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CONTENTS Peacocks! 6 Top 9 Things in London! 7 Cycling Catastrophes! 8 The World of Dumplings! 10 Xiao Long Bao! 12 Lukang! 14 I am the World! 18 Kracking Krakow! 26

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EDITOR'S LETTER: we could see the appeal of traveling back to a time as everything is thrilling and new, but why not to be like the peter pan as regression to a childlike state of wonder and freedom? once you get past the growing pains and start learning how to take care of yourself in unfamiliar territory, you actually get the magic of growing up and begin to enjoy how graceful the world is – a world of implicit purports. pack your bag and just go. good luck! thanks for james anderson, rob de niet, damian chapman, daryoush haj-najafi and rory dcs.

Tara SU

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POLISH PEACOCKS

By Tara Su A graduate from the Jagiellonian University, in Poland, with sociology, Dina de Białynia Woycikiewicz has never thought she would be a jewellery designer. That was until she met Plich, the Polish fashion designer. “I was his assistant, and there I started to embrace the world of fashion,” Dina says In comparison to factory-made jewellry, Dina uses silk thread, connected to fishing line, stapled horizontally rather than vertically. Many hours of meticulous preparation go into making each pair of earrings and every necklace. Dina’s designs are original and widely available. They are suitable for both formal events and casual ones. She explains, “ I don’t even sketch the designs, I just sit down and create. All girls want to wear jewellery which ramps up their style, so I try to live up to customers’

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expectations.” Dina loves the city Krakow in Poland. Although it is not a capital city, there are a great number of interesting shops around streets. It is in Krakow, in the shop La Perla, that her designs are displayed. Rather than being a multinational brand, she enjoys being uniquely Polish. “ For me, the most important is independence, which I get in La Perla, where I display my designs for sale. Moreover, customers can choose from a variety of collections, or they are able to o rd e r s o m e t h i n g that suits their taste. I like to understand what it is that my clients are imagining they would like in their own jewellry, so that I can offer them my best work.” she smiles.

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water The water in London is hard, which makes hair thinner and the colour of hair lighter if you wash it every day. The local people who live in London drink filtered water only. a smart phone Standing in the corner on the busy streets to use a smart phone in London makes it easy to be snatched by cyclists. dream of beach Living in London, people don't really go to beaches, because they enjoy wearing a bikini or swimming trunks while lying down in their little gardens or a park to pretend they are at the beach already. weather The weather acts like a woman- unpredictable, sunny in the morning, having hails in an hour after lunch, raining in the late afternoon and bright in the early evening- finish a hard day and relax. 24h bus If you are lucky don’t catch the last train or tube to go back home, then you could enjoy a ride in an open bus. Buses operate 24 hour for 7 days. refund To be a party queen is to go shopping to buy a luxury and sexy dress and then return the next day saying, “oh, sorry, it doesn’t fit me!” Make sure the dress does not get dirty and pack it properly. be friends with foxes Foxes are everywhere, prepare a pack of chips to feed them to ease a feeling of loneliness. no cycling and motorbike lines Join a dangerous road trip in busy traffic jams. Who is the winner between a cyclist and a car driver on the road? 99p The classic ice cream is called 99p, but, in fact it is sold for £1.99.

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8

Chris Hotson’s cycling catastrophes Oh, Oh, ~~ no~~~ no~

Crashing

pre sen tt he ani ma t

hav I s rel roa evera ativel e cras y l he dm aro ounta rash month few t d act und in s a ime a on bit co a cor on a w ually i go I le s, but s! I arn et me my s mpet ner e helm tres, ide an itive (I mu day w was c d how h y s t d w e t c e e sto t (I arin slid ith adm n I l ling painf ppe ost t g dow ul a h w l a m o My d o it I d n sho I was to bu y jers g the frien was g grip g n a wer uld o e er still y a n y an road ds). ettin ing e wer really , back clippe ew on d crac for a I fell g e). kin er di scr , hi few cou eally q aped p, kne nto th When g my u e ple I u e of ite pa p and and le peda was ls! wee bru i f n t f ks! ul f ised han d or a and

ed

Freezing

is ridiculous h f o res u t en v d a

bic

The n aive 26yea r-o l

Snapping o t proud s i guy h is Buying a cheap $70 bike from Walmart in the USA to use for 2 t i r months. Going out for a ride with my (rather unfit) friend… dB The ‘worst’ part:- the pedal snapping off during the ride, causing the bike to be effectively written-off. The ‘best’ part:- having to pedal with only one leg, but still being faster than my friend!

