Leisure travel can be associated with feel-good moments, adventure and lots of photographs for memories! But it’s not always that. There are times when travel is not a joyous experience but a valuable one all the same.
Being in Poland and witnessing with our own eyes the sites of the major concentration/extermination camps added a whole new dimension to what we already knew.
At the beginning of the guided tour of Auschwitz, we took a few photographs but upon entering the buildings, it simply didn’t feel right. Photos are allowed in most areas but we couldn’t bring ourselves to photograph for reasons we can’t quite explain, maybe out of respect(?), we just don’t know! So this post contains only 2.
“Despite everything, I believe people are really good at heart” – Anne Frank
After visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, we have to say that it was VERY hard to believe that some of those who ran those camps had a heart at all.
What words can we use to describe seeing and walking through the camps? Confronting, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching…. The thought of such atrocities still brings tears to our eyes.
Seeing the tons of hair that had been shaved from heads, the pile of thousands of shoes and mountain of suitcases of those sent to the concentration camps was very overwhelming. The 1.3 million people murdered at these camps became “individuals” right before our eyes. All these images we have seen before in reference books or in other museums but seeing the actual items seemed to hit home a lot harder!
To hear about the medical tests inflicted on individuals, witness the living conditions and walk through the gas chambers and crematorium, it certainly stirred up a lot of emotions. We felt so sad but also felt sick in the stomach at those who were able to commit such crime upon others.
Visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau is not a “tourist attraction”, it educates! It teaches us that we should never let such horrendous acts happen again to anybody on this Earth.
Auschwitz-Birkenau holds so much significance that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime to pay respect to those who died in concentration camps.
“To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time” – Elie Wiesel (a holocaust survivor)
We went for a completely different type of walk this weekend – we visited three museums in Sydney that we hadn’t been to in a while.
Stop 1 – Sydney Jewish Museum
On the first Sunday of every month, entrance is free! So we were lucky to be there on June 1 🙂 There was an Anne Frank exhibit on, which reminded us of our time in Amsterdam visiting Anne Frank’s House. Walking through the museum is simply so moving, such a harsh reminder of the atrocities of the Holocaust and how war is good for no one.
Stop 2 – Art Gallery NSW
Entrance is always free except if you want to see the special exhibits and it is quite easy to lose a few hours wondering around in there. Our favourite rooms are the European art rooms on the main entrance level, makes us excited to be returning to Europe in July to explore the art galleries there once more 🙂
Stop 3 – Government House via Royal Botanical Gardens
It is one of the living museums of Sydney and a guided tour of the inside is available on Fridays through Sundays. The entrance is free and the tour guides are volunteers who share so much interesting information. We learnt about Government House and facts of the history of Sydney that we hadn’t (or don’t recall) learning at school!
It was a side of Sydney that we figured is listed in “Travel Guides” that we ourselves haven’t truly seen. So we played “tourists” in our own city. We were not disappointed!
To add to the distance we walked, we stumbled across the Wishing Tree in the Botanical Gardens. We made our wish and being superstitious we completed the ritual, getting ourselves dizzy circling the tree 🙂