Monday, May 14, 2012

Wieliczka Souvenirs and Meals

Having completed the tour of Wieliczka, the gift shop was the final stop before heading back up to the surface. Here, there is another elevator which takes you to another observation level within the mine.

There were a number of interesting pieces available for purchase in the gift shop including this piece of salt that looks almost like a piece of cauliflower. Other less imaginative pieces are also shown below. =P

While I'm sure the mine might not be the most impressive thing in the world for everyone, it was still pretty astounding to me that its been kept in operation since the 13th century until 1996 before discontinuing salt mining operations. This commemoration tablet marks the addition of the mine to the original list of United Nations UNESCO World Heritage Sites back in 1978.

After a long tour, the cafeteria located past the gift shop was definitely a welcome site. We weren't expecting too much as the food was served cafeteria-style but we were pleasantly surprised. There was a creme soup with sausages, Polish stuffed cabbage rolls, pork cutlet and pork slices with sauce, all for a pretty reasonable price!

Near the exit is another small chapel with a photo of the late Pope John Paul II put up here. I really liked the effect of all these underground chapels as they really give it a dark, mysterious feel that is impossible to replicate anywhere else.

Probably one of the more memorable highlights of the trip was taking these mine shaft elevators back to the surface. Compared to the numerous flights of stairs we had to take to walk down into the mine, this was definitely a welcome change. As the elevator had no real walls, we were pretty much packed like sardines into a cage which then quickly transported us up the many underground stories back to the surface.

And so ended our visit to Wieliczka!

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