One man’s incredible, life-affirming ex

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ing

us

s, bicycle trip

en ges ,e xpl ori ng u

One of the worst experiences I’ve ever had on a bicycle was attempting a 100-mile ride through the night across the West Country of England. It was an organised ride known as the “Exmouth Exodus”. I was quite new to cycling and inexperienced. We gave up on the ride after about 40 miles when we got too cold, but that was just the beginning – it was the middle of the night and we were on a dark road in the middle of nowhere! We cycled about 15 miles to the nearest town, trying to find somewhere to stay the night – somewhere we could be warm! The only hotel we found had no rooms left. We ended up spending the rest of the night sitting on a park bench, wrapped up in any extra clothes we had, and waiting for the sun to come up!

neys. r u o j ted r a nch a f sto cci ca the lame ve o dent mpin On plo gas . T ver ally g tr one h w i k d bec ed. S cani e fla hen icked p, a f aus om ste me it h ri tri e it e ot r, w sta had er ca end r a h ed h mp t wa er ich ted m em he f s a g s tri wo hea assiv ing u tin e y id pty ire as f ed t ld g the ea – (!). extin ire i hrow have up a ellow he Eve gui t d ing eve rou sto put ntua sher id no wat ntua nd lly in th er lly v a out e. It plast my the ing. on exi c o au c b fri ca We it, we f oxy sed t in u end h mp bu the but nt ge he psi ad t n out n an st de- a g it w . d t ove dow ood as he to n o fla ru ver me n

ll a h c s ou r t ns o gm Exploding n i c a f

Dehydrating

I in th was e US a and t I Nati decided the tim onal t back Park o cycle e – in up t , h e me, next stay th into the state Ne b pann ut I onl day. I w e night beautif w York, y u i i a brou er bags, had my nted to n a mot l Adiron e ght dack s r b l o , an a r c i Ih ng in 6 it w as so litres o ad built g bike, w some s d come tuff f wa also a tr hich hot t a s w 5 mi tupidly I drank er for a iler to t doesn’t ith it al forg les f c o 2 a l and 1/2 ho w behin rry otte rom I thi ur n d t n n eat k I’ve ev he mote to bring early ra journey it. I the n l , e a I r but o n got ut! ys ha sa cont inue ltiest th d – had t one of ports dr I had . the the o st ing I wo inks, ho The n op h had tel win ext day ad – Dor , massa rst cra so st do m ge I it hadn upidly n w – it w got a sh os – bef it, and ps ot lo o ’t pa o a c r s k eIc win whe oke ck back o was ed enoug d at th dy, rainy n I look uld e h wa cold e d a w n ou e d a and r pret m cloth ther for cold! I t ty m e e isera s – the cast and jour ble! ney

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10

The World of

Dumplings

Dumplings in Poland Peirogi and Uszka Peirogi are a very popular Polish food. They are a type of dumpling. Due to the small size of the dumpling, and the fact that they are normally served with more than 9 dumplings in a dish, the word Pierogi is plural. Pierogi are made of thinly rolled dough which is filled with various fillings. These could include: forcemeat, sauerkraut (preserved cabbage), mushroom or cheese.

white cheese. Pierogi are usually served with melted butter and sugar, melted butter and bacon bits. Another kind of pierogi popular in summer is sweet pierogi. Seasonal fruits, such as strawberry and blueberry, are used as the filling. A specially prepared sweetened Polish curd cheese, called a white cheese, is often served with them.

According to Polish tradition, the food must be meatless on Christmas Eve dinner. For this reason, a vegetarian variant of perogi, made from mushrooms and a cabbage, is served up during that day. Dumplings are an essential part of Polish food culture, and feature prominently in a Pole’s childhood memory. Dumplings are an important part of the Christmas Eve dinner, but also a cheap snack option.

