Friday, March 30, 2012


Visiting Auschwitz was something I don't think Mrs. Carroll nor I will ever forget. 
You read about the Holocaust, you see the numbers, you look at the facts... but it doesn't really hit you the magnitude of this tragedy until you see it firsthand.

Auschwitz is located in the Polish city of Oswiecim, but it is still called the German name of Auschwitz because it was a German operation, and the Polish want no part in claiming responsibility for it. 
I can't blame them.

Auschwitz was the largest concentration camp, with over 1 million people dying here. 

Walking around the Camp, you can't help but feel the overwhelming sadness that still lingers here.  It's very silent, if that makes sense. 

The housing facilities have been turned into their own museums, as the amount of information gathered and documented by the Germans is intense. 

Each museum displays everything from housing, daily life, prisoner documentation, medical experiments, to one specifically on children.  I didn't go into that one.  By that point, I felt a little nauseated. 

Some rooms that we went into held nothing but thounsands of shoes.  Or mountains of suitcases. 

The room I lost it in?  The one with the hair.  HAIR.  They cut off the women's hair to sell as a luxury item.  Seeing those piles and piles of people's hair... was right about the time I lost it on Mrs. Carroll's shoulder. 

These last two pictures are the gas chamber and crematorium of the Camp. 
To say it was filled with overwhelming sadness and grief is an understatement.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pit Stop in Krakow

After visiting the Black Madonna, we hopped back in the car and ventured further South to Krakow.
Krakow is one of the oldest cities in Poland and its former Capital.

We stayed in a cute little European hotel, across the street from Wawel Castle. 

That's pronounced "Va-Vall" y'all. 

For the History of Wawel, click here

A quick night picture on the way to the Old Town Square for dinner.
The weather was so nice - not the frigid cold we had expected - so we dined alfresco and enjoyed the people-watching.
And by that I mean staring openly at the table of German senior adults behind us who pounded Vodka shots. 
And that's pronounced "Wow-zers," not "Vow-zers."

The next morning, we briefly toured the Castle, which has been massively restored.

Just for's the room Mrs. Carroll and I stayed in. 

Next stop... Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Black Madonna of Czestochowa

Ready for today's lesson, kids?

On Sunday we visited the Black Madonna of Czestochowa.
This is pronounced like this: Chess Ta Ho Va.
NOT: "Check Ta Cow Wa" with lots of Southern-extra syllables.
Or your friend who speaks fluent Polish will laugh in your face. 
The "W's" in Polish are pronounced like a "V." 
Mrs. Carroll and I were unclear why they couldn't just put a "V" then instead of a "W."
Among other things in their language.

I digress.

Okay, the Black Madonna of Czestochowa is also called the Queen and Protector of Poland, because she miraculously saved the monastery of Jasna Gora from a 17th century Swedish invasion.

She is venerated by the Polish and thousands of Catholics make a pilgrimmage each year to come worship her.  On Sunday we were lucky enough to visit during a Catholic mass, and even though I'm not Catholic, it was still really cool to witness their reverance towards her. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Greetings, Readers!
I'm back from a truly fabulous week abroad in Poland.

I have so many pictures and stories for you, but let's take things one step at a time.
I say it's always best to start with the humorous, right?

Just in case you're thinking of visiting Poland in the near future, there are some things to know.

1.  They LOVE America.  I mean, LOVE IT.  The 1980s America, to be more precise.  Power Suits, 80's music.... even Chuck Norris.  The people are so polite and in every store wanted to try out their English on us.  And since that sounded tremendously better than our butchered "Southen English" Polish... we let them. 

2.  They are as excited about The Hunger Games as well.

3.  80's Music was on every station.  Knock me over with a feather.  It was a home away from home.  Yes, that's a Guns-N-Roses billboard in the background.

4.  Just in case you get trapped in the Amsterdam Airport for, say, 7 hours... pick you up some Sticks & Brezels.  They were a lifesaver.  And multiplied.  It was a bottomless pit.  Well worth the 10 Euro. 

5.  You say tomato...
I say...tomaten.

Tons more to come! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


We've been busy, folks.
Packing up a house.
Moving to a new house.
Weaning H.
Career development (more on that later).

Momma needs a vacation.

Where might you think a tired Mommy goes to kick up her heels and relax?


You are mistaken, my friends.

I am, in fact, going... Here.

Just in case you're not sitting next to Carmen Sandiego, that's Poland.

Warsaw, Poland - to be exact.

And Mrs. Carroll and I are packing our bags and heading there THIS FRIDAY for a whole week.

Because that's where all the cool kids are going these days.

I promise I'll come back with fascinating pictures and fabulous stories. 
Just for you.