Of all the historical events, eras, and sagas taught in grade school history classes, none is more rigorously discussed that the Second World War and, more specifically, the atrocities of the Holocaust. While I learned a great deal about topic during my formal education, sadly the vast majority of my knowledge developed solely out of a need to pass an exam. I remember hearing unbelievably emotional stories from friends who visited concentration camps such as Auschwitz and vowed to visit at least one of these camps during my lifetime. More than a simple social obligation, I felt the need to see Auschwitz with my own two eyes to gain a better understanding of the events that transpired in this region of the world. Since the poster child for atrocities committed during WWII - Auschwitz II Birkenau - is located just outside of Krakow, I could not leave Poland without a visit.
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I can’t seem to get enough of Germany. There is just something about this great country that I find fascinating. It might be that everything here is so much cheaper than the rest of Europe, that transportation is wonderfully efficient, that a beer cost as much as a bottle of soda, that the food is spectacular, or that the people here are so welcoming, but damn if I'm not in love with this country. From Ireland, I booked a cheap flight to Oslo for €20, but once I realized how absurdly expensive Norway is, I was not keen on spending the next month of my life hemorrhaging money in Scandinavia. I debated returning to Germany, until a friend of mine from the US, Jon, told me he had one week off between jobs and wanted to visit Berlin. I was all too happy to skip my flight to Oslo and book a new flight to Germany at the last minute.