We had to stop at a small convenience store to get snacks and other supplies. Our professors found what they were looking for, as did I! (Note to self: not all hotels will have shampoo that you can steal in case you lose your travel shampoo. Thank goodness this store had something that could keep me and my hair going for the trip!)

This may be a little off-topic, but I remember one of our guest speakers mentioning how UPS is very popular in Poland. This could mean that Poland is big on online shopping? Either way, it could mean that my cousin could be visiting Poland sometime soon (given that she works for UPS and has been to Europe for business trips).

There were also little street vendors which sold a variety of items. The one from the picture above was, by far, my favorite! It had lollipops and candies that looked like the characters from cute movies and cartoons and Psy from “Gangnam Style”! There were also items that looked like Lego figurines…I can’t remember if Dr. Manes purchased one for her son or not. Either way, it was a cute vendor to admire!

When we went on this trip, most of us knew that Poland was big on selling amber. One of our guest speakers informed us that Gdansk was the best place to purchase jewelry, but we still saw amber shops in the other places we visited! I don’t think there was someone on the trip who didn’t buy or consider buying amber! Amber was everywhere, and towards the end of the trip, we started seeing another common item in souvenir shops: the wooden music boxes. I ended up buying a box that played the theme from “Harry Potter” for my father. (Other boxes played “Star Wars”, “Winnie the Pooh”, “Swan Lake”…)

(There was so much amber…I was a little worried that I’d be tricked into purchasing fake amber, so I looked up how to tell the real thing from a knockoff.)

Everything was reasonably priced at souvenir shops and similar places. I never heard about anyone having to pay a ridiculous amount for a certain item. I think that some of the more expensive items were in the gift shops in Krakow. (And Krakow was big on the dragon-themed merchandise, given the legend associated with the dragon and that part of Poland!)

Some places had long lines for shopping, so I missed out on an opportunity to buy something at Malbork Castle. In hindsight, the other souvenirs I got were better than what I could have bought at that place. And the best thing that I got from the trip was something that couldn’t be purchased in any shop: the memories I made with my friends and the knowledge that I gained about the history of Polish Jews.’

Maura Kiefer ’19