Friday, May 16, 2008

Day 3: Salty

I'm writing this early as I'm leaving for my train to Prague in 2 hours. I am currently sitting here surrounded by 18 year old Spanish boys as they drink Vodka and play Playstation. It's raining outside. Did I mention drunk teenage boys are loud? Maybe I can get one alone and....

Anyway, it was nice today to have a bit of extra time, to sit in the park and read my book and watch the people go by for an hour. I was feeling a real sense of myself and the planet. Of course now boys are screaming over a fake soccer match so I'm feeling a bit less of that.

I made a note in Auschwitz which I forgot to mention yesterday, I wrote "I never expected to hear the birds singing." It was surreal, how in this place surrounded my misery with a stain that will never leave it, the birds were singing and the sun was shining and life was continuing.

Got up this morning about 9:30 after spending a couple hours talking to Peter, who works in the hostel. I packed up all my stuff and gave back my keys. I haven't even had to loosen my suitcase yet, hardly anyone here takes credit cards and I only brought $100, but that has lasted me my whole time here.

Here's a video of downtown Krakow.
Anyway so I got up and hopped on the "minibus" to the salt mine. The minibus here is like what you would expect in Ethiopia. A very small bus with 10 seats and 30 people crammed inside and the local Polish radio playing Elton John and Elvis Presley.
So I entered the mine, walked down 54 flights of stairs and we were there! Here's a statue:

All the pictures are a bit dark as we were under the ground a quarter mile.
Here's my group going further down:

and here is a collapsed mine:

They either left this up to show tourists or because they couldn't be bothered. Notice how it looks like rock on the wall and floor and ceiling? No, it's gray salt. Everywhere. The steps are made of salt, the statutes, everything. Even the wood holding the place up is 400 years old, preserved by the salt.
It's amazing how cheap everything is here. Official salt in the salt mine box is like $2.

Here's the big church and prayer place. Apparently people used to die all the time in the mine so the workers preyed a lot.

Here is a chandelier made of salt. I like this shot.

This is a river that people used to be able to take boats down but once in the early 1900's a bunch of drunk tourists capsized their boat and suffocated under the boat, you can't dive in salt water, especially this salt water, the water cannot hold any more salt. So they suffocated under the capsized boat.

This is a banquet hall inside the mine where high schools have their graduation party.
When you come back to the surface they shove you 10 people in an elevator 8' by 3' and then all the lights go out and you rocket to the surface at 100 km an hour. It's like a ride at Canada's Wonderland, except scarier.

I do not want this job.

These look like giant dildos from the back.

Check it out.
There was this science fair/festival downtown when I got back:

with musicians and a stage.

This guy staying here said he went to Korea and no one speaks English and there wasn't even any letters in the words. That sounds difficult. What people do is like come here and talk to others and see where is cool and go there next. That would be fun to do sometime.
There was a historical model from the 1600's war:

And here's me holding a live snake:

Something I would never do in Canada. This taking one picture a day of myself is fun, you try to have a really good one.

Another shot of the church in the square, and finally, I wanted to take a picture of some of the food.

This was like $2.50, it's a fresh half baguette with cheese and mushrooms and onions and bbq sauce. Yum.
Got to catch the train to Prague in an hour, let's hope I make it. I'm sure you won't get your throat slit twice in one night.

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