Another type of traditional Polish dumplings is called uszka. These are much smaller than pierogi, and their name translated into English means “little ears.” Uszka have a quite complicated shape, and are usually filled with mushroom or meat. While uszka are normally eaten as a side dish or added to soup, on Christmas Eve, a special kind of pierogi is served in a red beet clear borscht (soup) or a traditional dried mushroom borscht.

One of popular pierogi is ruskie pierogi. In English, it is called Russian pierogi, even though its origin is not Russian. In this case, the filling is made of cooked potatoes, stir-fried onion, with a

Polish dumplings are often served with butter, which makes them quite oily. The texture of the Pierogi skin is thick and rough, which is a stark contrast to the dumplings in Orient.

Place where you can try dumpings in London Mamuska: Unit 233, 1st floor Elephant & Castle shopping Centre, London, Se1 6TE. Tel: (020) 3602-1898. Opening hours: 09:00 – 00:00 everyday. Patio: 5 Goldhawk Road, London, W12 8 QQ. Tel: (020) 8743 5194. Opening hours: 12:00-15:00/ 18:0023:00 Mon-Fri, 18:00 – 23:30 Sat-Sun. Ognisko: 55 Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2PN. Tel : (020) 7589 4635. Opening hours: 12:00- 23:00 everyday.

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Dumplings in Taiwan Steamed Dumplings- Xiao Long Bao Wrapping a generous amount of filled pork in a thin skin of dough, steamed until skin becomes translucent and added to a rich broth, makes this traditional Asian food tender and juicy. Always served with soy sauce, ginger, vinegar and other seasonings in side dishes. Locals hold the dumpling between their chopsticks and first bite the edge of them and suck out any broth, then dip the opened dumpling into one of the side dishes for extra flavour. According to the history, it is said that steamed dumplings first showed in the Northern Song dynasty ( 960 – 1127) as Shandong Meihua Baozi. The dumplings were introduced to Taiwan by immigrants from the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang when they relocated to the island when the Communist movement was taking hold in China. After years of research and refinement, these steamed dumplings have developed into an internationally famous Taiwanese snack. Compared to Polish dumplings, Taiwanese dumplings have a very slippery skin. When you

eat them, they slide smoothly down the throat straight. With more than 14 folds the shape of dumpling looks like a bell when in the steamer, but also looks like a lantern when lifted with chopsticks. According to Taiwanese dumpling chain Din Tai Fung, at least 100,000,000 dumplings are sold in a year. These sales figures are aided by countless number of tourist from Japan and China who choose to enjoy Taiwanese dumplings while travelling the region. The secret to making a good Taiwanese dumpling is the proportion of the ingredients. The proportions of flour, water and fillings need to be in exactly the right ratio. The meat itself needs the right proportion of fat to actually meat. But not only the ingredients are important, the timing is also essential. The exact amount of time to be taken to steam them effects the flavour. An experienced chef develops his own secrets in the preparation and ratios of the ingredients to make the perfect dumpling.

Leongs Legends: 4 Macclesfield Street, Westminster, W1D 6AX. Free delivery for order over £18, charge of £ 3 applies. Tel: (020) 728 -7028, Opening hours: 17:30 – 00:00 everyday. Ping Pong : 29a James Street, London, W1U 1 DZ. Tel : (020) 7034 3100. Opening hours: 11:00 - 20:30 MonWed, 12:00 - 20:30 Sun. Yauatcha : 15 Broadwick Street, London, W1F 0DL. Tel : (020) 7494 8888. Opening hours: 12:00 – 11:30 Mon- Sat, 12:00 – 23:00 Sun.

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Xiao Long Bao Filling

Soup

2LT water 1kg chicken bones (wings/back/neck) 56g of ham, cut into 4 piece 0.25 kilo of pork skin 2.5cm piece of ginger, sliced into 4-5 ginger “coins” 2 green onions, cut into 7.5 cm pieces 2 large garlic cloves, smashed with side of your knife 2 tsp of Chinese rice wine

1.2kg 1 4 1 2 2

Wash the pork. Scrape the surface of the pork skin, this will help produce a cleaner soup. Put all ingredients in a large stockpot. After all ingredients are boiled, turn to low heat immediately and simmer for 2 hours. As the soup is done, discard solids.

