Yesterday I walked through what once was the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw.
Words are not good enough for this powerful experience. My guide (whose hand you see here with a map of the ghetto) was the perfect match for my curiosity, because I wanted to know everything there is to know and see every site still intact, which isn't exactly an easy ask.
But I saw more than I could have imagined, even though 85% of Warsaw was destroyed in WW2. Anything that wasn't destroyed in the invasion or in The Uprising was systematically flattened by the Germans. The ghetto itself was pretty much obliterated after the last Jews were sent to the gas chambers in Treblinka.
Then, more devastation followed when the Russians liberated the smoldering ruins.
The city is a massive tomb; they still regularly discover hastily dug graves when they turn over the earth at building sites.
To give you an idea of the scale of devastation, at the time of the German invasion in 1939, Warsaw had a population of 1.3 million. Only 1000 people remained in the ruins at war's end in the spring of 1945.
I could go on and on and onnnnnn about everything I saw and felt in Warsaw. To be honest, I'm completely taken by surprise ... I did not expect such intensity from this city.
I expected to pop in and out, recouping a bit from France and Germany, and laying low for a few days. Instead I'm leaving Warsaw totally knackered, bursting with experiences I'll never forget, and a hunger for more.