Friday May 27, 2016
Today is our last day in Kraków. This was a beautiful city with very cool and interesting people. There is a lot of tourism here, probably the most tourist city in the county. We started our day by meeting our tour guide at 9am. We got on a public bus for the first time in Poland. We went across town to see the Jewish district. It was recommended that we watch Schindler’s List before coming to Poland. The tour guide took us to a place where one of the scenes was shot. I thought it was really cool to be in the same spot that a movie was filmed that I had just watched last week. Being in the same place and waking the same streets where the Nazis came in and occupied polish cities and created ghettos is an unsettling feeling. I think seeing the area from the movie made it very personal and realistic to understand the things that happened in this city 70 years ago. Here is the scene from the movie.
Our next stop for the day was Schindler’s museum. We were all very excited to visit his factory and learn more about him. When we got there, we soon realized that the museum had nothing to do with Oskar Schindler at all, it was just an overview of WWII. Most everyone including myself was very disappointed. I will be writing more about Schindler in my next post.
After the Schindler museum, we went to the JCC (Jewish Community Center) we had a meeting with a guy named Jonathan. He is the executive director of the JCC in Kraków and very famous among the Jewish community. The Jewish people in my group knew of him since he has some connections to Milwaukee. I learned that Milwaukee is a very important city in the Jewish community. Jonathan told us that Jews from Milwaukee, Israel, and Kraków get together and travel to each other’s countries/cities often. Jews from Kraków and Israel will be coming to Milwaukee sometime soon. I thought it was very cool that a city in Wisconsin has ties with other countries around the world due to a common religion. There was a cool sculpture/instrument in the courtyard of the JCC. Jonathan blew into an instrument called a “shofar” and placed one end of shofar in the sculpture and it amplified the sound. This is a picture of our group with Jonathan and one of the sculpture.
After the JCC, we were given the rest of the evening to do whatever we wanted. Myself and few others from my group went to an Israeli restaurant for lunch. This was by far the most interesting meal I’ve had so far. I ordered “Fish from Jaffa” with a side of potatoes flavored with orange. When I received my plate, I was horrified. I wasn’t expecting a whole fish. The scariest part was the teeth.
After the restaurant, myself and three others decided to try and take the tram back to the hotel. Bad idea. We ended up getting on going the wrong way. Once we figured out what direction we needed to be going in, we had no idea when to get off since everything is in Polish, so we got off quite early and had to walk quite a while back to the hotel. Most of us in the group went to the city square for our last night. It was a fun evening and I wish we could have stayed in Kraków longer, but I’m excited to see what Lublin has to offer. Here are the people I went out with for the last night!