Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Eastern Europe, Day 6: Krakow

   Our second day in Krakow began early at 7AM sharp. Following a quick breakfast at the hotel, we left promptly at 8 and got on the bus to go to the salt mines. Our journey into the mines covered 3 km of walking and 135 m of vertical change. Following another bus ride and a quick lunch at a local cafe, we went on a self-guided tour of Oskar Schindler's factory. On the tour we learned all about the history of Krakow during the time of Nazi occupation. After a tram ride and walk we arrived at the Wawel Castle and Cathedral. At the castle we went on a tour and then took a look around the cathedral. Following some free time we enjoyed an excellent dinner then returned to the hotel very tired. This concluded a busy and very exhausting day in Krakow. ~Turner Gray

Heading down, down into the old salt mine at Wieliczka
In Oskar Schindler's office
I would open this with some jokes about spices, but I don't want to in-salt anyone. Get it? Insult? Moving on, today we visited the Wieliczka Salt Mines of Krakow, Poland. We traveled down around 378 stairs just to begin our tour. The mines had more than just tasty table salt, there were musical performances, multiple underground lakes, a chapel (where you can still get married), sculptures, and the decapitated head of a dragon. The mine used to even have horses! The last horse retired in 2002 and is actually still alive! You could even lick salt off the walls it was so fresh. The only accident involving tourism in the mine was in 1915 when some German soldiers were riding on a boat on one of the many man-made underground lakes when the boat capsized. Seven soldiers were trapped under the boat and the salty water (which makes people float) would not allow them to swim underneath it and so they suffocated. However, the mines are very safe. The mine even has an elevator that takes only seconds to get back to the surface. After visiting the mines, we went to Oskar Schindler's factory in Krakow. This museum had an interesting set up, each room transporting you to another world including: Schindler's office, a concentration camp, and the walls of a ghetto that resemble Jewish tombstones. Hearing about Schindler is much different than seeing all the names of the people he managed to save. All in all it was a great day, the only complaint was I wish I had more time! ~Paige Stewart

Admiring Oskar

Strolling into Wawel Palace

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