poland, part two

Monday, April 28, 2014

Last week, I shared what the beginning of my trip to Poland looked like ((here)), and thought I would give ya'll a little peek at what Tuesday looked like for my mom, aunt, and I.

We spent our morning going to the Salt Mines in Wieliczka. Poland is known for a few different exports ((at least in my family's minds)): Polish pottery, vodka, and salt. Truly though, the salt mines were amazing. There are 9 different levels, but we only saw 3. Our tour guide, Anna, was precious and before we started, she told us that we would only be seeing 10% of the mine. Our tour took us to 3 different levels, and we walked for 3 hours. I can only imagine the magnitude of the mine in its fullest!

Pretty much everything we saw was made of salt. In some places, it was polished to the point it looked like marble. It was phenomenal. Oh, and they said if you don't believe it's salt, just taste the walls. So I did. ((probably along with thousands of other people... kind of grossed us out once we thought about that))

This is a depiction carved out of salt of how the miners used to eliminate carbon monoxide from the mines, the explosions also carved out new areas within the mines.

King Kazimierz was one of the most well loved kings, as he welcomed the Jews into Poland. Before WWII, over half of the Jewish population was living in Poland. Thus the reason Hilter attacked Poland so hard with concentration camps.

One of the salt blocks the miners would haul up. Our tour guide told us to give it a try at hauling it up ourselves which was so easy, and then informed us that we were pulling on nothing. The joke was on us.

Another legend in the Salt Mines was that dwarves would help the miners complete all of their tasks so that they wouldn't get in trouble. My Disney-loving family started singing, "Hi ho! Hi ho!" So that's where the story of Snow White's dwarves being diamond miners came from... :)

And the largest underground church is in the Salt Mines ((who knew there was such a thing?!)). It was all carved out of, you guessed it, salt! It was ridiculously impressive. This is when the salt was so polished and detailed that it looked like marble.

And Pope John Paul II. He was a Polish pope and the people love him, a lot. He's literally everywhere, including as a carving in the Salt Mine church.

The rest of our tour included gorgeous rooms, some legends of good fortune and wealth, and taking cheesy pictures as how I would look as a miner. Cute, I know.

After the Salt Mines, we decided to walk around Old Town Krakow again for the rest of our day. We just walked, and found so much! Like a sign that is really stinkin' close to my maiden name ((Marburger)), the ancient city gate and wall, and another trip to Wawel Castle. Everything was so close, how could we not spend our afternoon sight seeing everything that we could?!

Tuesday was such a lovely day. In the afternoon, we found a bakery that has the best paczki in town, with a perfectly light dough and vanilla creme filling. At this point, I became known by my mom and aunt as the paczki queen. Later in the week, they informed me I had a "paczki dupa" ((paczki ass)) from eating them every day ((sometimes twice a day... but it was absolutely worth it)).

Thinking of it, I could go for one of those paczki right now...

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