You know what I love most about this group of Americans in Poland?
The Wieliczka Salt Mine tour guide really set the tone for us when he immediately began talking about how salty everything was in the mine (should have been obvious, right?).
He was all like, “Go ahead and lick it, it’s salty.”
And before you worry about germs, salt has excellent antiseptic qualities. And, apparently, healing powers for respiratory illnesses. So we absolutely had to lick things in the interest of health.
Every gift stand in the mine also offered salt scrubs for exfoliating purposes. Who doesn’t love smooth skin? I wasn’t into the whole commercial scrub thing, though, so I just went straight to the salty source.
Rinsing off with a little (salty) water.
It wasn’t all fun and games. Aside from the occasional terror of remembering you are somewhere around 135 meters underground, the guide put us to work a few times to demonstrate how things were hauled back when the mine was functioning at full capacity.
I had been skeptical about the mine tour (please refer to aforementioned terror), but it was truly a unique experience. The mine is absolutely huge. It contains several chapels, a ballroom (weddings, parties, etc), a restaurant, and several gift shops. The ball room has a huge number of salt sculptures, including this recreation of Da Vinci’s Last Supper Painting.
There are sculptures throughout the entire mine, not just the ballroom. It’s impressive what you can do with a little salt. And given salt’s transparent qualities, if you light the sculptures, it’s even more impressive. The only rule was no licking sculptures. Turns out, saliva dissolves salt . . .
On the third level is a spa of sorts and you can come to the mine for day-long healing treatments. There are even musicians who regularly play in the mines; it adds a whole new meaning to the phrase, “I’m off to work in the mines!”
Both the people and the place made for a great afternoon and we successfully made it up the rickety elevator, sans cave in, in time for a traditional Polish dinner.