Site seeing (Krakow)

We are not very good at site-seeing. It happens quite often that we draw each other’s attention to something and then, a few hundred metres later, think we could have taken a photo of it. And cycling back; you don’t do that. At least we don’t, unless in exceptional situations.

If we are prepared for it, things can turn out differently. For instance, we got the tip to check out the salt mine near Wieliczka. We could plan it so that we would arrive there at around noon and only have to drive 20km to the campsite near Krakow afterwards. You could only do a tour there that would take about two hours, so that was OK for us. At the end of the tour, you could also choose to visit the “museum” (also underground) and we did. Here some photos:

Salt was shaped like a barrel; that was easy to transport over horizontal stretches.
Huge amounts of wood were used to shore up corridors and “halls”.

Sometimes huge rigs to hoist the salt blocks. Even horses were used underground. The slightly humid air was actually quite healthy for humans and animals and their eyes, so the horses didn’t go blind like in coal mines.

When you are near a big city you always go to the centre to have a look. In Krakow, we walked around there for a while without really understanding what we were seeing. The tourist office booklet gave only limited information. And so we seemed to be heading for a bit of aimless and information-less wandering around. And then we saw a guide with an orange umbrella that read “free tour “.

Slavek, our guide

We listened in at a short distance, but he immediately realised this and invited us to come closer and walk with him. His story was interesting at that point and we understood that he would show us the Jewish quarter and the ghetto, so we followed him. We will write about this piece of history in detail in a future blog.

Afterwards, we were very satisfied with our decision to follow him so we gave him a good tip and made a note in our minds to meet him again the next day at 3pm for a tour of the Old Town. There we were told the story of the trumpet that blows a tune every hour in all four corners of the wind that is suddenly broken off in memory of it by a Tartar arrow hitting one of its predecessors in the throat. And the legend behind the different heights of the 2 towers and so on. He pointed out things you would otherwise overlook and brought us to places we had read about but otherwise would not have found or would have found only with difficulty. Delft also seems to have these kinds of free guides, so we will look them up.

Market hall on the central square.
Main building of the university; one of the oldest in Europe.
City gate.
Sort of castle in front of the actual city wall.
The castle on Mount Wawel

After all that walking through that city, the muscles, other of course than the ones you cycle with, were so tired that we added another day at the campsite, but we didn’t leave the campsite that day either 😉

It was a good break from the constant travelling. Very nice to change the “cadence” for a change. Now let’s pick up that thread, though, because we still have 800km to go until Gdańsk!

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