Sunday, November 30, 2008


I've been wanting to take this Krakow/Auschwitz tour for the past few Thanksgivings and finally this year we were able to go and it was such a cool trip. We left from Spangdahlem Wednesday night and arrived in Krakow around noon on Thursday after a long drive through the night and a breakfast stop around the border. Reese was amazing on the bus, she didn't make a peep and when we got to Krakow the other people on the bus couldn't get over how good she was. We wandered around, checked into our hotel room and rested up a little bit before our Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant just off the main shopping area. We had some really good food, the polish sour soup was my favorite, and watched polish folklore dancers put on a show for us. During one of the segments Nate was selected to dance with the older Polish woman, he did a great job and Reese was quite excited to see daddy dancing. After dinner we walked around the area, but most things closed at 8pm so we just headed back to our hotel for an early night.

On Friday we got up early and went on a tour of Krakow. Reese started off as a happy camper, but naturally we had to have a meltdown moment on the trip so when we were about to go into a church we had been lagging behind the group with her since she was crying and we decided to stop outside and change her diaper. When we started this old polish woman grabbed us and nicely demanded we go inside to do it, so we're standing in this dark church trying to change her diaper in her stroller while she's screaming and echoing off the walls and naturally she ends up peeing as we change her diaper and gets pee all over her shirt and pants. When we got out of the church we had to laugh because what else could we do. After that she put her hapy face back on and we enjoyed the rest of our tour. Poland has such a neat history that I didn't really know much about before we went, but our tour guide really knew a lot and shared so much with us, especially world war II information. After the tour we went on our own with a few other people over to Oskar Schindler's factory (which they're turning into a museum so we only saw the outside), the Jewish ghetto and had some traditional Polish pierogis for lunch.

Later that evening we went out and did some shopping, you get three polish zloties for each u.s. dollar so our huge dinner cost us $17 and we were able to get some nice souvenirs for cheap as well. It's always nice traveling somewhere where you get more for your money. We got Reese this super cute polish pottery piggy bank and since the Krakow Christmas Market opened that day we wandered through and I got a few Christmas ornaments and some cute decorations. I love Christmas markets, and Nate loves trying the different foods at the Christmas markets.

Saturday morning we had to pack up our bags and get back on the bus for our drive to Auschwitz. Saturday was the coldest day of our trip and when we got to Auschwitz it was drizzling and pretty much miserable, I guess perfect weather for the event. There is so much to see there, our guide told us it would probably take 4 or 5 days to go through all the exhibits so we only went through a few during our nearly two hour tour but they were quite powerful. We went through a building about extermination and we learned a lot about the history of Auschwitz and all the satellite camps, but I won't detail that all here. Then we went through a building where they showed the things found at the camp upon liberation. There were rooms full of shoes that amounted to about 4 or 5 days worth of incoming people, it was madness. When we left the building everyone wanted to hold Reese just to lighten their moods, and it was so cute the way she went to everyone and gave them hugs and smiled at them. After our tour at Auschwitz we drove the short distance to Auschwitz-Birkenau which was the complete extermination camp, only about 10% of the people that arrived were processed instead of being led straight to the "showers" to be gassed. The camp is huge, there are a few barracks that with as cold as I was I couldn't imagine living in wearing only pajamas. Both the camps were really powerful and I don't quite know how to describe the feeling of being there in a mere paragraph, it would take pages, it really is something to experience.

When we left Auschwitz we started our long bus journey home and got back around 4am on Sunday. I'm so glad we went, I think Nate was skeptical about going at first but he had a great time as well.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

6 Months Old

Since it's been almost a month since I blogged I better cover the highlights of November up to this point.
For Veteran's Day Reese and I took our vet to the zoo in Cologne. They have an aquarium which was the real point of the trip because Reese likes fish and I thought it would be fun for her. The zoo was huge and Reese enjoyed the animals, especially the baboons because they were feeding them when we got there and all the screeching caught her attention, but the highlight of the trip was the aquarium. She just stared at the fish and when one would swim past her face she'd follow it with her eyes until a different one swam by, it was really quite cute. Anyways, now we're calling her our future marine biologist.Beyond fish, her newest thing is wanting whatever you have in your hands. She tries to get telephones, remotes, anything. One day we were sitting at the table having pizza and she reached for the soda can and almost got it. We got the video camera out and it looks like a Pepsi commercial with her shoving everything out of the way to get to it, maybe I'll send my footage to Pepsi and they can make Reese a star......hmmm movie star and marine biologist.I'm sure there's more that I'm leaving out but who cares because my sweet baby girl is 6 months old, as of saturday. She's such a little crack up that I can't quite remember what I did for entertainment before she was born. She thinks it's hilarious to pull the pieces out of her exersaucer and throw them on the ground, then when I catch her in the act she opens up those eyes real wide and looks at me as if she has no idea how they keep getting pulled out. But that's Reese, she's a problem solver, she knows how to get out of her Bumbo chair, though it results in a crash, and she can get from one side of the room to the other yet she somehow does it without crawling or walking. She's an ingenious little girl and we're glad she's in our lives. I mean who wouldn't want this smile greeting them every morning?

We're leaving tomorrow to spend Thanksgiving in Poland so I'll be sure to post pictures from our trip to Krakow and Auschwitz when we get back.