Update 1: 31st May 2015

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What a place to start a journey! Kraków must be one of the most civilised cities in Europe. Relaxed and friendly, with buildings of great dignity, and in the evenings the streets come alive. Polish sausages, anyone?

Kraków theatre      Sausage vendor

In the old town the only traffic is trams, bicycles and horse-drawn carriages. Which do you prefer?

Kraków tram      Horse-drawn carriage

The Basilica’s height and gold leaf are outrageous. (Click any photo to enlarge.)

Kraków cathedral      Birkenau

But the trip became sombre when I visited the Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau.

Birkenau      Birkenau

Seventy years on, the 1.1 million people who died here are remembered with affection and sadness every day.

Executed Jews      Crematorium ovens

It’s impossible to comprehend the scale of the bestiality, murder, looting of valuables and trashing of the victims’ remains. Above, two of the crematorium ovens.

Polish Tatras      Polish Tatras

After those experiences the Tatra mountains were a breath of fresh air. Lots of snow in late May, but at least someone had put it to good use.

Polish Tatras      Snowman

Today I’m off to see the Slovakian side of the range, then on to Ukraine. I’ll write again soon.

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