Wieliczka Salt Mines
On our second full day in Krakow, we got up at 5:45AM to get ready and make it to the salt mine for one of the first tours. Nicole was not happy with me because I made her get up so early. But, as usual she was glad I did get her up to go there.
This salt mine has statues and rooms creatively carved from the salt caverns throughout the corridors underground. The highlights included a couple of churches build underground, made completely out of the salt. The walls had carved pictures, the alter, chandeliers, floor, etc. were all made of salt. I guess many weddings are done down here and it’s an active church that has services. Pretty fascinating!! There was also a chapel dedicated to Saint Pope John Paul II. He visited the mine at one point and there is a salt statue carving of him too.
Saint John Paul II Salt Statue (Picture 1)
At the end of the tour we headed back to Krakow to visit the Wawel Royal Castle in Krakow. We paid to go through the Cathedral there were many royals are buried. The church is absolutely beautiful and there is even a chapel inside dedicated to St. John Paul II. I’m curious whom he replaced! After visiting the castle we just wondered through the Krakow Old Town more.
Wawel Royal Castle (Picture 1)
Nicole and I took the 7:20AM train to Warsaw. From Krakow, it takes about four hours by train. After we arrived, we got some much needed coffee and headed to our hostel. It was really hot out today, but I pushed Nicole to go see the town because we only had the afternoon to see it. We decided to start by walking through the Jewish neighborhood area and make a loop around to the main square to try and catch the 6PM Free Tour. We did not make it to the tour. If you ever decide to visit Warsaw, I recommend renting a bike. The town is much bigger than I anticipated. Especially since most towns I have visited on my trips have everything pretty close together. Warsaw is easily a two day or full morning to evening type of town for visiting on foot.
One of the things I found disappointing about Warsaw is that there isn’t much of a trace left of the Warsaw Ghetto. Of course the uprising did destroy a lot, but the Jewish area of town where the ghetto las located is a pretty big area. Not many pieces of the wall is still standing and really only monuments mark some of the important historical areas. There are also some buildings still standing from that era, but I don’t think they will be standing much longer. I did come across remains and a museum of Pawiak, a Gestapo political prison, and a marker of were part of the ghetto wall stood. Again, I wish I had more time to explore in Warsaw.
Pawiak (Picture 1)
Ghetto Wall Marker (Picture 1)
Though we missed many monuments and places to visit in Warsaw, I’m not to broken up about it. I’ve been pretty much doing the nonstop sightseeing for over a month now and I got to see some important things in Warsaw. I will just have more to see the next time I visit!!
When we got back to the hostel it started to pour really good and we hung out a bit since it’s our last night together traveling. I’ll be getting on a train to Berlin and then Leipzig and Nicole will get on a flight back to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Well, another year and a half to go until we probably see each other again!