Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The City of Krakow

Our first full day in Krakow allowed us to get a real flavor of the city. We began our day at the school, so for each of us we traveled there a different way. Some of the students walked, were driven, took several trams or used a combination of all three. When your school is located in the city center, the experience begins quite differently from one set in suburbia. There certainly weren’t any yellow school buses chauffeuring our students around.

Lyceum V’s building is nothing at all like HCRHS—it’s situated in a historic building in the heart of the city. There a large imposing staircases and beautiful architecture when you first enter the doors, and quickly, you see how the building’s nook and crannies make it difficult for a stranger to navigate. Although the building differs from Central, the students and the faculty are not so distinct. The students’ dress reflects their individual personalities and style, and the teachers acted much the same way we do in the morning—searching for the copies needed for class and running around making final preparations. Polish students and teachers really aren’t all that different from their American counter-parts. In our friend Agnieszka’s English class, the teachers and a few of the Central students explored the similarities and differences between American and Polish teenagers. We discovered that despite some style differences, teenagers are teenagers—they love their phones, the Internet, shopping, and escaping the clutches of their parents.

After spending a few hours in the morning at the school, we walked around some of the historic portions of the city. We saw the remnants of the old city walls, Wawel Castle and Cathedral, and the historic town square. The city is gorgeous—particularly at night!

Today, we will be heading to Auschwitz. After visiting Terezin, Treblinka, and Majdanek, I believe that this seemingly quintessential camp will still be extremely impactful for each of us.

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