05 July 2008



Today was quite a change from the past few days. This was our only free weekend, so I guess they decided to just let us enjoy ourselves.

We went on a tour of the Jewish District which is referred to as Kazimierz. Kazimierz used to be a completely separate city from Krakow. After a great fire burned down part of Krakow, the once welcome Jews were forced by the king to move to Kazimierz. The cities grew so big that eventually they both merged. The Jews lived there until WWII when they were forced by the Germans to move over the bridge to the ghetto, or taken to concentration camps. Most of the citizens from Kazimierz were never actually sent to Auschwitz. Just an FYI. Today and tomorrow are the last days of the Jewish Festival that goes on here every year. Tonight they had a huge concert with Jewish bands and musicians, some of whom were even flown in from Israel. Many people flocked to the area, and we met a lot of Jewish people who had flown in from America for the week.

Four of us girls actually spent most of the afternoon at a small Italian restaurant in the square listening to the music and befriending a British and a Scottish guy. They loved my accent, and kept asking me questions so that I would have to repeatedly say "y'all". I love that it's so easy to meet new people over here. It's such a different culture. And, despite the fact that I will never see those guys again, I feel like it was part of this whole experience. Meeting new people from different cultures and learning about each other. Brilliant! (as they would say)

Tomorrow we go to Auschwitz-Birkenau for what, I am sure, will be the most somber and life-changing experience of this entire trip. So, I'm sure I'll have plenty to talk about and tons of pictures for everyone tomorrow afternoon (your time). I'm going to bed now.

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