Covering

0.45kg 0.45kg 3 cups

plain flour gluten flour warm water (about 32°C to 43°C)

fresh pork tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped tbsp salt tsp light soy sauce tsp toasted sesame oil tbsp wine tbsp cornstarch Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl.

Pour 2 cups of warm water into a big bowl to mix all flour with hands until the dough forms a ball. Then the dough can stretch when it gets lightly pulled. Set it aside to rest for 20 minutes.

After resting, roll the dough piece into a thin and flat circle. Use a teaspoon to fill 70% of the meat and 30% of the soup into each the circle of dough. Fold as many as you can, 18 folds would be ideal. After folding all dumplings, place it onto the lined bamboo steamer. Let the water boil and the dumplings steam for 8 -10 minutes. `You can buy all these ingredients from China Town. Enjoy it, plate it, and taste it!

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L

U

K

A

N

G

The classic old town with traditional Chinese taste in Taiwan, by Tara Su Named by the shape of topography – the shape of deer harbor. It is located in Northwest Taiwan with a population of approximately 85,900 people and is famous for traditional Chinese monuments, temples and food.

T

he lanterns are as red as blood; a pile of curled roofs with a sculpture of dragons as if it goes to the sky, and never stops smoking the fur nace. These are all signs of the Lukang Taianho Temple. In the end of the Ming Dynasty era (1636 to 1644), the ancients immigrated from China to Formosa ( Named by Portuguese when they saw the Island at first time)Taiwan t o e s c a p e t h e Wa r o f Q i n g Dynasty by ships, however, a few people successfully arrived at this beautiful place – countless people died in Taiwan Strait. Ancients built the Lukang Tianhou Temple to wish having

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blessedness to back their original home safely. The temple has been rebuildt at least 12 times to remain its culture. From inside to outside, all wooden sculptures are made by famous artists. The Lukang Tianhou Temple is very busy every day for so many tourist and believers. Fruit and Taiwanese snacks are popular to use to pray for Mazu – goddess of the sea in Taoism to protect fishermen and sailors. Believers burn incense sticks to pray and the smoking might bring believers’ wishes to Mazu.

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Oyster thin noodles Oyster thin noodles served in the diner are handmade before being steamed for 7-8 hours to be chewy and not mushy. The soup is cooked in medium fire for 3-4 hours to be fresh and not greasy. The oysters are prepared to retain their freshness and sweetness. As for the milkfish ball, it is firm in texture and soft in a delicate way. One will need to have the first mouthful to understand how good it is. In addition to the oyster thin noodles, there are also thin noodles with fish paste that are made from fresh milkfish, so that the texture of paste is soft in an adequate way. This dish is a favorite of the gourmets. Two ingredients added into the soup are fried onion and shredded bamboo shoots, making it absolutely delicious. The diner also prepares a house spicy oil for spicy food lovers to add a few drops into the thin noodles which will bring out a whole new sensation.

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Ba Wan - Taiwanese Meatballs Ba wan is a uniquely Taiwanese dish and typically sold by street vendors throughout the island. The meatball is sufficient stuffed with minced pork, shiitake and enhance the fresh bamboo shoots with sweet red sauce, also garnished with a bit of parsley. The skin is soft and smooth. The Ba Wan can be purchased steamed or fried.

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O-A-Zen – Oyster OmeletSu Made with fresh oyster, sweet potato starch, eggs and green leafy vegetables – all pan-fried with high heat, served with a specially concocted sweet sauce.

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20

Kindness in Helsinki

To d a y i s C h r i s t m a s Eve. It is -20 °C here at Helsinki, the capital city of Finland. Countless numbers of white snow flakes are falling from the sky. The heavy snow absorbs the noise of the cars, the music and the voices of people talking. I trudge down to the bus stop to wait for the bus. There is not a person to be seen on the street. All the roads, cars and houses are covered by pure white snow. I waite for 10 minutes, my fingers and nose freezing, stamping my legs in attempt to shake off the chill. Just before I die of hypothermia, the bus turns up. I enter the bus, feeling the relief to be sheltered

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from the cold. My runny nose is evident to all as I ask “How much for a student ticket?” He looks at me and answers “1.5 Euro.” I reach into my purse and hand him the coins. To my surprise, he returns the money to me. “Merry Christmas! Have a seat.” while his eyes twinkle in my direction. Even though the money is not enough to buy an ice cream, or even a packet of chips, this act of generosity and Christmas spirit from the driver warms my heart. I don’t need presents this Christmas. The warmth and love of my friends and acquaintances is the best Christmas gift I could receive.

