Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The Wieliczka Salt Mine is another UNESCO World Heritage Site and was first mined in the middle ages. The mine contains three thousand chambers covering over 300 KM. The highest chambers (where the tour really begins) in the mine are located at about 64 metres below ground or 378 steps down. The deepest chambers are 327 M. Fortunately, we didn't have to walk back up the stairs at the end of the tour.
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The portion of the mine we visited is called the "Tourist Route" and it covers the most noteable areas of the mine, but only covers less than 1% of the total corridors and chambers in the mine. Among the attractions we saw were three undergound lakes, some of the first mining machines and equipment and the famous Chapel of St. Kinga (one of several chapels).
There were various statues and items of interest along the way, mostly carved out of salt. It was interesting, but a little bit cheesy at the same time
The mine also hosts an underground conference centre and a private rehabilitation centre. St. Kinga's Chapel can be booked for weddings.
When we returned from the Salt Mine we wandered around looking for a place to eat and came across another great Krakow restaurant called Kalinka. Kalinka is a Russian place, small and decorated like it's your Russian Aunt's living room.
The girl who served us was attentive without being overbearing and although she didn't speak english we managed just fine.
I had the Tsar's salad for an appetizer, which was a piece of salmon with caviar, hard boiled egg and lettuce and tomato. It was really good and the Moscow Ragout, a veal stew with potatoes and veggies was equally good. It was all washed down with some Russian beer.
I highly recommend this restaurant if you want some authentic Russian food while you are in Krakow.
We finished our dinner, went back to our hotel to pick up our luggage and hop on an overnight train for Vienna.
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