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Anyone been to Aushwitz?

(15 Posts)
Shakey1500 Tue 23-Oct-12 21:43:44

It's DH's 50th birthday next year and we've decided to go away for the weekend with Dsis and BIL. As it's his birthday, everyone's happy to go to his first choice destination. He has always wanted to visit Aushwitz, so that's what we're looking at.

Aside from the tour, which we all know will be very sobering, what else is there nearby to lift the spirits as it were? Has anyone been and care to recommend a district/hotel where we could stay? I'm thinking we could take a morning/afternoon tour to Aushwitz then return to somewhere where we could enjoy some good food/drink. Is that feasible or is the visit an all day experience etc?

Thanks in advance

halloweeneyqueeney Tue 23-Oct-12 21:47:13

Zacopane (?spelling?) is a ski resort in winter and camping destination in summer and will lift the spirits (so long as you don't get eaten by bears!), can't remember exactly how far it was
Krakow is very near.

halloweeneyqueeney Tue 23-Oct-12 21:47:52

There are salt mines around there too which are popular, think there's a ballroom and a cathederal carved out in them or something??? (didn't go)

ginmakesitallok Tue 23-Oct-12 21:48:52

I assume you'll be staying in Krakow? It's a wonderful city (though it has been over 10 years since we were there), with lots to do. From what I remember the trip wasn't all day - camp is about 30 miles from Krakow.

CrocodileDundee Tue 23-Oct-12 21:50:46

We visited as a day trip but stayed in Krakow which is about 30/40 mins in the train if I remember correctly. The tour took a good few hours.

Krakow has a nice main square with bars and places to eat off it. We also visited a salt mine which was fairly interesting.

It is very sad and we hardly spoke a word on the way home.

Shakey1500 Tue 23-Oct-12 21:55:22

Thank you both.

Yes, I'm looking at Krakow. Well, basically the best place for choice of restaurants/bars and central. 30 miles away is ideal, especially if it isn't all day.

Halloweeny- it'll be February (brrr). Not much of a camper really, but thanks anyway!

Shakey1500 Tue 23-Oct-12 21:59:38

Crocodile, yes, I'd thought of that sad

It's tricky as he has Jewish roots and has always wanted to go. And I would to. I just worry that it will put a dampener on his birthday celebrations (and how awful does that sound, given what million suffered?). But it's his choice.

CrocodileDundee Tue 23-Oct-12 22:07:35

Could you go for the meal the day before perhaps? The area around the main square is really nice. We stayed not far from it, a few mins walk.

When we went it was Remembrance Sunday (we didn't realise this when booking) and there was a service on and lots of people were really upset. It is horrific and really upsetting, a display case with suitcases really got me sad. But I am glad I went.

Shakey1500 Tue 23-Oct-12 22:23:51

We could do yes. Arrrghhh. Leaves me with the dilemma of having a celebratory meal, then ending on a harrowing note. I can't see an easy solution.

Thanks so much, I will give it some thought.

halloweeneyqueeney Tue 23-Oct-12 22:30:15

it'll be a ski resort in feb, not a camp/hike destination, with hotels wink

ClareMarriott Wed 24-Oct-12 15:23:23

There is a firm called who arrange visits to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp plus other places like Zacopane. You can contact them at

givemeaclue Sun 28-Oct-12 20:46:37

It's rather bad form not to spell it correctly

tribpot Sun 28-Oct-12 20:50:25

Zakopane is lovely, we stayed at a fab cosy lodge which certainly lifted the spirits after a trip to Auschwitz. You will not want to go out for a celebratory nosh-up afterwards.

blobandsnail Thu 01-Nov-12 21:28:36

Auschwitz is a place everyone should visit at least once in their lives. However, please set aside a whole day for the trip. Entrance is actually free and you can walk around at your leisure. There are tours which are charged for in different languages. The english language one I think leaves every hour. They're not bad, but i found they didn't leave you a huge amount of thinking time. Probably worth it though to get a better understanding of the areas you're actually seeing. Please also remember Birkenau, I find too many people forget it or don't bother with it. It may not have many buildings but to me it was more sobering and realistic than the main Auschwitz site. There's a free shuttle bus between the two locations so there really is no excuse for missing it.

To get there, do not get the train. It's too much of a faff and not that close to the musuem. Get the bus from the main bus station. It's dirt cheap and easily located.

As for other stuff in Krakow and around. The salt mines someone mentioned are a bit of light relief after the depression of visiting Auschwitz. There's also the castle that can fill up some time and gives some nice views of the city. Or just wander around the beautiful city centre you could easily waste time sitting in the square watching the world go by and enjoying the surrounding buildings and shops. If you want something else a bit more serious though i would recommend schindler's factory museum. I really enjoyed it, bit out of the city centre but worth the walk.

NellyBluth Thu 01-Nov-12 21:39:06

Auschwitz is definitely a place everybody should try to go to once in their life and yes, try and leave time for Birkenau too. That will take an entire day.

We got the train there from Krakow and I personally found that very unsettling, so I would recommend getting the bus or renting a car instead.

When we went, tbh we found the day so moving and upsetting that we weren't really up for much in the evening. I would spend a few days in Krakow, have a day or two to enjoy the city and the food, then another day for Auschwitz, and then move on to Zakopane if you want to make a longer holiday of it.

If you want a shorter holiday, Warsaw is just a few hours away by train and is increasingly touristy, and it is worth a day or two's visit - it isn't a striking city but there are some very good museums on WWII and you can visit the Jewish Quarter there too.

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