A Travellerspoint blog

Poland

Estonia to Auschwitz!

10/34 Countries in 10days!

sunny 26 °C
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The ferry over to Tallinn took only bout 2hours and it was a fairly pleasant crossing. They had great coffee on there but I did fall over as the boat was pitching in the surf! this was our first time navigating blind without the satnav and it was not really that bad an experiance. With me navigating a Dale driving we were soon out of the centre of a Tallinn and on our way to Parnu in Estonia. Parnu is described as the top coastal tourist destination and filled with hot seas and sandy beaches it sounded exactly like the place we would like to go.

Enroute we had a minor mishap with the law. We got pulled over by the police and having provided all the documents they required they then insisted that Dale was speeding! 87km/hr in a 60 which apparently was a 6000KR fine! Not good but in the end they let Dale off with a warning but from then on we paid extra close attention to any speed signs anywhere!
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When we arrived at Parnu it was fairly easy to find the lonely planets recommended site which was at the back of the town. They had availablity and the nice man let us pick our spot. Sadly not for the first time the ground was too hard to hit the pegs in but a near by Fin came to our rescue and gave us a hammer to beat them in with. We then headed down to the beach in search of a mud bath as Parnu is famous for these. We got there and found that the old mud baths place was now in disrepair and no longer open so we sought to find an alternative at a health spa and after eventually finding one we were told they had finished for the day (this was at only 2pm so clearly Estonia is the opposite of Scandinavia with their late starts!). We then found Dale a blow up matress as he had been complaining of hip pain from the hard soil (I had lent him my green camping mat but apparently it wasn't helping). From here we headed down to the beach and spent a few hours here enjoying the sunshine it was beautiful and the sea was warm as promised. Dale had a kick about with some Estonians holidaying there and took one for England!
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That night we took advantage of the free wi-fi LP should really mention this as it was good! and I uploaded some photos onto here form my Amsterdam blog.

Nest day as we were headed to Sigulda in Latvia for a spot of outdoor activities. The navigating for this 3hr trip was slightly harder with us going along some deserted rough roads to find the place...not ideal and was a bit scary! We eventually found our way to KEMPINGS Pludmale and found that there was no one anywhere to be found to pay. So we went over the tarzan adventure centre over the road and had two go's on the superTarzan zip line. I was clearly rubbish as this as I started spinning out of control on the wire and on the first go lost my sunnies in the shrubbery. Dale saw them fall off but after 45mins of hunting I knew in my heart they were lost forever. Dale luckily had a pair that were not perscription he could lend me but its not the same as mine :(
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We then thought we would have a go on the bobsled track but found that the summer run was not in operation as the track was having major refurbishments which wasn't ideal for riding on! So we went into the town and had a look around the palace and some view points before heading to a Cafe and getting some lush Eclaires with chocolate cream inside them! We then went back to the campsite and led on the beach by the river for a few hours this was really relaxing. We tried to had an early night but there were people up quite late on the site which wasn't great. During the night Dale went into the car to sleep as his blow up bed popped!

Next day we were up really early - we had to be with a 1100km journey ahead of us. Dale took the first shift and everything was going well. Lithuanian drivers have indeed got a death wish but no worse than an adventure in Rome! We made it into Poland around lunch time and I took over driving here taking us down to Warzsaw this is where it went wrong! With Dale unable to navigate a city we got very lost and bytime we swapped roles we were so lost we had to resort to using a compass to try and find ourselves...sadly the compass always said we were going north so that was no help! A few locals hurrassed later and we managed to get on the city centre map and I was able to get us out of there. This whole process did take an hour though which wasn't great! We then stopped at a McDonalds for tea and Dale hit into a parked car. No damage really but not speaking polish the man kinda kicked off a bit and in the end Dale had to pay him 400ZL but it was cheaper than going through insurance as he had a £350 excess. I forgot to mention that I kinda had a cock up as well as I thought poland was on the Euro so didn't pre-order us any currency! This was a bit annoying but if this is the worst cock-up the we're doing well. It was not getting late and we were not making good time. Krakow was still 300km away meaning that we were looking at a midnight arrival if we were lucky. This was the case and at midnight we were on the '44' heading towards Auschwitz when we decided to sack it in for the night and book into a nice layby and sleep in the car. This was a bit eerie in a way. Being this close to those death camps and things wasn;t nice to to mention we were just parked on a main road but we survived the night and had a reasonible nights sleep.

Auschwitz wasn't far and after avoiding all the people trying to con us into getting us into their paid carparks when the Auschwitz one was FREE we made it to a christian retreat camp site thing. We are currently camped in the posh gardens! Its quite funny but a really nice place and the showers are great! We went down to Auschwitz one and were shocked by the prices...not because they were expensive as 24ZL for a students guided tour was great but for the fact that polish paid much less! If that sort of thing happened in the UK people would kick straight off! not very fair I don't think! and not a good example for an EU country. The site was not that big and took about an hour or so with the guide. I was shocked with the precision that things happened here. People were stripped of everything nothing was wasted. They took the money sometimes which was hidden inside shoes or sewn into clothing, they gold teeth (after gassing) their jewlery everything. They were stripped naked in their thousands and sent into the gas chambers to die thinking it was a shower! Shocking really shocking. We saw the wall where around 10,000 people have been excuted by gunshot it was a very somber place. Oh I forgot to mention the hair! They even shaved their heads and took the hair to be made into fabric for Nazi uniforms! Thats how sick it all was. We then missed the tour bus to Auschwitz II as it was not really pointed out properly we saw it driving off without us so we decided to pick up a few bits in the two by car and then head over ourselves.
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Auschwitz II was more shocking than the first it was HUGE and went on almost as far as the eye could see. This is where the real bad stuff happened with the death line here where people were brought in by the train load the gas chambers were capable of gasing upto 2000 people in one go. We got to go into the living quarters if you can call them that and walk along the line. I really didn't like it here there was something not feeling right about it all and it just wasn't good I felt like I was intruding on something I shouldn't be. Especially in the rooms it was really not a nice feeling. Contrary to what I have been told before birds do sing here. There was a rooster crowing and some small birds singing in the camp so myth dispelled!
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We came back to the Christian retreat and there was some english people pitched near us the guy Andy used to be the manager of homebase in Chippenham and knows Dale's aunty what a small world it is! We're just looking at the plan for the next couple of days and heading to budapest tomorrow for the weekend to Hotel Gellert which is a luxury Spa hotel! I can;t wait!

STATS:

Minor Collisions:1
Incidents with the law:1
miles driven: too many
Countries McDonalds now eaten in:7 (not for the want of trying in others!)
Pieces of Nazi memorabilia acquired:2
Money raise: £60 :( please donate to us www.justgiving.com/34countries28days

Posted by LizaBrooks 09:15 Archived in Poland Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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