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Australians, Scots and Coaches

Today I am in Oxford with some of my friends. Unfortunately, We lose the reservation number for the coach back to London. The Ticket booth operator would rather that we buy new tickets, rather than trying to help us locate our previous reservation. In the course of the discussion, he runs out of patience to work through the situation with us. When he speaks to us, we cannot understand his words. I am not sure if he is mumbling, or speaking too fast. Whichever it is, there is no way to communicate with him, without upsetting his temper. However, while this discourse is happening, there is an Australian lady who witnesses everything. She approaches us and offers to call the Coach Company and helps us come to a resolution. So I ask her

"

"

Is he speaking English?

The Lady explains, "This ticket booth operator is from Scotland. And he is speaking with a very thick accent. For this reason, it is hard for people who are not native English speakers to understand him." Although the Scotsman has a bad attitude, the patient and well mannered Australian is able to help us sort out the situation.

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an

Bad M

rs

ai P n i s ner

A

ll the train cars are full of people, there are no seats free. A young French father with his little daughter comes into the car. No one leaves their seat. Everyone just ignores them, pretending to sleep or avoiding any eye contact. What is happening to society? Is there no place for sympathy? I have seen this situation recently. I look around, no one is going to take action. Either I do something, or I allow myself to become part of the problem. I leave my seat immediately. I smile to the father and say, “come here, take my seat.” The little girl smiles, and looks at her father, waiting for permission to accept my offer. Her father says thank you in French while his daughter rushes to the seat

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to enjoy the comfort of it. Actions like this don’t go unnoticed. Showing kindness and sympathy to others, stirs in the observers heart guilt. They start to ponder why it is that they don’t think of being kind. Maybe it will affect their actions next time they see a similar situation. I am glad to hear a young French man says to me, “ you can have my seat.” It shows that my action don’t go unnoticed. That maybe by showing kindness to others, we can spur others on to show kindness to strangers too. Be brave to try to act the way you think people should, as this can have a lasting effect on others.

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Romance in Rome

25

On my travels to Rome, I pass a famous church. This is the church that sits next to the National monument which is dedicated to Victor Emmanual II. I walk into the church to admire the beautiful architecture. When I enter, I see more than beautiful architecture. I am greeted by traditional chandeliers all alight. The church is full of people: The w omen wearing elegant and costly dresses, the men wearing formal suits. I wait in anticipation to see why everyone is dressed up so finely. After 10 minutes of sitting there, I notice classic wedding music playing. This is the first Italian wedding I have ever attended. The groom and the bride are coming to say their vows to each other. The father accompanies the bride walking down the red carpet. Her face is full of joy. It is such a beautiful occasion.

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KACKING KRAKOW By Tara Su Thinking of travelling to Poland? There are many good reasons why Krakow should be the top of your list when it comes to Polish destinations. While at school, we learn about foreign destinations and historical events from textbooks. Travelling to Krakow gives us an opportunity to see real places where history was made. It is in Krakow that you can visit Auschwitz and Birkenau, the famous WWII concentration camps. The Wieliczka Salt Mine and the Old Krakow Town give us an insight into other aspects of history too. If these places were not on your “must visit before I die� list, then it might be time to add them.

