Jak wiemy, większość podróży to również wyzwania jakim jest przejście graniczne. Kontrole graniczne w niektórych krajach nie występują praktycznie wcale, a w innych nie ma możliwości ich obejścia. Kontrola graniczna ze strony Ukraińskich celników jest znacznie mniej rygorystyczna niż w Polsce.
Coming back to Poland after my journey through Ukraine presented me with an unexpected experience. After coming into the country, I expected leaving Ukraine to be just as painless. However, this assumption was wrong. When I left Poland, the security was lax for myself and everyone in the same car. No one asked many questions. And no bags were searched. Border patrol on both sides flipped through our passports and stamped them. I was only asked one question: “tourist?” For the entire train to go through exit and entry border control took less than an hour total.
Returning to Poland took much more time. An hour to go through Ukrainian security, followed by an hour for Polish security. Ukrainian Border Control was not intense but it was long. We had to hand our passports over and wait. We were asked about how much baggage we had, but that was it. Polish border control was not as easy. Officers checked the nooks and crannies of the compartment, and even searched everyone’s baggage. Those who were entering Poland were asked many questions, and had their paperwork inspected.
However, this particular entry process ended up being very uncomfortable because as it turns out there was “an elephant in the room.” And this elephant was me, and my Canadian-ness. When we speak of elephants in the room, these are often uncomfortable or awkward truths that no one can deny, but yet no one will acknowledge. My status as a Canadian citizen clearly put me in a position different than that of the Ukrainians I was sharing a compartment with. I can’t say that I received better or more respectful treatment due to the language barrier, but I what I can say is that I was not subjected to the searches, the questions, nor the presentation of any extra documents beyond my visa. One by one the Ukrainians followed orders, did as they were told and spoke when spoken to. And when it was my turn, none of that happened.
Entering Poland was easy for me, but I can only assume because of my Canadian passport, but not for my Ukrainian counterparts simply because of their being Ukrainian. The train ride from the entry point to Przemyśl was long, awkward and quiet. The only good thing is that it was very short.
Pusty Kraków- w ten sposób Madison spostrzegła swoje przybycie do Krakowa 23 grudnia.
W Krakowie spędziła Święta Bożonarodzeniowe i zaczerpnęła tamtejszej kultury.
Najpiękniejszą częścią Krakowa dla Madison nie było wcale Stare Miasto, a Podgórze.
Madison zwiedziła również Muzeum Sztuki Współczesnej, co wywołało w niej przeróżne emocje.
I arrived in Krakow on December 23. By the time I got checked in and settled into my first accommodation, Krakow was dark, cold and rainy. But I took to the streets and found the old town. It was amazing. The buildings, the lights, the atmosphere, everything. But there was one thing missing: the people. For such a well loved city, the people were nowhere to be found. I explored the many streets and alleys of the Old Town, expecting to find them crowded somewhere. But, there were few people around. Even the Krakow market, called one of the greatest Christmas Market in Europe, was very quiet. But this was to my advantage, as I was able to slowly make my way through without being pushed and shoved.
My favourite district in Krakow was not the Old Town, but was Podgòrze. One of my favourite places in this area was Ghetto Heroes Square. This is a very strange memorial. But it is one of the most personal and grounding memorials I have ever seen (and memorial hunting is a favourite pastime of mine). The 33 empty chairs spread around the square are quiet reminders of people who are not there. It is not a monument you look at for a moment and continue on with your day, because as you walk through or around the square you will be confronted with many more empty chairs. In Podgòrze I also had the chance to visit the Płaszow concentration camp. This area no longer exists in the same way it did in the past. It has become a memorial park. You find traces of the past hidden as you explore. I met one other man seeking out the past, but the rest were walking their dogs enjoying the mild December weather.
My favourite part of Krakow was the MOCAK (Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow). I was on my way to Oskar Schinler’s Enamel Factory, but it was very crowded. I even had to push through the sidewalks. I quickly changed my mind as to where I would spend my day when I noticed the contemporary art museum right next door. The MOCAK was very impressive and shocking. Being from Canada, the history I carry with me is relatively safe and quiet. Many would even say it is bland. There is of course a little bit of horror sprinkled through Canadian history, but not very much. The time I spent in the MOCAK reminded me of two very important things; the first is how lucky I am to have this quiet history, and the second is that the Holocaust is contemporary history rather than ancient history. In Canada we are guilty of speaking about the Holocaust as if it happened long, long ago. We used detached words and prefer to dissociate today’s world with the topic. But the truth is that it is very recent history. And the MOCAK is the best place to see and understand this. In the current exhibition titled World War II - Drama, Symbol, Trama the effects of the Holocaust can be seen in the art coming out of Poland up to today. To witness the past by seeing how people not only responded to these horrors, but how they attempted to heal from them, was an unexpected and powerful experience.
My favourite artwork was a sculpture called “Island of Shoes” by Sigalit Landou. She collected 100 pairs of shoes and sunk them in the Dead Sea. A few weeks underwater cause the shoes to become covered in a layer of salt. According to the museum this work is attempting to reference the collection of shoes in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum.
My name is Madison. I am from Alberta, Canada. I like to read books, go hiking and explore new cities. Even though I am Canadian, I don't watch hockey and I don't like snow. I graduated from The University of Lethbridge in 2018 after studying English Literature and Art History for six years. I have travelled to the Mexican state, Nayarit and to Tokyo, Japan. I hope to travel all over the world.