Krakow is six hours by car from Prague. My friend and I arrived in the evening and went to find dinner in the town’s main square.
First pierogi of the trip!
The next morning, we set off for the salt mine.
It was a ton of fun! We descended about 135 metres of steps and followed our guide to explore areas of the mine. I had a bleak image in my head of Siberian Salt Mines, but the Krakow mine was completely different. It smelled beautiful — there’s a health spa attached above ground, and the air is supposed to be very therapeutic.
The mine was clean, with tall ceilings and dozens of statues carved from the salt stone. Some rooms had chandeliers with crystal droplets made from salt. The cathedral was amazing! The mine has never employed prisoners or children, and the guide assured us that miners only worked 8-hour shifts and were looked after. I’m not sure about the horses, though, who lived underground their whole lives. The last horse retired to above-ground only fourteen years ago.
They don’t mine the salt from the rock anymore, but they still extract salt from the water that flows through the mine.
The food in Krakow was wonderful. Our food theme was definitely pierogi: little Polish pastry pillows of yumminess. Most places had three kinds: Russian (cheese and potato), meat, and cabbage and mushroom. We also ate delicious strawberry dumplings on our last night, and I ate the most delicious borscht I’ve ever eaten. Yumsa.