Going Underground in Poland

Another part of my trip to Poland was a tour of Wieliczka Salt Mine. I booked a ticket for 8.30am and after a twenty minute train trip on a very nice train (for less than a euro!)I arrived to Wieliczka. There are two separate mine tours one is the miners trail and the other is the tourist trail….or you could do both.

I picked the tourist route because, let’s face it, I’m a tourist. Outside the building it was bustling with groups but in the individual section I was the only one in the English speaking tour queue. So I went on a tour by myself with my lovely tour guide Kamilla.

We made our way down the hundreds of steps and Kamilla showed me around the mine, telling me all about it and answering any questions I had. It’s amazing to think that most of the mine is made of salt – including the ground! The visitors can lick the walls – if they wish – I passed!

We saw several chapels in the mine including The Chapel of St. Kinga which is located 101 meters underground.  The chapels have statues carved out of salt by the miners and even the chandeliers made of salt. It’s absolutely stunning.

There really is so much to see and you’ll learn all about the salt mining process, at one time salt was considered more valuable than gold. There are even lakes, a shop, a cafe and a museum underground.

Don’t worry about walking back up the steps, there’s a lift to bring you back up to the surface. Mind you when I say lift it’s the scariest lift I’ve ever been in – it was so fast I felt like I was in the Wonkavator (Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) – and they usually fit 9 into the tiny lift. I was lucky with my small group.

I’d missed the train back to Krakow so I got the bus….another hair-raising experience on a bus that was falling to bits driven by a fella who thought he was in need for speed. There was no seats available to I had to hang on for dear life. If I was to go back to Krakow again I’d never go on another bus.

Anyway that said the salt mines were spectacular, well worth a visit.

 

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