Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Summer Road Trip - Day 5 - Krakow and onward north

As promised, we now return this blog to our previously scheduled summer vacation wrap-up. It's now almost 2 months later, but who's counting?

Where was I? It looks like I left off upon arriving in Krakow, Poland. I loved that city and I definitely would like to go back and spend more time there. We only stayed one night.

The next morning we went to Auschwitz. I definitely think it's a place everyone should go to at some point but I can't say it was 'fun'; just one of those things you have to see. During the high season, you must tour the camp with a tour group so if you come as individuals, you are assigned to the next group to leave with a guide in the language of your choice. The next English group was huge; so big that they ended up splitting us into 4 groups of about 30 each. Unfortunately, we ended up with a tour guide that wasn't very good. The tour itself wasn't bad; it was his personal opinions he chose to inject into everything he was describing to the point that several in our group were making comments about filing complaints. He had a chip on his shoulder and I guess he was using his position as a tour guide to be able to vent his feelings to travelers from all over the world. It was unfortunate, and it caused us to decide to skip part 2 of the tour. I'm not sorry that we went, I just wish we had had a more impartial guide.

After leaving there, we began our trek up to the northern coast of Poland. It was a trip that lacked motorways in most places. Polish roads... wow. I have never seen anything quite like it! You know how, after a major snow fall, cars form ruts in the snow and everyone follows those ruts? Picture this, but without the snow, just the ruts, in the blacktop. Passing another car became an amusement ride of getting up out of the rut, around the car and back down into the ruts. It was nuts.

I will give 1 point to polish drivers, though. When they're driving slow, and they know it, they move way over to the right shoulder and drive with half the car on the shoulder so that it's easier to get around them. Loved that!

They lose that 1 point, however, for the sheer number of times we saw a car towing another car, with a rope. Before Poland, I can probably count the number of times I've seen this done, on one hand. After Poland, I need both hands, both feet and a few other appendages... we saw at least 2 a day. Crazy! Maybe it's how the Poles save on gas?

[Insert your own "How many Poles does it take to... ?" joke here]

Oh, and if you have to make a quick market stop and there's no place to put the car?  Not a problem, just pull right up on the sidewalk...

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