May 18, 2007

Krakow

KRAKOW, POLAND - The warm weather has arrived and with it comes the tourists. I'm successfully blending in to the tourist crowd as I hop around Eastern Europe. The last four days have seen me in Krakow, the only major city that wasn't destroyed in WWII, and hence the only Polish city with an intact, and original, Old Town. My days here have been spent seeing the obligatory sights in the area. The big one being the staggeringly huge and horribly efficient Nazi concentration camp and death factory, Aushchwitz. This single camp killed no less than 1.1 million people, probably more in a few short years.

On a brighter note, I did get a chance to see visit the Salt Mines of Wieliczka. They are like no other mine I've ever seen. The entire underground complex is made from salt. The tile floors, the walls, the stairs, the carvings and even the chandeliers. Yes, there are chandeliers. There are statues and even entire cathedrals in the mine all made from salt. It seemed unbelievable to me, but I confirmed it with a few strategic and inconspicuous tastes of some of the structures. For enough money you can even host a banquet or business function 130m under the ground. Strange place indeed.

Tomorrow, or rather tonight I'm getting on my 1 millionth overnight train, this time bound for Prague where I hope to squeak with enough time to meet Jon at the airport, as I assured him I would. The man behind the scenes is stepping to the fore front for a change and we'll be travelling together for rest of my time in Europe.