Lots of salt & kisses

Trip Start May 12, 2007
Trip End May 27, 2007

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Flag of Poland  ,
Saturday, May 19, 2007

It's said to be Poland's most beautiful city and may have to agree. It started with meeting our local guide, a young blond who always seemed to be smiling. She took us to the Jewish quarter, KAZIMIERZ to which we saw an area where a scene from Schindler's List was filmed. This part also had a memorial to the Jewish from WW II, a synagogue and the birthplace of Helena Rubinstein, one of the richest women in the world. Walking the hill to Wawel Castle, an ivy covered area came into view. I was hoping to go inside but yet again, we stayed staring at the outer part and went into the Inner Renaissance Courtyard. We saw the Vistula River while our guide told us the story of the dragon and how it was killed by being poisoned by a shoemaker. There is a small statue of one when looking down below by the river. After the castle, we walked down the prettiest street in Krakow to Main Market Square and ended at the oldest building, Collegium Maius which dates back to the 15th century where we saw a bride & groom. There was also a "clock" show but we missed it going to the bathroom. haha
Walking back to the Main Market Square, we entered Sukiennice or Cloth Hall to buy some amber jewelry at reasonable prices. After an hour of stopping at various stalls and seeing many colors of amber and much debating, I decided on a matching pair of earrings and necklace at 30 zloty's and 62 zloty's respectfully. I really wanted a pirogi for lunch but were told it would be too long to be made and we were pressed for time so we settled for a pretzel like thing. I fed the last pieces to the many pigeons in the square.

After being put on the wrong bus and moving to the right one, we were heading to the WIELICZKA SALT MINE. I was really excited about this trip especially after seeing and reading about it on other travel blogs. So when we saw it was one of the optional excursions, we knew right away, we wanted to do it. It is one of the world's oldest mine producing table salt. It stopped because of mine flooding and now is only used for tours. We found out that it would be 10 zloty to get pictures inside the mines, even with your own camera! I now regret not paying it because I only have postcard shots. 9 was the number of levels and also the number of people jammed (like sardines) in the elevators. While going down the shaft in complete darkness, screaming and laughing could be heard from the other group. Tunde had also got us a handsome young dark haired guide with a hardhat on, thanks Tunde! Our tour lasted 2 hours and our guide was very knowledgeable also. So many things made out of salt; statues, chandeliers, 3 chapels with one being the largest underground, St. Kinga, and a sculpture of the "Last Supper". An underground lake had a boat used to transfer people.This was an amazing place.
Later in the evening, we attended a Polish evening dinner. Appetizer was smoked  cheese and berries on toast and mushroom soup in a bread bowl which was delicious. Some unidentified meat in a mushroom sauce and fried potatoes were the main course. The meal was great but the dessert wasn't. We think it was marzipan cake. The entertainment was Polish music and dancers. Twice I got chosen to dance. The first time was a nice looking man who was part of the entertainment, he grabbed me and we twirled around, dancing to the Polish music. I only sat down for a bit when the lady came over and off to the dance floor I went. I was feeling pretty good at this point after drinking a couple glasses of wine, a shot of vodka and 2 beers. It took me a couple times to figure out what the heck I was supposed to be doing. I put a napkin or kerchief on the middle of the floor and then a man would meet me in the middle and kiss each other on the cheek 3 times. I got picked  by 3 different men. I think that was the most kisses I've ever received in one night. hehe It was an enjoyable time and surprisingly I did not wake up with a hangover the next morning. :)
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