Thanksgiving Weekend

For the first time ever, Will and I didn't stay home during Thanksgiving weekend. The holidays this year are going to be bittersweet for us; it's our favorite time of year, the Christmas markets in every German city are amazing, the food is delicious, etc, but it's also going to be our last year in Germany. The Army is moving us back to the States in April, so we decided to use every opportunity to travel someplace new. This past weekend, we made the executive decision to go to East Germany and Poland. Or, more specifically, Dresden, Krakow, and Auschwitz. Not the most uplifting Thanksgiving weekend ever, but something we both felt was very important for us to see before we leave. Our first stop was Dresden, since it was only a 5-hour drive. It was BEAUTIFUL!!!! The city is very clean and upscale, and the architecture (even though much of it is fairly new) was stunning. Here is a picture of the Fraunkirche-hope I'm spelling that correctly.

Unfortunately it was dark by the time we checked into our hotel and made it into the city, but I still think it's a pretty cool picture. Not only did we have a great time sightseeing in Dresden, but it was the first day of the Christmas market! Which means Will and I happily indulged in gluhwein, Dresden stollen, bratwurst, and many other Weihnachtsmarkt goodies.

This picture on the left is the best one I could get (tragically) but it shows the beginning of the Christmas season in Germany-and believe me, the Germans really get into the holiday spirit! :)

The next day we spent driving to Krakow, which honestly turned out to be a big disappointment. I didn't expect a whole lot from the city, and it's a good thing we didn't go in with high hopes. Krakow was a very difficult city to navigate (even our GPS was getting confused!) and the historic Old Town proved to be impossible to find. After walking around the city and continuously getting lost and confusing street signs, we gave up and went back to our hotel. The next day we set out for Auschwitz, which fortunately was a short drive. It was a difficult day, no lie. I knew everything I saw there would be incredibly disturbing, but I didn't realize how much it would affect me seeing the displays containing cans of Zyclon B, the hair, the shoes, the suitcases, and of course all the photographs. One of the saddest pictures I saw was an elderly Jewish woman accompanying a few small children to the gas chambers.  I stared at that picture for a long time, and all I could think was "how could people let this happen?"

Entrance to the main Auschwitz gate

This was Auschwitz-Birkenau, where the trains would go through the entrance.


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