Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Day 8 - Krakow (Auschwitz, Birkenau, Salt Mines, Macabre Krakow Tour)

One of the only days I had actually planned in advance was the tour of Auschwitz. When I saw how much more expensive it was to travel from Warsaw for these tours, we decided it was best to just spend a few days in Krakow (and I'm glad we did).

We were able to "sleep in" a bit. We walked down the street for a "power breakfast" - meats, bread, eggs, coffee. So good and sooo cheap.
Our tour "bus" arrived just after 9:00. The drive to Auschwitz was just over an hour, and about half that time was spent watching a video. It was information and gave me a refresher of what we were going to be experiencing. We were meeting up with a larger tour group, given headsets, and our English guide took us through the camps. There is not much to say, but I think the pictures speak volumes. It was a very "heavy" morning.

The tour lasted about an hour and half, at which point we moved on to Birkenau, where we had about an hour. Like Auschwitz, an unsettling stop.

We then had about a 90 minute drive to the Wieliczja Salt Mines. We ate our sack lunch on the drive. Honestly, I had no idea what this part of the tour was, but it was actually very interesting. Some quick facts - salt was mined for over 700 years, and the mine was named a UNESCO site in 1978. Horses that worked in the mines spent their entire lives there (?!) and the last horse did not leave until 2002. Also, the mine is home to the largest underground church. Mass is still held there every Sunday.

By the time we finished, we had just enough time to eat at a pizza place in the square (we told the server we were in a "hurry" and we actually got the food/check pretty quickly).

We stopped at Costa Coffee to borrow their WiFi to figure out where the walking tour was starting. We had just a few minutes to get there, when walking behind A I realized she didn't have her bag. She had to run back to the restaurant, and luckily it was still there. We somehow managed to make it to the beginning of the tour.

While we arrived on time, we did miss the introduction, so I'm not sure what our guide's name was. The official name of the tour was "Macabre Krakow." Our guide was really entertaining. We learned all about the legends of executioners, serial killers, vampires and ghosts of the city. I don't know how much of it was fiction, but it was a good time.

Obviously, we were exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel.

1 comment:

  1. I miss Costa Coffee, and allllll the random meats of Europe.


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