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Auschwitz and Birkenau Concentration Camps:

Auschwitz I: These Nazi concentration camps are located in Oswiecim, which is about 60 km south west of Krakow. On entering the camp you will read signs containing the German phrase “Arbeit Macht Frei”. This means “ labor makes (you) free ”. What a wonderful way to give prisoners a feeling of no hope. It is hard to imagine, with all the freedom, equality, and fraternity that we enjoy in the 21st century, how thousands upon thousands of Hungarian Jews worked day and night. All the while they worked, the Nazi attempted to make them believe that, that was what freedom was. The barracks are no longer used as a prison camp, but display the National Memorials and Museum exhibitions. Building 11 is worth a look. It used to be the most feared building because no one who entered there ever returned alive. All the barracks windows facing the courtyard used to be boarded up, so that the inmates could hear the screams without being able to see exactly what was happening. Standing outside the buildings you can imagine, in the voice of the wind, the sound of the prisoners crying in their miseries. Sadly a lot of lives were lost in just a small fraction of time in this camp. In memory of all those lives, the museum includes a great number of items that are all that remain of the many people who entered into the front gates. This collection includes: 460 prostheses, 40kg of eyeglasses, 12,000 pots and pans, 3,800 suitcases, and 80,000 shoes, 6,000 works of art and around 570 items of camp clothing. On top of that, the Museum Archives contains book collections that fill about 250 metres of shelving. These include: 48 volumes of the so-called camp death books, 248 volumes of records from the Waffen-SS and Police Central Construction Board in Auschwitz, 64 volumes of records from the SS-Hygiene Institut, 16 volumes of personal files on prisoners, and about 8,000 camp letters.

Auschwitz II concentration camp: Birkenau At Birkenau, the concentration camp has been preserved as a memorial to the terrors that the prisoners experienced. During 1944, which was near the end of

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World War II, day and night, thousands of Hungarian Jews, in freight trains that were 40 to 50 cars long, rolled through the red brick gate house. The gate was named the “Gate of Death” by the prisoners. According to the Auschwitz museum, at one stage, approximated 12,000 Hungarian Jews were being gassed and burned each day. This lasted 10 weeks. In modern times, the gate housed was remodelled with a new pedestrian gate on each side. Stephen Spielberg’s movie 'Schindler’s List' was shot on location at Birkenau. In one the scenes, it appears that the actors are exiting the train inside the camp, but the footage was actually taken with the actors alighting outside the camp. Walking around the 200 hectare grounds of the camp itself, a visitor may notice: over 13 km of fencing, 3,600 concrete fence posts, a spur and unloading platform, two original sewagetreatment plants, and fireprevention reservoirs. A remade freight car is on display, which portrays a group of 80 Jews imprisoned within. Similar cars were used to transport unfortunate individuals to be gassed to the gas chambers. Although, since the war, the gas chambers have been dismantled, several barracks wherein the camp’s inmates lived and the rubble from the chambers remain. The camps hold an important place in history. While there is a depressing feeling during the journey. There is also the respect that is felt towards those who endured it. Both for those who survived, and for those who didn’t. An enduring reminder of the destructive potential of racism. Entry into the camps is free. Guided tours are also available for Aushwitz for a small cost. These are available in many languages, including English. The tour covers both Auschwitz and Birkenau Concentration Camps and takes around 6-8 hours to complete. For this reason, a whole day is needed to fully appreciate the history of this place. Note: There are restrictions between April to October 2013. For guided groups, the entry to the site is exclusively between 10 am to 3pm.

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31 Wieliczka Salt Mine More than one million tourists from all over the world each year come to see this mine. It is one of the most valuable monuments of material in Poland. It is 135 meters underground and was among twelve objects on the UNESCO’s World Cultural and Natural Heritage List in 1978. The salt in Wieliczka is dated at about 14 million years old. The salt deposits are formed of two different parts: The Upper block or lump deposit was formed as claystone and claystone with halite crystals, and is called Zubry. The lower deposit consists of layers of rock salts alternating with interlayers of gangue – it is a bedded deposit. The Salt Mine gives the appearance of luxurious crystal sleeping. It is brilliant quiet and stunning. The Salt Mine secrets were discovered in the 12 century by a lock Duke to mine the rich deposits of salt that lay beneath. In the 15th c e n t u r y, a b o u t 3 5 0 people worked at the Wieliczka salt works and only 8,000 tones of salt were produced a n n u a l l y. I n m o r e modern times this has dramatically increased: In the mid-17th Century the saltworks achieved an output of over 30,000 tones of salt. Saxon treadmills that hauled salt to the surface were introduced in the mine in the 18th Century. Visiting the mines today will allow you to view a replica of a 18th Century Saxon treadmill. During the years between the Worlds Wars, the mine did not expand its territories and salt exploitation was continued within the boundaries marked by the Australians. During Nazi occupation, the several thousand Jews were transported from the forced labour camps to the Wieliczka mine to

