train and were processed into the camp.

Living quarters of the prisoners.

Auschwitz Memorial plaque

Auschwitz Monument

One of the gas chambers.

A message to the prisoners to "Be quiet".

We then moved along to Auschwitz 1.

We need to add a little side note to people doing research on visiting Auschwitz:

If you're visiting and trying to figure out which one to visit first, we strongly recommend going to Auschwitz 2 first.  If you really want to go with a guide then we would still recommend going to Auschwitz 2 first.  Auschwitz 1 is very, very crowded during the day and you are required to go with a guide.  If you want to wander around and avoid the crowds go later in the day as Auschwitz 2 is more spread out and not as big of a draw so you can visit there during "high time."  Later you can visit Auschwitz 1 for no charge or pay the fee for the guide.  Either way, avoid the crowds and go to Auschwitz 1 later in the afternoon.  Ok, all sorted.

Auschwitz 1 is incredibly heartbreaking.  Josh nearly had steam coming out of his ears from anger which we can imagine is a normal reaction.

Thousands of shoes collected from the deceased prisoners.

More inhumane sleeping quarters.

Electrified fences to avoid escape.

After a day of being drained emotionally we headed back to Krakow.  We sat in our room that night and couldn't stop thinking about the day.

The next day we set out to see a few sights around town and visit Schindler's Factory.

Thank god it was more uplifting and we actually learned a ton.

However, two days of holocaust education was enough for us so we were ready to focus on other things.

Now back to our lighthearted rhyming.

A trip to Poland without sampling Pierogis would not be complete,

as luck would have it, we happened to stumble upon a Pierogi festival in the street.

A couple of days in Warsaw was all the time that we had,

it was gloomy, rainy and the old university dorm room we stayed in was more than just bad.

It was too depressing to stay in the room,

so we braved the rain and took in the sights for the afternoon.

For this Polish meal Josh went all out with a plate full of meat and an accompanying beer.

While Leanne settled on a small bowl of soup and a warm cup of tea to raise for a cheer!

Yes, that post might have been over the top dorky, but after 19 months on the road we have become a bit quirky.

As always, thanks for following. We miss you all so much!

Leanne & Josh