Christmas Eve has sort of snuck up on us here in Eastern Europe. It’s tough to be a foreigner in a foreign land this time of year—are there any Christmas songs not about being home for the holidays? So, our strategy is to go somewhere interesting to keep our minds off the fact that Santa probably can’t find us. Krakow is an amazing city with lots to see and experience, and—as a bonus—they celebrate Christmas here in December like we’re used to.
We’ve had some time in Krakow to learn about Jewish culture and history, and we spent a full day at nearby Auschwitz. That was a very sobering experience that can’t be boiled down into a few words. Suffice it to say it makes you think a lot about human nature.
Yesterday we visited the Wieliczka salt mine, an underground labyrinth mined continuously for 700 years. It’s an amazing place that’s understandably listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. There’s at least one more museum and some more cool sites for us to check out in the next couple of days.
Our hostel has some fun Christmas activities planned for tonight and tomorrow, so we’ll be celebrating with other travelers from all over the world. After that, we found a little place to go in the Tatra mountains of Slovakia for a couple days, followed by New Years in a random Czech town that actually doesn’t overcharge for the holiday. We’ll be back “home” on the third.
As a side note, we’ve been overwhelmed by your support of the “Our Sofievka” project! We’ve already raised 75% of the needed funding, which is amazing! We look forward to telling our project partners and friends about it – what a nice New Year’s gift it will be to them! (If you don’t know what we’re talking about, please check out the appropriate link at the top of the page.)
Happy Christmas to you and your families! Sending you love and blessings from Eastern Europe!