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The Good Nazi

May 24, 2013

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One thing about being on a guided tour like this, is, they get you up and going early each day, but to see and do all we are covering on this amazing trip, it is worth it. Lovely breakfast buffet again and then off to the Wielickza Salt Mine,  Europe’s oldest salt mine and considered one of the world’s wonders, about a 40 minute journey by bus. This mine is still operating and is over 300 km long.  We descended by 380 wooden stairs  taking us down to the third of nine levels (135 metres). Our tour guide took us along a 3.5 km stretch which covers only 1 percent of this huge mine. The tour took us through numerous ancient chambers and chapels in which everything around you is made from salt, including the tiled floors, sculptures, chandeliers and a huge chapel dating from the 17th century, hand carved by the miners. We returned from the mine to meet up with a local tour guide who took us on a walking tour of The Old Town with its massive market square. So much history in these old towns and again, just blown away by the incredible beauty when we went into St. Mary’s Basilica on the square. The altarpiece, stained glass windows,  everything inside this church, takes your breath away. We enjoyed watching the bugle call played every hour by seven alternating, local firemen, which takes its origins from an event in 1241, when a lone fireman spotted invading forces on the horizon and played his bugle to warn the residents of Krakow, and although he was shot by an arrow in the neck, the town was aroused in time to defend itself. The bugle player was way up high in one of the towers but I waved like a little kid when he finished and I am sure he waved at me!! and not everyone in the crowd who had gathered for this popular event. We even went back in the evening to hear him at 8:00 pm and waved again!! After a bite of lunch we loaded onto the bus to be whisked off to the the Oscar Schindler Factory, about a half hour drive away. They have made a museum at this site and it has just recently opened. It was absolutely spell-binding as we were guided though this well designed museum paying tribute to this man and the tragic struggle of the Jews. The story of Oskar Schindler and his employees is one which became well known after Steven Spielberg’s film, Schindler’s List, which was shot in Krakow. Again, very distressing and this part of our tour has been hard but we must never forget the cruelty of the Nazi regime and the more I have learned of this dark, dark time I am increasingly horrified and wonder how all this could have taken place without the world knowing. According to our guide on the Third Reich Tour in Berlin, Hitler censored all information coming in and out of the country. He was a mastermind. We decided upon retuning to the hotel that we would download Schindler’s List and watch it again. Although over 3 hours long, we watched it in 2 stages, finishing it just before 11:00 pm and heading to bed, our heads filled with the tragedy and history of the millions of Jews who were cold blooded murdered. We will leave this dark part of our tour and head off to Slovakia and Hungary early tomorrow morning.

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4 Comments
  1. Denise permalink

    Hi Kathy and Trevor: The movie you speak of is my favorite, in the content and historical information. I watched the movie in Montreal, where there is a strong Jewish population, and because the movie was intense, the cinema agent greeted everyone and gave each of us a package of Dentyne chewing gum as we left the theatre. Lots of sobbing and the gum brought us out of the gloom a bit. What do you do in the evening hours?
    Denise 🙂

  2. Marg permalink

    Kathy

    I am glad that you and Trevor are enjoying this tour. These Globus tours showcase what most of us want to know about. It is nice to be whisked around by bus and not have to worry about driving yourselves. I am sure you will enjoy the rest of your journey.

    Marg and Greg

  3. Suzanne Smith permalink

    I am amazed at what u are learning Nd seei g on this tour. It is fabulous although sad history. You must be e hausted all the walki g tours at leSt you wont gain weight!!! Must be hard for trevir to have to get up early every day!! I have never watched schindlers list i always planned to one dY!! Cant wait to see u when u r back i will still be off as i plan to do the other knee next

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. Gary permalink

    Agreed that is crazy that stuff went on while the world did nothing….hard to believe. And I remember watching that movie years ago…is it any good? By that I mena is it worth 3 hours of my life? Love ya!

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