‘Auschwitz is the largest cemetery in the world..without actual graves..’ said our tour guide. It made my eyes water.
Although I have been to Auschwitz a few times already (not because I like going there so much, but to accompany friends who were visiting me in Poland), I still get very touched every time I go there. This time again, I was shocked by what I heard and saw, and that was nothing compared to what had really happened.
Many of us like to avoid what depresses us and that’s the best way to be, I always try to steer clear from all the upsetting stuff. I even stopped watching news some time ago as all it seems to show is how scary and dangerous the world we live in is. I believe there is one thing we will never escape – our fate. Numerous ‘why’ questions will always be part of our lives but to some of them we will never find out the answers..
Like ‘Why more than four million innocent people had to lose lives in such a horrible ruthless way?’ It’s beyond comprehension.
While I like to avoid what’s sad, I was never in doubt whether or not to visit Auschwitz. It opens your eyes, teaches you, makes you realise how lucky you are and nudges you to forget about the problems you may think you have and instead enjoy every single day to the fullest.
Our tour guide said that her doing her job and us – visitors – coming over to hear about what had happened is the least we can do to commemorate the victims of the brutal events that took place 70 years ago. Let’s do it.
Booking your tour and getting there:
You can book your tour on http://www.auschwitz.org by clicking the Reservation tab. If you’re going by yourself or with friends then click Visit for Individuals, chose your desired date, language, time of the tour and whether you want a 6 hour study tour or a 3,5 hour general tour. I have been on the 3,5 hour a few times and it extended to over 4 hours every time. It’s very informative and I’d definitely recommend it.
Once you’ve booked your tour and paid for it (40 Polish zloty – US $10) make your way to Auschwitz on the date of the tour by catching a local bus from Krakow bus station. The buses run everyday starting at around 6am every half an hour until around 7pm. It takes 1,5 – 2 hrs depending on traffic. If you turn up at the bus station 3 hours before your tour, you should be just fine. You can get a ticket at the bus station (cost 14 Polish zloty – just under US $4 each way). The bus takes you all the way to Auschwitz and drops you outside the main building. NOTE: Auschwitz is the name of the concentration camp, the town is called Oswiecim.
When you’re there, you want to retrieve your pass from a ticket office outside on the right from the main door once you get that, you need to line to get in. Everything else you need to know, you’ll be told at the place.
‘Enjoy’ is not the right word so instead take in as much as possible and never forget..