Eurotrip – Krakow 16 October 2013

Up early to buy tickets for the salt mines tour at the central office, as recommended by Lonely Planet to avoid queues on site. Walked 20 minutes in heavy rain only to be told that their computer was down and I couldn’t. Walked 20 minutes back in heavy rain, not happily.

Arriving home, just caught an email telling me that the train tickets we had booked online were not actually available. So instead of an easy overnight train to Budapest we’re taking a regional train and then an overnight train.

So we headed out to catch a local bus to the salt mines – Lonely Planet not particularly helpfully says that buses and mini-buses leave from near the Galleria (a shopping centre near us). After a lot of wandering around we gave up and asked in the tourist office.  Easy bus ride to the site, and relatively short ticket queues (though very slow moving) meant we got on a tour at 12.

The mines are impressive, although they have obviously been done up to make them easier for tourists – only a tiny fraction of the mines are actually open to tourism. The corridors are wide and high and well-lit and probably very unlike how the mines actually were. There are some impressively large caverns – some of which were used as chapels by miners, with statues (carved out of rock-salt) and paintings. Some of them are now used for meetings and even weddings. There were diaoramas of miners and mining equipment and so on. Even 135 metres underground we found gift shops, restaurants and so on. It was a good trip, but I wonder if we might have gained more on the alternative tour, the ‘Miners’ Tour’, which I think more closely considers what life was really like for the miners.

Home on a very slow bus with a stupid Australian man constantly swinging around and banging people with his backpack, taking up a huge amount of space on a crowded bus. Who are these idiots who don’t notice that their packs take up space and are hitting other people? Oh well.

Late lunch at a vegetarian restaurant near our hotel, pretty good. Off to look at interactive exhibition under the main square, followed by dinner at Moa Burger – Krakow’s NZ-themed burger joint (!?!)

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About simonchamberlain

New Zealand librarian and music fan, living in London.
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