Tuesday 31st January to Friday 3rd February 2017 will see a group of Year 12 and Year 13 History students visit Krakow in Poland.
Below you will find accounts of the days activities from the students.
After an early start our journey down to Liverpool airport was quick and painless as was the flight. After a brief stop to drop off our bags at the hotel we began a walking tour around the Jewish quarter of Krakow.
Whilst we walked we visited a practising synagogue and cemetery and we learnt more about Jewish culture in Krakow before World War Two. Our tour continued and we saw part of the filming location for Schindler’s List and other Jewish memorials. Our tour ended at Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory Museum where our informative guide showed us round.
In the evening, we had dinner at a traditional Polish restaurant and headed back to the hotel for an early bedtime.
- Francesca and Josie
After learning about the history of Krakow yesterday, we visited Auschwitz-Birkenau today. We had a guided tour around all the buildings. The silence as we walked in made us instantly see how important this place was to remember everything that happened here. We visited the buildings where the prisoners were kept in tiny rooms and also the gas chambers where they were killed. The hair of many of those who were killed was placed on display, and it really hit home about how individuals were affected; the lives that were destroyed. It’s not just statistics.
We then visited Birkenau, which was 20 times the size of Auschwitz. The railway track on which all prisoners travelled to the camp paved the entrance to the large site. A huge watchtower looked over the entirety of the camp. Only a few of the buildings from the 1940s remained however as the majority of them were destroyed by the Nazis a few days before the camp was liberated. We visited the barracks and saw what remained of the gas chambers. We also saw a monument which remembered all those who perished at this extermination camp – the whole trip to Auschwitz and Birkenau was poignant and eye-opening.
- Sophie and Erin
After our day at Auschwitz-Birkenau, we had dinner in a traditional Jewish restaurant called Ariel in the Kazimierz district with live Klezmer music from Jewish cultures around the world. It was lively, interesting and something a bit different!
- Kai and Ben
This morning, we had a guided tour of the Wieliczka Salt Mine which opened in the thirteenth century and is one of the oldest salt mines in the world. We learnt about the legend behind the origins of the mine which claims that the Princess Bela Kinga brought salt to Poland after she found her lost engagement ring at the site of the mine. The most impressive part of the mine was the deepest – the huge Chapel of St. Kinga, complete with enormous chandeliers made entirely of salt; as were the carvings, the walls and the floor.
This afternoon, after our tour, we returned to Kraków for free time in the city. This included activities like shopping, horse drawn carriage rides around the Kraków city square and a trip to the amazing hot chocolate shop.
- Kai and Ben
On the final day, we once again embarked upon a walking tour around Krakow town; our first stop was Wawel Castle, the home of many Polish monarchs and Hans Frank during World War Two. Wawel Hill also featured an impressive cathedral, bell tower and catacombs. We touched Sigismund’s Bell, the largest bell in Poland, to grant us luck for the remainder of the trip. St. Mary’s Basilica featured impressive Gothic and Renaissance architecture and was the final stop of our tour today.
The day ended with some free time around the Medieval square and I joined in with some Polish dancers.
Unfortunately, our plane was delayed until 7pm (the bell obviously didn’t work!) although it was the end of a wonderful day! Luckily someone found a plug socket so we could all stay charged.
- Mrs Lomas
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Ulverston Victoria High School
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