19.07.2012 - 21.07.2012
Today we watched “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” in transit to the Mauthausen concentration camp. As a visual learner, this movie made the experience even more real and emotive before we even arrived. It was then coupled with my past experience of Auschwitz/Birkenau a few weeks prior and a documentary video once we got inside that showed real footage of how the Jews were treated, starved to death and just dumped on top of one another into the backs of trucks. It really made me feel sick- especially on approach to, and in, the actual gas chambers. I swear there are a lot of lost souls hanging out in there still crying out for help.
A lot of reflection happened this day.
To get back to the bus we had to descend down the “stairs of death.” Being as unknowledgeable as I was prior to this trip, I used to call the stairs at Kangaroo Point Cliffs in Brisbane the stairs of death during my exercise sessions… little did I know that there actually was such a thing. The stairs of death were 186 steep steps behind Mauthausen that lead down to a quarry. The prisoners were forced to carry blocks of stone up to 50kgs from the quarry back to camp- one behind the other. Most of the prisoners were unfit due to malnutrition, poor living conditions and hard labour so many of them collapsed with exhaustion which then created a horrific domino effect with the first prisoner falling onto the next and so on. I have never referred to the Kangaroo Point Cliffs as the ‘stairs of death’ since.
With the day’s events still very fresh in my mind, by evening I somehow found myself back in Prague marveling at the prettiness of the gothic masterpieces, the castle district and the Charles Bridge. It ended with my first taste of Absynthe and the attendance at Prague’s famous 5 story nightclub. I’m not much of a clubber myself, but this place was great. Each level had different types of music playing from techno to the 60s and 70s. They also had a room which was completely covered in mirrors that laser lights reflected off- I was like a kid in a candy shop in this room talk about an awesome sensory overload!... I never did see the green fairy though
In the morning, Cara and I hiked the million miles and up a hill to see the changing of the guard, admire the view and do some general touristing.