I'm in Warsaw tonight. Only had part of an afternoon so I headed to the cemetery. Google Powazki and Okopowa cemeteries to see what the big deal is. I went in the north at Powazki. Some ok stuff there. I eventually headed south, then on the east wall walked through the wall and into the Okopowa cemetery. I didn't realize it was closed on Saturdays until I made my way to the gate at the south east only to find it locked. I then had 45 minutes to get back to the way I went in, barely made it. The cemetaries are enormous.
The Powazki is somewhat taken care of. Step through the brick wall in the Okopowa and it's a forest with gravestones. A lot of it looks untouched since WW2. Here and there are some paths deep into this part of the cemetery. Or you could go in the gate at the south east, just not on Saturday, and start on paved paths and make your way into the hard to reach bits.
Go in the late afternoon, you get the occasional shaft of light penetrating the trees. Use copious amounts of bug spray. It's been a wet summer and the mozzies were ridiculous.
Krakow, yeah the old downtown bit, and the castles. Also do the salt mine. A little touristy but pretty cool. Hey it's an UNESCO site for a reason.
Auschwitz/Birkenau. I think it was 2008 when I was there. At that time you went through the small Auschwitz camp on a tour only. The rules were kind of in flux then so maybe they let you go on your own again. The barracks with the incredible amount of human hair and shoes were no photos allowed. Not sure why, but the tour leader seemed to know people were going to take photos and left us to it. At the big camp we also got a tour but then were left to our own at the end. It's huge but then you have tiny things like a few stones or a candle left at the entry to the gas chambers that maybe got across what happened there better than a wide angle of the place. If you're lucky there will be a survivor there while you're there. Telling their story, maybe walking around with their family.