Welcome back to another throwback Thursday post, we are going to pick up where we left off previously where I shared the first part of the fourth day of our holiday in Krakow, Poland.
Day 4 of Krakow, Poland (24th June 2019) – Part 2, Wieliczka Salt Mine
When we left Auschwitz, we headed back on to the minibustowards the second part of our day trip, Wieliczka Salt Mine.
It was a little bit of a drive to get there, so we had a chance to nap a little bit and see a bit of the scenery on the way. I also had a look back through some of the photos I had taken at Auschwitz and a look through the little guide book I had bought.
Upon arriving at Wieliczka Salt Mine we bundled out of the minibus and walked up to the entrance. At this point we were told we needed to splt into two groups one group would enter the Wieliczka Salt Mine about an hour and a half after the other. Marysia and I ended up in the second group which actually worked in our favour!
Before either group went into Wieliczka Salt Mine our guide took us to a restaurant called Karczma Hallit where they had reserved tables for everyone. As it turned out there was only a handful of us who decided to eat there. Marysia and I knew we were eating out later with her parents so ordered some pierogi and chips to share but being in the second group to enter the Salt Mine meant we had longer to enjoy the restaurant and the food. The pierogi we had there was the best we had the whole time we were in Krakow.
As we had a little bit of time to spare before entering the Salt Mines, we also had a chance to have a little wonder around the grounds which were really pretty, there was even a fountain!
We then met up with the rest of the group who was entering the Salt Mines at the same time as us, we then headed inside where we were given a headset and met the guide who would be taking us around to the mine.
We entered through another door and faced hundreds of steps which felt like they were never going to end!
Our tour guide started the tour by telling us about the legend that surrounds the mine. It goes a little bit a long the lines of…. Poland’s princess made a wish following marrying an Austrian prince. Her wish was for Poland’s prosperity. She made this wish by throwing her engagement ring into an Austrian salt mine to seal the deal. The legend that following this is that Wieliczka Salt Mine was discovered afterwards, and the miners found her ring during the first excavation
Each chamber we came across was filled with sculptures of royalty, political figures, national heroes and also religious figures. It was incredible to think these sculptures had all been made out of the salt from the mine.
Alongside the various sculptures were demonstrations of how the mines operated, and again parts of these displays were made from salt.
One of the most impressive sights we came across was the Chapel of St Kinga. There were chandeliers, sculptures, wall decorations and even the alter was made from salt. This chamber was carved by 3 men over a 70-year period. I don’t think I could really describe how impressive it was to talk into this room as the sheer size of it really takes you back.
We also saw several pools which were also as impressive to look at as the sculptures. The water was such a deep blue it looked like it would be better placed in a film.
To get back up to the surface we got into a very reckety lift before rejoining the rest of our tour group and heading back to the bus.
We had a short drive back towards Krakow where we were dropped off and we walked back to the apartment to meet up with Marysia’s parents.
We then headed out to a restaurant called Restauracja “Pod Wawelem” Kompania Kuflowa where we ate the BIGGEST pork schnitzel, I have ever seen… it was so big it took up the entire plate itself and the chips were served on a seperate plate!
This day trip was an amazing experience and such a contrast visiting Auschwitz in the morning and then seeing Wieliczka Salt Mine in the afternoon. It would be good to go back and visit Auschwitz so that we could visit some of the parts we didn’t see as there is so much more to learn there. I would also love to go back to the Wieliczka Salt Mine as there were so many impressive chambers and sculptures to see.
I will be posting the fifth day from our Krakow adventures next Thursday at 6pm, so make sure you come back if you want to find out what we got up to!