Krakow is a fantastic city to visit, as I mentioned in the first chapter. One of the most important site – aside of the concentration camp – is the Wieliczka Salt Mines, which is located within Krakow metropolitan area. There were so many people in that place, tours from all over Europe and a chaotic organization in the side of the guides. There was so much confusion, and all together with the very bad weather made the waiting time even more tiring.
The salt mine was build in the 13th century, and it stood productive until just a couple of years ago. Symbolically is – probably – the most significant site in the area of Krakow, because of the economic impact of the salt as a commodity centuries ago. Believe it or not, Poland used to be one of the richest countries in the Baltic, mainly due to the salt. in that sense, being part of the Polish nobility was as being part of the Dutch nobility in today’s standards.
Well, the mine is not only mountains of salt – as you might be thinking – but a impressive gallery with statues, chapels, light and an entire cathedral. one of the most interesting stories was the one of Princess Kinga of Poland, who married Boleslaw the Chaste, Prince of Krakow, so as part of her dowry she ask her father for salt (because it was very worthy back then) and he took her to the mine. Anyways, before going for Poland, she threw her ring into the salt mine. So, upon arrival to her new home, she ask the miners to dig deep into the salt until they find a rock, and when they did it, they split it into two and found her wedding ring. She became a very important icon in Poland’s religious and cultural idiosyncrasy. Now she is the patron Saint of the miners and of krakow.
From history to cocktails
Krakow is fun when you explore it by yourself, instead of going with a established tourist group. So we decides to go around the city’s best places to eat and drink. In our first night out we stumbled upon the Restaurant Starka… Simply irresistible (yes, it sounds like Robert Palmer’s song, but that’s because it is true, and because I am hooked on Robert Palmer lately), with a wide selection of fruity vodkas, a great menu of Polish “tapas” and great food. We then realized that this restaurant is in the top 10 of Trip Advisor.
This photo of Scandale Royal is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Then, we met our friend , Rene, and decided to go for drinks. Well, if it wasn’t because Rene couldn’t have his drink at the terrace of Le Scandale, then we wouldn’t have had the greatest two evenings in Krakow. The bartenders Tomasz and Damian treated us like best friends, gave us the best service and created the most amazing cocktails (that were not in the menu) I ever imagined. These kids, were simply amazing: many different cocktails with fruit, vegetables (including garlic), chocolate with piri-piri chili, fruits with ginger and gin, you name it. Out experience at that bar was so good, that we didn’t hesitate to go for a second round the evening after. Both Tomasz and Damian were so pleased to see us back, that they were super gentle, letting us into their working space. I believe that they feel a great deal of achievement when they have costumers that push them to the limits of cocktail creation. And we did exactly that!.
Soon, I will write about my Amsterdam experience! Stay on!