Spent the day with Guide Michael Hanoujek of Lucy Tours. Day started with 0500 am pick up on a drizzly day. Sun rose around 0645 am and were greeted with a beautiful drive through the Czech and Polish countryside. Make a ‘stretch’ break along the way.
Arrive Auschwitz II and Birkenau around 1100 am. Very good and knowledgeable presentation by Michael as we walked the camp. Still drizzling seemed to add to the sadness and gruesomeness of the whole camp. As an American, we acknowledge the horrors of this camp and others like it but then realized that Michael and many others probably had direct connections with people who did not survive the camps.
After touring Camp II, we drove to Auschwitz I. A more restored and preserved camp. No less impacting that Camp II. For this tour, we joined up with an English speaking guide and a group of about 20 other tourist. There were many sensitive parts of this tour. Personal remains that just added to the effects of the devastating in-humane ordeals these people were subject to.
After this two hour tour, we met with Michael and motored over to Krakow. Must admit by this time we were both physically and emotionally drained. Approximately one hour drive to downtown KraKow. Absolutely beautiful old town square. We walked the square and stopped at an outdoor cafe. Though it was about 40 deg F and still drizzling, we ordered a warming and filling Goulash soup. While there we ‘people watched’ and gained more local information from Michael. On way back to the car we did some souvenir shopping. We were to go to the Castle but the rain increased and we were exhausted. We then headed back to Prague. Round trip is about 1000 km / 625 miles. We chatted some more but napped about half the trip. We got back to our hotel in Prague around 2300 hrs. A bit earlier than expected but we chose not to climb to the castle in Krakow. Michael Hanoujek was an excellent guide. It was as if a friend was giving us a personal tour. If/when we got back, we will request Michael again and Lucy tours!!!