Sunday, May 10, 2009

Polska Weekend

Krakow Riverbanks
AMAZING POLAND; The view of Vistula river from the Wawel Castle. That's us with the Polish flag.

APRIL 30, 2009 - MAY 3, 2009. I visited Kristine a friend from 8 years ago and currently doing an AIESEC internship in Poland.

It was also my first time to travel in Europe alone and without my friends from Belgium. For once, it's nice to be guided by your own set of priorities and also get more opportunities to meet people. And Poland was the perfect venue.

Kristine and her friend picked me up in Warsaw airport Thursday night then drove me to their place in Radom, a town 100 kms away from Warsaw. Seeing Kristine was like having my Filipino switch turned on. Kaboom!!!!!

with Kristine
ANGELICANS IN POLAND. Jerick and Kristine in Krakow. :)

Kristine and I met 8 years ago in Angelicum. Then after 7 years, I was able to convince her to join the AIESEC exchange program. Meeting her in Poland was like a warp to 8 years past then back. A testament to this was the 1 hour and a half drive to Radom filled with conversations in Tagalog, high school reminscing, and endless stories about the Philippines.

On Friday, all AIESEC interns in Radom and I took the train to Krakow to join other interns from Poland for the Krakow reception weekend. We arrived in Krakow four hours after. Since the official program is not yet starting, Kristine and I decided to visit Oswiechim for the Auschwitz Concentration Camp memorial, a 2 hour bus ride from Krakow.

Experience in Auschwitz

Auschwitz was the largest World War II concentration camp in Europe and the place where they persecuted more than 3 million victims. It was a site preserved for people of this generation to remember and honour the victims of the past and learn from that time's terror.

FLOWER AT THE AUSCHWITZ MEMORIAL. Hopefully, the memories won't wither.

Anyway, the site features most of the remnants from 70 years ago. There are many things around but the thing that bothered me the most was the collection of hairs from all the victims. Back then, they used to collect all the hairs to make as cloth. Also, one chilling moment was when we visited the gas chambers.

I believe
LEARNING FROM HISTORY. and no photos please.

As George Santayana said (and it is widely posted in the memorial) - "The one that does not remember history is bound to live through it again". And I agree. A site that you should definitely see in your life.

Krakow Reception Weekend

We got back from Auschwitz just in time for the start of the reception weekend. As I said earlier, it's nice to come with mostly by yourself as you get more chances of meeting new people. And that I did. I met so many interns in Poland. What surprised me though was the fact that the interns there were generally quite young (same age as me) compared to Belgium where I am considered one of the youngest.

AIESEC Interns in Poland
(TOP) INTERNS IN POLAND. Haller! A photo taken Friday night as we are just to go out for a walk.
(BELOW) GOLDEN BUILDING Cloth Hall in the main market square.

Krakow Plaza

Krakow captured its pristine on its main market square where you can find the St. Mary's Basilica, Cloth Hall, City Hall Tower and other beautiful buildings. Also, sites that you should visit are the Wawel Castle and the Barbican. After touring, I recommend that you sit along the Riverbanks of Vistula.

I really enjoyed my Krakow Weekend. The people, the AIESECers especially, are fantastic. I hope to see them again soon!

Radom and Warsaw

Saturday night we went back to Radom where we had a crazy vodka night. These Polish people can't get enough vodka. I also brought some Belgian beers but of course, they prefer their vodka. If they only knew what they are missing. :P

Next day, we went to meet Kristine's TN manager and Polish family. It was nice hearing how happy they are about Kristine and her internship in Poland especially since I'm her VP-OGX as well.

Then after Radom, we took the train to Warsaw to catch my plane. I was only in Warsaw for 1 hour, quite short. I wish I had more time to go around.

Train to Warzaw
GOING BACK IS HARD. On my train to Warsaw from Radom on Sunday morning.

My trip to Poland was a nice escape. First, it was nice to meet Kristine here in Europe and just talk and listen to stories. Also, Poland is a country that I never expected I would love, but I did because of the people.

Dziekuje Polska!

Signature Jump Shot
POLISH JUMP. On the Krakow Main Market Square.

For more pictures, visit my Multiply website.

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