Day 250: Wieliczka Salt MinesOctober 22, 2017 in Poland
After a day off it was back to the world heritage sites! Today's stop was the royal salt mines at the town of Wieliczka, about 20 minutes south-east of Krakow. We left home around 9 under rainy skies, hoping to make today a half-day. After arriving, parking, sorting out Schnitzel in the car and so on, we just missed the 10am tour, so had to wait for the 10:30am tour in English.
Surprising number of people around, lots of Poles but also other nationalities as well - I wouldn't have expected a salt mine to attract so many people!
The tour itself was great; about 3 hours worth of wandering around the mines in semi-darkness. Lots of high-quality salt was mined here, and at one point in the 16th century the mine's output was around 30% of the Polish kingdom's GDP! It was founded in the 13th century and still in operation, though salt production these days was done by boiling salt water leaking into the mine, rather than actual mining per se.
Lots of sculptures down here surprisingly, and an enormous cavern room that still gets used for concerts, church services, weddings and so on. Not sure I'd want to get married 100m underground in a mine, but apparently some people do!
Back to the surface where we had a quick lunch in the attached cafe (sausages and Polish dumplings), then drove back to Krakow. It hadn't quite been a half-day as it was approaching 3pm when we got home, but close enough. More work in the afternoon and evening! I also ducked out to buy new jeans from H&M at a nearby shopping mall, and a hair cut since I was long overdue - my last one had been in Strasbourg, so mid-August!Read more