Where I’ve Been

I’ve spent the last two weekends away from home, something I rarely (read: never) do.

One

The first trip was to Edinburgh for two nights, to sample a little of the Fringe. I’d never been to the Fringe before, and to be honest I didn’t manage to do a lot while I was there, but it was a good experience anyhow.

On the Saturday I spent most of my time getting used to the city, and saw two shows. The first was Helen Arney’s Voice of an Angle, which was a fun, geeky show combining music, science and maths, and worth seeing if you like that kind of thing. The second was Jarred Christmas’ Lets Go MoFo, which was great (although the room was like an oven).

Sunday I went up to the castle for the morning, which was interesting. Got there before the crowds got big, which is worth trying to do. At midday I went to see Domestic Science, a free show by Helen Arney and Rob Wells, which was fun and a bit different. I wasted too much time in the afternoon deciding what to see, but ended up watching Gemma Arrowsmith’s Defender of Earth, a one-woman character comedy show. It took me a little while to get into it, but I enjoyed it.

After that I saw Diane Spencer’s Exquisite Bad Taste, which was probably the best comedy of the whole weekend. Very good show, totally filthy, would definitely recommend.

The highlight of the weekend, though, was the last thing seen: An Evening with Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman. Music, poetry, short story readings, and two very funny supporting acts (Andrew O’Neill and Michael Pope). It was a great night out.

Two

This weekend was a completely different experience: on Friday I flew out to Krakow with my parents and several others. It was a good weekend – we stayed in the Jewish quarter, Kazimierz, and mostly walked around the town and visited a lot of interesting bars and restaurants (disclaimer: I was the non-drinker on this trip). it was very, very hot.

I’d particularly recommend three restaurants we ate in: Kogel Mogel, a communist-themed place near the main market square in Old Town; Rocking Horse, on Poselska street, which had the best food (I ate pork wrapped in smoked bacon, stuffed with chicken and walnuts: delicious); and finally Pod Wawelem, right next to Wawel Castle, which had a very different style and atmosphere (though it was very busy).

*

Monday was very different from the rest of the weekend, as we visited Auschwitz and Auschwitz II Birkenau. The museum at Auschwitz I is excellent – the displays of the personal belongings of Jews killed in Birkenau are well-designed to give you a sense of the massive scale of what happened there. There is a room in Auschwitz containing the shaved hair of approximately 40,000 people.

Birkenau was much bigger than I’d anticipated. There is not a lot left of the buildings, but the ruins extend across a huge area. It’s quite sobering when you first see it.

Three?

I don’t have any more travelling planned at the moment. At the very least, I don’t expect to leave the country any time soon. Along with my trip to Canada, I’ve done more travelling in the last 4 months than I had in the 12 years prior to it.

The next time I travel might not be until 2013, but I’ve done plenty of it to last me until then, I think.

I’ve missed my deadline for the Book-A-Week post this week. This is more down to negligence than lack of time – I finished reading Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box last Wednesday. I’ll be catching up soon. In a few weeks time the new expansion pack for World of Warcraft will come out, but I don’t intend to let it occupy so much of my time that I don’t keep up with the reading and reviewing.

(Words WordPress doesn’t know: It knows Auschwitz, but not Birkenau.)

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