Sometimes I drive 2.5 hours to another country just to take a photo of a cool memorial all by myself.
Then sometimes I turn around and drive back. It was well worth the trip.
I drove to Linz, Austria, to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp. Some people might think this isn't the happiest way to spend a Christmas vacation, but I loved the drive.
I have been to the Dachau concentration camp in Germany before and the feeling there was very heavy. I wasn't interested in going on a tour here - I came just to see this giant menorah memorial.
It is free to see the memorial, but you must obtain a ticket. As I was getting my ticket from the visitor center, the woman behind the desk wrote on my map and told me to go to the sculpture spot by the gorge and then walk through to the museum where I can visit two rooms for free as well.
I went to visit the two rooms. Might as well, right?! Well, the two rooms in the museum were the killing rooms and room of names listing around 82,000 victims. Thank you, visitor center lady for a rush of emotions.
The end of my trip was a walk by a beautiful gorge surrounding the area and a look at what are called the Stairs of Death.
It might not be the happiest place to visit and you might not get the happiest feelings there or maybe even looking at these photos, but it reminded me that I am lucky. We are lucky to be alive, to have freedom, and to learn from the past to be better people.