Derek's Time-Space Warp

A collection of thoughts and experiences as I explore the universe, warping time and space in my vicinity

Baltics Trip – Day #15: Krakow/Wieliczka, Poland

Day 15: Wieliczka / Krakow, Poland. We spent the morning and the better part of the afternoon in the nearby town of Wieliczka, home to a large salt mine of historical importance. We took an extensive guided tour through a small part of the mine, which lasted several hours. Fascinating stuff! There were stables for the work horses, chapels for the workers, carved salt statues and reliefs in the walls, and much more. Well worth the entrance fee (and the ankle discomfort!). Afterwards we returned to Krakow and hiked from the train station all the way to the Wawel Castle complex, a beautiful and architecturally eclectic collection of buildings within castle walls. It was too late to go inside, but the exterior and courtyards were amazing to see. We topped off the evening by having supper at a “milk bar,” a glorified cafeteria-style restaurant that’s a carry-over from Communist days. Tomorrow we fly back to Canada…it’s been quite a trip and I hope to make it back here again to explore some more!

Regional train between Krakow and Wieliczka

Gotta love the efficiencies of English/Polish translations

Entrance to the salt mine

Relief sculpture created entirely from salt

Salt crystals forming on wooden objects

Impressive wooden support structures designed to hold up the ceiling

“The Last Supper” carved out of salt

In the middle of the mine is a chapel, carved out of – you guessed it – salt. Even the chandeliers are made of salt. Apparently this place has been used as a venue for weddings.

Salt sculpture

These salt gnomes are a big hit with the kids that tour the mine

Horses were used at one time to operate the heavy machinery of the mines

Back in Krakow – a modern shopping center near the train station, all decorated for Christmas

Part of the old medieval city walls of Krakow

Florianska, the main drag through the Old Town part of Krakow. At one point we noticed a couple of “beggars” on the roadside, begging passersby for vodka money!! One local guy noticed and loudly shamed them in front of everybody for disgracing themselves and their city in such a manner. I couldn’t understand the angry Polish tirade but I assume that that’s what he was saying 😉

Florianska, the main drag through the Old Town part of Krakow. All decked out for Christmas.
Sunset over Krakow

Wawel Castle complex. The dragon is a big deal around here – legend tells that in 700 AD a cobbler named Krak killed the dragon Smok by feeding it a dead sheep full of sulphur. Krak later became king and was credited with building Wawel Castle.

Wawel Castle

Inside the Wawel Castle complex

Wawel Castle complex

Part of a menu at one of Krakow’s milk bars. I had no idea how to pronounce the Polish words, and the lady behind the counter didn’t understand English, so I took a photo of the menu with my phone, showed it to her and pointed to what I wanted. It worked!

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