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work in an underground armament factory set up by the Germans. In 1951 the institution was created. By 1966, Krakow Saltworks Museum was open the underground for public. During the trip, things to look out for include: the statue of John Paul II which is sculpted at the mine as a thanksgiving offering for the canonization of Blessed King; the Crystal Grottoes, a modern saltwater treatment plant, a state-of-the-art boiler house, the chandeliers in the cathedral are made of salt and underground lake. Tourists can also use their fingers to taste the salt, which is thousands of years old. However, as many tourists have touched the salt, it is no longer as tasty as it may once have been. From the outside, the W ieliczka Salt Mine doesn’t look attractive, but over hundred metres below ground it holds an astonishing secret: a breathtaking record of their time u n d e r g ro u n d i n t h e shape of statues of mythic, religious and historical figures. Entrance to the salt mine involves climbing down one hundred and fifty meter down wooden stairs into the underground salt mine. It is quite cold way down in the deep underground, so warm jackets are a wise idea. To ensure no tourists are lost in the underground maze, all guests are required to be part of a guided tour. These are available in many languages. The whole exploration takes 2-3 hours. Entry price: 75zf / regular 1 person, 60zf/ discount 1 person, 210 zf/ family 4 persons

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The Old Town The main market square has an area of 40,000 square metres,which makes it the largest in Europe. Going straight to centre to the Cloth Hall, reveals numerous arts and crafts market stalls. If you need a suitable gift for a friend (or for yourself), you might consider a piece of elegant amber jewelry. The yellowish-brown amber stone is one of Poland’s national resources, and some exquisite and unique pieces are easily available in the main market square. A visit to the main market square allows the visitor to try the amazing local foods. Polish dumplings, Polish cabbage rolls or Polish pancakes are easily available and well worth the experience. Visiting the renowned St. Mary’s church, which was built in 1221 on the site of an earlier wooden temple, one can imagine the original baroque design. However in the late 19th century the interior was redone with neo-gothic style by some of Polands famous artists’. After visiting the church, climbing the 239 steps of the 82-meter trumpeter's tower reveals a panoramic view of the Old Town.

Wawel Royal Castle Wawel Castle includes palaces and a cathedral, and overlooks the Vistula river from a raised rock outcropping. As Wawel Castle stands today, it is made up of buildings from different eras. Archeological evidence suggests that Wawel Hill was used as a settlement at different times during its history. Some of Wawel’s state rooms and private royal chambers are open to the public. A “mustsee” sight is the Wawel Cathedral, which has been the sight of royal coronations and also a burial site for Polish kings. It is beneficial to read up a little on Polish history, in particular the history of this castle, before visiting the palaces and the cathedral. The Wawel Castle is simple and undecorated when you compare it against the extravagant Palace of Versailles in Paris, or the Palace Pitti in Florence which is full of works of art. But when a visitor is aware of its history, the visit can be equally as enchanting. So if you want a ”kracking” good time, head down to Krakow and enjoy a glimpse into the history of Poland.

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Top 3 Things You Need to Know In Krakow By Tara Su

Train tickets For short transport, only Polish students could buy the student ticket. English is not the popular language in Poland, so the best way to communicate clearly is by writing down the date you want to travel and your destination city or station. Although some stations don't have sales offices or ticket machines, passengers can buy a ticket from a ticket checker on a train.

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Confusing entrance fee system in Wawel Castle The ticket office must be inspired from the communist times of the country - the complicated ticket options – pay a separate ticket for each part of the different sections. There are ticket machines to worth-while sights like the dragon's den and the castle tower, but there's no information about the existence of these at the entrance. It would be hard to come up with a worse way to administer a place like this if you don’t plan it in advance.

Shopping Malls 'Bonarka' is open from 10 am to 10 pm every day; and 'Galeria Kazimlerz' is open from 10 am to 10 pm from Mondays to Saturdays and from10 am to 8 pm on Sundays, which is different to European shops. In Europe, most shops are closed by 7 pm.

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Tara  
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