Auschwitz I 
Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Makes (You) Free)

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Auschwitz Birkenau

Auschwitz Birkenau The largest, and arguably most famous Nazi concentration/extermination camp system during World War II, Auschwitz today consists of two separate sites:  Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau.  An estimated 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, were starved, tortured, murdered, and cremated here between 1940 and 1945.  This systematic genocide was part of the Nazi “Final Solution”. …

Black Madonna

The Black Madonna of Jasna Gora

While my mom and I were touring Auschwitz, we met an American couple.  We began talking with them and discovered the wife was originally from Poland.  She absolutely raved about the Jasna Gora monastery in Czestochowa and insisted it was a must-see in Poland.   She described is as the most beautiful place in the world, almost…

Historic Center of Warsaw

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Historic Center of Warsaw

Historic Center of Warsaw The Historic Center of Warsaw is interesting, because it’s mostly a reconstruction of the Historic Center of Warsaw.  Over 85% of the original city center was destroyed by Hitler’s Nazi troops during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.  After the war, Poles reconstructed the city center to preserve Polish history and tradition. …

Historic Center of Krakow
With my mom in the middle of the square

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Historic Center of Krakow

Historic Center of Krakow Krakow used to be the capital of Poland, before it was moved to Warsaw.  When the Germans invaded during World War II, many citizens (especially the Jewish population) were sent to concentration camps and/or murdered.  The Germans also pillaged and destroyed many relics and monuments, but overall the city Krakow was…

Bobolice Castle

(Not My) Fairytale Castle Wedding

What little girl doesn’t dream of having a fairytale wedding in a castle like a real princess marrying a real Prince Charming?  This dream became a reality for one of my closest friends, and I got to experience it by being one of her bridesmaids.  IN POLAND.  It was an incredible experience. The wedding was…

Main Square in Old Town Krakow

Overview of Poland

Why Poland?: I’ve gotten this question from a LOT of people.  My mom and I took a trip to Poland together when I was a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding.  We have some ambiguously Polish/German ancestry (those borders changed all the time), and are both fascinated by WWII.  So we decided to focus on seeing…

Mariaki Church in Old Town Square

Krakow, Poland

Visited: 8/28/12 – 8/31/12 If you ever get the opportunity, VISIT KRAKOW.  This was my favorite city on our trip.  The Old Town square is beautiful, the city has a ton of history (heaven for a history nerd like myself), and I was surprised how INEXPENSIVE it is.  I’ve heard Krakow referred to as “Little…