Waking up with the hangover from hell wasn’t exactly the best start to day 4 of my Eastern Europe Adventure – although the night before was darn good fun! We had lots of exploring to do in the city of Krakow, and I wasn’t about to bow out because a little headache!
Find out exactly what our Busabout group got up to the night before in my previous post, complete with lots of drink and foodie recommendations, or continue on to discover how I got through a day of vodka sweats and 30 degree heat in Poland…you’re gripped already I can tell…
So, how do you beat a hang over in Krakow? Hop on a bike…that’s how. It sounds a little mad and truth be told at the time the thought of riding a bike while feeling like death made me feel a little nauseated. However, to my surprise, embarking on a group bike tour of this beautiful city was all I needed to put me on the right track.
After a spot of friendly squabbling over our rented bicycles, we set out on a much-needed breezy and leisurely bike ride – perfect for beating the stifling heat (and curing hangovers too apparently). Led by a friendly and humorous local guide through the streets of Krakow, we visited various points of interest including the main market square, St Mary’s Church and the fire-breathing dragon of Wawel Castle! Stopping briefly in each place, our guide revealed fascinating facts and a wealth of knowledge on the city’s rich history.
Before that day I’d never considered a bike tour when visiting other cities. Why? I’m not sure, but going forward I would definitely do it again! Being on a bike reminded me of my younger days and it was incredibly fun exploring a brand new city on two wheels. Zipping in and out of the locals and fellow tourists we covered SO much ground exploring Krakow’s best bits, as well as stopping for a cheeky drink in the sun along the way too.
As the bike tour came to an end, we expressed our thanks and ventured off to find lunchtime treats. Stopping at a quaint little pizzeria just off the main square we enjoyed spinach and chicken calzones and a pint of refreshing coca-cola – perfection! Fed and watered, we prepared ourselves for an afternoon of more Krakow fun in the form of Salt Mines.
Situated just outside of the city, The Wieliczka Salt Mine sees more that one million tourists through its doors every year, all eager to discover this world-renowned and truly fascinating monument. Built way back in the 13th century, the mine reaches a staggering 327 metres deep and an equally as staggering 187 miles long. Producing table salt right up until 2007, it now offers an intriguing insight into the lives of the dedicated miners who lived and worked there.
After making our way down what seemed like an infinite number of wooden steps (378 to be exact), we began a tour through some of the mines still open to the public. Along the way we learnt about the history of the mine, discovered statues carved from rock salt, walked around an underground rock salt Cathedral, as well as licking strange cauliflower-looking salt on a wall – it’s fair to say there was a lot of salt themed activities going-on that afternoon.
I’m extremely glad I went along on the trip to Krakow’s Salt Mines, but speaking truthfully, the best part for me was getting out of the afternoon heat for a couple of hours. The rock salt carvings and the history behind the mine was fascinating, but overall I guess it just wasn’t ‘my cup of tea’ as us Brits would say. A lot of other people on our trip loved it though, so I’d still recommend a visit if you’re in the area!
Overloaded with exhaustion, heat, calzones and salt, we decided a chilled out night with some nibbles was the way to go. Heading back to the Hotel Deco, we got some much-needed kip and prepared for the next days’ travel to the picturesque town of Zakopane.
Read my next post where I discover more delicious Polish cuisine, as well as live traditional folk music in Zakopane!
Have you ever visited the city of Krakow? What are your highlights or recommendations for exploring one of the oldest cities in Poland?