I know I planned to update you all on a daily and then on city basis but things got to be kind of crazy with lack of sleep and the pace that this trip went. Three weeks is such a short amount of time and the constant switching of cities made things a bit more difficult to process. I do not think I have ever felt so exhausted, so uncomfortable, so vulnerable, and so thankful in my whole life.
After the great time I had in Berlin we headed to Prague. It was not my favorite city last time and the heat caused it to be the bane of my existence this time. The architecture is great when it is not boiling outside. I developed a cough on the first day in the city and a few heat rashes. I could not sleep the majority of the time there because the heat reached unbearable temperatures. The last day we were in the city, the temperature dropped a bit and was tolerable. It also happened to be the day that we went to Lidice. This is a town that was completely destroyed and wiped off the earth. Nothing remains except the foundations of a few buildings, not even graves. I was struck by the fact that some women survived but were not represented in the memorial. It seems like the only way to be remembered is to be a victim and die.
My depression was also a struggle this trip. I was constantly feeling worthless, unwanted, and unloved. I felt like I could not relate to anyone and that no one wanted to relate to me. It was so hard that many nights I would blow up at my fellow students and Dr. Blutinger. They did not understand nor do I expect them to. I do not even understand what I am feeling most of the time.
Vienna was a great improvement from Prague. It is such a cool city with great food and coffee. We went to Mauthausen concentration camp, which was a hard hike. I seriously felt like Dr. Blutinger was trying to kill me. I did not really notice much within the camp because I was tired, but I plan to look at the history of the brothels within the camp and see what I can find on women. On our free day I finally got to go on the Riesenrad and see the whole city. It is a giant ferris wheel that is similar to the London Eye but a lot older and smaller. We also walked quite some distance in the rain to get to the zoo, which I did not enjoy because I was soaked through and my umbrella decided to commit suicide.
Budapest was wonderful. The city is absolutely stunning and one of the cheaper cities we stayed in. I felt so weird though because I felt like the city still has not learned from it past and continues to choose right-wing extremist ideals. The fact that Roma are still actively persecuted in Hungary is terrible and I just cannot believe that antisemitism and other forms of extreme prejudice is on the rise. Do we learn nothing from our past?
We stayed in two cities in Poland: Warsaw and Krakow. I love Warsaw because I love the big city feel it gives and the variety of things to do. I got to go out to some hipster bars and see the zoo where Jews were hidden during the Holocaust. I also got to know the city more and have wonderful food. I really love sour rye soup so whenever I had the opportunity, I ordered it.
I think Krakow is where I finally got to share how I was feeling with at least two of my group and things started to get better the last night I was there. I kind of sort of feel like we ended the trip in Auschwitz. I felt that way last time too. It just seems like when studying the Holocaust all roads lead to Auschwitz. I am still not sure what this means for me.
The title of this blog reflects very much how I am feeling. I am processing everything that has happened in the last weeks and it is still weird to think that a few days ago my life was in Poland. As I process more, I will update my thoughts.