Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Travel Tuesdays #5

This week, we are in Poland. I was there about 5 years ago with my friend Kevin, who is an excellent travel partner. We spent a week in Berlin, and a week in Poland. I must say, that Poland is one of the nicest places I have ever been and I enjoyed every second of it. If you are thinking of a place to go to that is a little off the beaten path (for us North Americans) I would strongly recommend going there. The people, although many did not speak english, were very gracious, the food was rib-stickingly good, and the sights are beautiful. We stayed in a vacation apartment for about $30 night and were directly in the Old Town. The girl who rented us the apartment also had a place in the mountains, which is how we ended up going from Cracow to Zakopane. The Old Town of Cracow is a World Heritage site. The Barbican was built in 1499 during the era of the Ottoman threat and remains the best example of its kind in Europe. The Barbican was both a principal gateway and a key element of defence. A covered passageway linked it to St. Florian's Gate, the historic entrance into the Old Town. You can still see parts of the original old wall. Centuries ago, this wall encircled the whole city, and a moat encircled the wall. There is a street from this Gate, called The Royal Way which leads through the centre of town, past the Cloth Hall and Main Square, to the Wawel Cathedral.

A short bus ride from Cracow are The Wieliczka Salt Mines another UNESCO World Heritage Site. This has been, for me, one of the best sites I have ever been to. We travelled far down in an elevator shaft and had a tour of dozens of rooms, all carved out of salt. In one area, there is even a sanitarium for asthma and allergy sufferers. By far the most interesting room was the Chapel of St. Kinga. I wish I could find the picture, but I do have one of myself standing with Pope John-Paul II who is carved out of salt! Here is a pretty good picture I found of the chapel. Even the chandeliers where made of salt!

Zakopane is about 2 hours away from Cracow, and was very much worth the visit. It is a very quaint resort town with beautiful mountain scenery. We did a lot of hiking, so please take note of my very trendy hiking shoes: gold platform sandals! What was I thinking? But you know, I'm sure I walked halfway around the world in those platforms, they were so comfortable! I don't have them anymore as I finally had to retire them, but I certainly do miss them.

I hope that you enjoyed the trip...I certainly did!
Now, head on over to Mitey Mite's and check out Dordogne region of France the famous place where cave paintings were first discovered, and where Jean Auel did her research for her book Clan of the Cave Bear.

Check out the modes of transportation in Iraq at The Beehive. Would you prefer a ride in a pick-up, or perhaps on an ass?
And, if you'd like to share your travel pics, leave me your link, and I'll be happy to send people over to visit.


Begered said...

The salt rooms must have been crazy cool! Too bad you can't find your picture next to salt carved Pope. Zakopane looks like it has a beautiful countryside. I guess I have never thought about what Poland looked like.

Bob-kat said...

I haven't been to Poland but it is certainly on my list now! Fantastic!
I love hiking in mountains so your trip looked very cool.

I will have to post some more pics from my last trip to NYC soon, and will also hopefully get out and about with my camera this weekend and have some pics to share soon.

I hope your poorly kitty is getting better.

Kristi said...

Cool salt mines (chalk that up as something I never thought I'd say). I've never been to Polish pottery. I think there's a specific name for it, but I can't think of it.

sher said...

That's very good to hear about Poland. I've always wanted to go to the Czech Republic, so a trip to Poland would also make sense! Loved those salt mines!