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Worth Your Salt

Today I really was in a salt mine, the most famous one in the world, in fact. In the first group of sites to be named a Unesco World Heritage Site, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is truly amazing. Started in the 1200s and going down over 1,000 feet deep, the mines are filled with grottoes, caverns and miles of tunnels. Carved statues line the way, and one chapel holds weekly worship services still today. Even the massive chandeliers are carved from salt as are the tile floors, altars, and wall art, including a replica of “The Last Supper.”

Because salt was so valuable, more costly than gold, a person who worked hard and did well was said to be “worth their salt.” There is a health resort in the mines, lakes, restaurants, and gift shops. One of the large caverns was being set up for a boxing match, and the deepest cavern holds the Guinness World Record for the deepest bungee jump.

Tours from our hotel were sold out for the day, so we ventured out on our own. We found a city bus that went to the mine and jumped on it. The ticket machine on the bus did not take paper money, and we had no coins. A teen-aged boy was helping us negotiate the machine, and an older gentleman who saw our predicament dug through every pocket to make change for our bill. Tickets in hand, we were secure in our journey. On the bus ride, a group of young Australians–in their 30s–boarded and were so kind to us. We ended up on the same salt mine tour, and they made sure we were in the right place at the right time. We love venturing out, off the beaten tourist path. We had a fun and educational day, in Krakow. WEG

Wieliczka Salt Mine outside Krakow, Poland

Wieliczka Salt Mine outside Krakow, Poland

One of the salt statues carved in the salt mine

One of the salt statues carved in the salt mine

The chapel is all salt--even the chandelier--in the bowels of the earth

The chapel is all salt–even the chandelier–in the bowels of the earth

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