November 22, 2013

5 for Friday: Wieliczka Salt Mine


Europe again, this time in Poland outside of Krakow in the salt mines. 

I started reading the Lord of the Ring in January this year, during disaster relief on the Jersey Shore. The book dragged, and I carried it from place to place. I switched to a tablet. I took it all over the US and pushed on, trying to love the book as much as the movies. Strangely enough, I never read it as a child, and in the last ten months of reading the book I have probably re-watched the movies three or four times. It was hard to love the slow moving book with much different character development after seeing the movies SO many times. But then, suddenly I found myself reading more slowly, trying not to finish the book and have to say goodbye to the series all over again. Funny how quickly it changed. But the point of this all is that a the Salt Mines reminded me of Lord of the Ring's Mines of Moria and that is part of the huge love I have for them. 

The salt is brought into miners and visitor's lungs and particles come out with our breath. That salt settles all over the surfaces, and over the years has created this amazing texture over all of the walls. The wood has been there for so many years, now it is as hard as stone. 

This is not your typical mine. It is on the original UNESCO list even. It has a huge, pristine cathedral, stunning statues, and chapels made completely of salt. There is even a huge underground lake that was pretty impossible to take photos of in the light. 

A photo of me taken by Ashley, the best couchsurfing host I have had so far. He hosted me in Vienna and we got on so well he came out to meet me in Krakow the next week. I was lucky to meet such an amazing person. Maybe one day we will meet again! 

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