The past few days have been spent in Krakow, Poland, and the city is beautiful! I didn’t know what to expect visiting eastern Europe, but the architecture of the city is gorgeous and the old quarter is incredible! There are old churches all over the place, a big castle on a hill, a museum to Oskar Schindler, and day trips out to Auschwitz and an old salt mine. So far we’ve done them all, and we have another day to spare just wandering the streets and catching our breath after traveling between different cities so much over the past few weeks.
We spent our first couple of days here exploring the city and going to museums and old buildings. The churches are incredible, the interiors as intricately sculptured or painted, often with blue ceilings and gold stars. They’re unlike any other churches in western Europe, and it’s cool to see a new variation on the same type of building. We explored the castle, and also stopped in to Oskar Schindler factory museum. The museum was actually not really about Schindler, it was mostly about Krakow’s involvement in World War II, but it was still interesting and a worthwhile stop. We had a great couple of days seeing the beautiful city and eating the delicious cheap food around the city.
Our next day we went to Auschwitz-Birkenau, which was obviously a pretty heavy day trip. The museum was well done and it was interesting to see so many things that I’ve seen in history classes or movies about World War II. Even so, it is difficult to spend a day at a place like that, where there is so much devastating history.
Finally, I spent today at a salt mine! Unfortunately, Lexi wasn’t feeling well, so I ventured out alone. The mine was actually very cool, full of sculptures in salt and even chapels and churches carved out of the salt. In the photo below, the entire structure is not only a hundred meters underground, but all carved out of salt (other than the wood support beams, lightbulbs, and chains). The chandeliers are salt crystals, the floor is all a giant block of salt (made to look like tiles), and the stairs / sculptures / walls are all salt. I spent a few hours deep underground walking through the caves and caverns, and then came back to spend the rest of the evening relaxing around the old town!