Tuesday, April 11, 2017

After the boring, dreary bleakness of Auschwitz, I was in for a treat at the Wieliczka salt mine. I'd heard a lot about it, but wasn't really sure what to expect, as I now knew a little something about the Polish mindset when it came to infotainment. I need not have worried. If you're in Poland and only have time to see or do ONE thing, this is it.

The standard tour takes around two hours and by the end my feet were killing me, but then again I have neuropathy and so am probably not your typical tourist. The guides are well informed, but know better than to cram too many years and statistics down your throat and some of the things I saw down there were really incredible.

Salt. Effin salt.

The famous astronomer Copernicus was one of many notabilities to visit through the centuries. For some reason the artists have chosen to depict him as he's about to bowl.

There were tons of tableaus down there, hundreds of feet below the surface. Some were carved by the workers of the mine, others are made by contemporary artists. This was from some legend about Kinga, a Hungarian princess, and like all such things utter bullshit.

They had working horses down there until a few years ago when the mine finally closed its operations.

Creeeepy. He wants to eat your flesh, I'm sure.

There are lots and lots of little corridors leading off from the main thoroughfare. I'm surprised there aren't any signs saying "here be dragons". The walls are all salt and you're actually encouraged to lick 'em. I did and it tasted... salty.

From St Kinga's chapel, the largest of four chapels in the mine. It is in use as a proper church and they hold Mass down here every Sunday.

Salt model of the Last Supper. It looks "deep", but that's a trick of the eye, in reality it's almost flat.

Dis be what Polish salt looks like; dark gray.

Even the chandeliers are made of salt.

If you want to lick the (former) pope, here's your chance. But don't expect to ever see the light of day again, he's worshipped almost like a deity in Poland and you would surely get beaten to death for such an apostasy.

Natually, I was skeptical of the salt mine.

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