We’re already very found of the Center for Dialogue and Prayer (CDP) and its staffs. Working here are four cheerful young daytime receptionists and a grumpy man at night, the strong woman Berszka as the head receptionist and various maintenance men around. The German house priest Manfred and sister Mary from Ireland have both dedicated their lives to the center’s work.
They all know what we are here for and welcome us to sit in the lobby or to chat with them anytime. They’ve told us campers come and go, but that it’s rare to have people camping in their garden for over a week. Oswiecim isn’t exactly a magnet for long stays, they say, and as far as they know there has never been anyone doing a similar project to Ross. He has his own badge and can enter and leave the concentration camp (museum) whenever he wants to.
The house priest and Sister Mary have been here for respectively 30 and 20 years. Both have many similar tasks, but whereas Manfred works closely with groups of different Jews (and others) that come to seek answers and healing, Mary has more practical tasks of organising events like lunches and survivor speeches for the school groups. They both walk slowly, speak with comfortable voices and look you deeply into the eyes when you tell them something. They always comes over to my table for a daily small chat and when Ross is around at night they check on his work progress too.
A place gets a special touch with people like these. Ross and I talked it over and think it has to do with their clear and strong purposes with dedicating to the work of healing of the past for better chances of future world peace. Though I’m not religious I feel the presence of Goodness when they are around. Id like to have more time to just be around them all day, asking all kinds of stuff about this place’s history, happenings and the management of the concentration camp. One day, maybe..
I’ve already thought that I’d love to go back here to see the concentration camp in other seasons and to learn more about what tourism work in this place is like, and potentially write about it.
It’s so cool to think back at this stage, to when I was sitting by my desk in London, Leeds or at home on the farm, dreaming of a next journey.. I would never imagine ending up here in Auschwitz for two weeks with a longtime friend I’ve hardly spoken to over the last four years…
Ah, life is beautiful.
Studying tourism is awesome!
We get to travel to places to practically learn more about tourism, its development and economy, impact on communities, different issues that can occur and how to responsibly manage destinations.
Today the whole class with teachers went to Yorkshire Dales.
It’s a cute little village in Northern England surrounded by valleys. There we walked around in the quiet streets of town, had a lesson in a restaurant while eating scones and drinking tea, and went for a hike in the nature area designated Yorkshire Dales National Park, that covers 1,770 square kilometres.
As my camera battery went flat, I only got a few shots from town.
Beautiful right? A perfect spot to go for a tranquil romantic holiday while in Northern England, or on your way to Scotland or the Lake District. Also suitable for a hiking day as the village is in the middle of the enormous National Park.
Ah, and we counted 8 out of 10 elders wherever we went (yup, it’s one of these ‘old’ towns where young people leave to move into urban areas). Thus, Yorkshire Dales is also great for people interested in relaxing in a place (slow tourism) where plenty of retired people take their time sipping at a tea.
Yesterday we went back to a small and relatively unknown (yet to tourists) fish restaurant popularly called the Fish shack, originally named El Chiringuito de Maria. It’s a small family business and the same people are always on duty.
We only came here twice last year actually which I find very odd now that I think of it. Anyway, I especially remember one night before Cocoon with the big DJ’s and their crew how I just loved the familiarity about it all. To them it’s perhaps also one of the few places they’re left alone.
The restaurant is literally a shack placed on a hillside by the sea, where you can take a swim while waiting for your food at daytime, and watch the sunset while eating, or the old town on the other side of the bay, at night time. It’s situated next door to another more upscale restaurant called Sa Punta on the edge of Talamanca, close to the center of Ibiza, and has for long been what you’d call a hidden treasure on the island.
Outside of the main dining area small quirky tables and plastic chairs are randomly set out on the rocks for romantic dates. The waiters will on occasion tell you to pee in the bushes cause there is no toilet today, mosquitoes eat you alive and you get served amazing fresh, simple & authentic fish and seafood dishes. They have one meat option which is a plate of lamb chops that people tell me is perfect.
The menu varies from day to day according to the catches of the day. My favorites tend to be the tuna and jumbo prawns. All plates cost the same and are served with a salad and some special homemade potatoes, served cold. Delicious!
This place is definitely one of my top 3 favorite restaurants on the island.
Edit: Why not read about my top 7 feelgood restaurants in Ibiza too?