An incredibly stressful sprint to the airport took me from Brussels to Warsaw, where I stayed for the night before heading to my final major destination: Katowice!
I will admit to having lost my emotional composure multiple times between Brussels and Warsaw, and then again more intensely between Warsaw and Katowice – misinterpreting which airport I was to go to, trying to store large luggage overnight in different languages, avoiding having my phone casually stolen on the bus, and lacking decent sleep for weeks. It could have been a lot worse, but I was quite shaken by the time I arrived in Katowice. Thankfully, my cousin had given me directions to my first stop in the town: Veganka.
Full of traditional Polish food that has been veganized, a very kind employee translated every menu item for me and I found myself with a sour sausage soup and a vegan ice cream sandwich (VERY GOOD). My cousin met up with me, and we began a whirlwind tour of the area that would last for only a couple of days.
It’s been three days of content for the course and as I write this we are preparing for a travel day that will be wrapped up with a seminar in Auschwitz, our next destination and residence for 12 days.
The city of Warsaw is beautiful, and it is difficult to comprehend how much of it has been destroyed and rebuilt when you look at the style of the buildings and the composition of the streets and towns. Some of them look very classic while others are more modern. We started our learning in Warsaw inside the Jewish Historical Institute, which is one of the only buildings that in part survived the Warsaw Uprising destruction. Burned portions of the floor in the entrance hall remain visible and a part of what the institute stands for.