We spent half a day on the salt mines on our second day in Krakow. In action for 700 years, we explored a mere 1% of the mines in four hours on foot!
We climbed down aaaaall these stairs! Our guide actually started to feel woozy from turning continually in the same direction so tried to walk down backwards for a bit!
The miners were very rich as they received a very good wage in salt each week. I for one however, don’t think I could do the underground work; I’m not chlosterphobic but i did stop and calm myself down once or twice, and was so relieved to see the blue sky!
Horses lived underground their whole lives, but well looked after. They brought in fresh hay daily.
But more on the mine… salt is a fascinating mineral to mine for several reasons, I think. For one, salt is a natural preserver, so wooden beams used to support the mine tunnels and structures, don’t decay like in other mines. Salt deposits also stalactite, or appear to look like turrets of cauliflower, and the rocks amplify light. Our guide put his phone torch up against the salt rock, and the light both amplified and rock became near -opaque.
The other amazing thing about the salt mines was the gas in the mines. Obviously that doesn’t sound very safe for miners to work in, and it wasn’t, but it burns with flame, with the added bonus of an amazing lightshow reflecting off the salt of purple, green, and gold, due to the other elements like sulphur in the gas.
Throughout the tunnels we saw amazing salt sculptures. My favourite was this motif of the Last Supper on the wall of the cathedral. Also, they made beautiful salt chandeliers through the salt mines but particuarly in their underground cathedrals.
The salt mines are still in action today, but only a small amount. We also theorise that the salt is good for you, so breathe deep if you ever get to go there – I was feeling the start of a cold that morning, but felt better afterwards! So maybe it helped?? Take it or leave it i guess… 😂
Where they dived for salt…
Presenting salt to a queen…
I don’t think it was my favouritest of things to experience but as another person on my tour said, it is good to shake up the history and things we see! It certainly was that!
In the afternoon some of us NEEDED food so we found a Polish-Italian pizza restaurant for a late lunch/early dinner (aka dunch). My pizza was probably the best I’ve ever had – perfect thin base, polish dry sausage, polish cheese, chives, and cranberry sauce. Yuuuuum.
Chris, Tandy, and I also found Camelot Cafe for dessert. This orange peel cheesecake was scrumptious. It was a lot like baked cheesecakes I’ve had before, but the perfect combination of dryness and smooth texture. Check out the Camelot Cafe – no knights in shining armour but the cutest cafe!
Outside the Church, hangin with the twelve disciples (taken the day before).
That evening, we attended a beautiful classical music concert in the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul. The five-piece stringed instrument performance was so lovely; they played Mozart, Vivaldi, Bach, and, to shake it up a tad, Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Itvwas pretty neat to hear a Sonatina within a Sonata, stuff my piano teacher taught me years ago (I think my terminology is correct?!). Really enjoyed it!