We’re keeping the car for our first day in Krakow for a reason:
visit to Wieliczka Salt Mines. This day is mainly for this visit, which
is one of the highlights of this travel.
The spots marked at map are:
0- Apartaments Sienna 7
1- Wieliczka Salt Mines
We take our breakfast in the apartment from the
brought from the Carrefour Express that is in the same building and
leave to Wieliczka at 10 AM. It is an easy and short lift, about 20
minutes, and when arriving at the place we can see people across the
roundabout pointing to the Wieliczka mines parking. We’re asked to pay
25 zlotys just after stopping the car, which is the daily rate. One
minute later we find out this is a “fake” parking, meaning the real one
for the mines is just a few meters down the road. They charge 6 zlotys
per hour there.
It’s just a few minutes before 11 AM when we’re
complex and have to ask about where to get the salt mines entrance.
There, we join the line for tickets for foreigners with no group. While
waiting we can see the lines that are getting ready in front of every
country flag, which seems to be the groups per language. Then, we can
see there are just two accesses for Spanish groups in the entire day
and the only one in the morning is at 11:20 AM, so we have just a few
minutes for it.
We finally get the tickets on time, at 11:13 AM,
zlotys each. We join the group for Spanish just when they’re opening
the access inside for it.
The first thing to do is going 53 floors down in
stairs until the first gallery. It’s then when the explanations start.
This tour takes us through chambers with old and
rock sculptures carved by the miners along the centuries and some other
areas showing how was the work in this mine using dioramas.
The main highlight here is St. Kinga’s Chapel, a
church carved in the salt rock. The stairs were directly carved from
the floor, the walls are all full of decorations carved on them. It’s a
breathtaking place that we would always feel like not having enough
time to explore.
There are beautiful natural places too made by the
like salted lakes. Our guide finishes the tour and leave us in a room
with the gift shops. This is an area with a restaurant, a museum, a
reception room and, of course, the exit.
We decide to get our lunch in the restaurant
dumplings and breaded fillet for me and tomato soup and dumplings for
Eva. We pay 77 zlotys in total.
You need to wait for a guide to be taken to the
to the surface and we can understand why when we can check how
ridiculously long is the way to them, through endless corridors and
doors. We get the surface and the daylight somewhere in Wieliczka town,
and we need some time and a map to find our way to the entrance and the
parking. It’s been 5 hours for the visit so, at the end, the rate in
the fake parking has been better.
I drive heading back to Krakow’s Old Town, but not
directly to it. We’re going to Krakowska Galleries, a shopping mall
close to the Old Town where we must deliver the car. We do it in
parking Pg, where a guy appears while we were looking for a Panek sign
and performs the checks and close the delivery. We take advantage of
being here for shopping in the huge Carrefour supermarket before
walking back to the apartment.
In our way we can see the atmosphere in these Old
streets full of live so, although we’re quite tired from the walk in
the mines, we go out from the apartment to see the Polish dances that
are being performed just in front.
The Market Square is getting ready for a bigger
with a big stage and a lot more people. It’s already dark when we’re
thinking about going to bed but fireworks start over the Cloth Hall,
making that even more people come to the square.
It is a magic moment and we regret not having
cameras to get some pictures of it. We didn’t know St. John’s eve was
celebrated here as we do. Later we’ll find out this is the mid-summer
festival called Wianki.