My in-laws live in a city by the name of Bielsko-Biała which is, as they say, "in the mountains", and what beautiful mountains they are too. Just a short walk from their house is one of the highest peaks in this area, Szyndzielnia and as a treat we took the cable car to the top. I don't know who had the biggest smile on their face, Little T or P!
We did have to deal with a couple of rainy days, but we had planned ahead for such eventualities and so P and I left Little T at home to spend some quality time with his Babcia, Dziadek and their lovely doggie, Raven while we were off to one of my favourite places in Poland.
Wieliczka is a 700 year old salt mine located just outside of Krakow and is one magical place. Your tour starts off with descending 60 meters into the ground down this wooden staircase in an old mine shaft and then you walk for two hours through the winding tunnels and huge chambers until you are more than 120 meters below the ground.
Along the way you will of course see lots of salt in all sorts of shapes and forms, you can even give the walls a lick if the fancy takes you.
One of the main attractions within the mine is this stunning chapel, St. Kinga's Chapel. It was carved from the rock salt by 3 miners over a period of 70 years. It truly is an awe inspiring place.
Everything within the chapel is carved from salt, including these huge chandeliers, each one of them containing hundreds of pure salt crystals.
I was very sorry when the tour came to an end and we had to get into the shiny new lift to take us back up to ground level. There were still so many interesting tunnels, staircases and chambers that we didn't get to see. According to our tour guide there are so many miles of underground tunnels that it will take about 3 months to see all of it! I guess for now I will just have to wait patiently until I can go again, and next time I am definitely doing the miners route...
Luckily the sun soon came out to play again and our next trip out was to the famous town of Zakopane, which sits at the foot of the majestic Tatra Mountains. Although this place is quite the tourist trap, it does still have a lot of charm and some lovely things to see.
After a big, busy day of seeing all of the sights, we were all ready for a good meal and a refreshing drink. Lucky then that P's aunt owns this lovely karczma (traditional Polish pub) on our way home.
With our bellies full of delicious pierogi and a glass of chilled wine in hand, we enjoyed the warm hospitality of P's family while the sun sank below the horizon on our second to last day of holidays.
I usually never like the last day of a holiday, but we decided to head out to the mountains one last time, this time walking to the top, and ended up having one more fabulous day. All too soon though it was time to pack our bags, load up the car and head to the airport and say our teary goodbyes.
Being home again after a great holiday is always a bitter sweet thing. Although I am happy to be home, to sleep in my own bed again and to have all of my home comforts around me, I also dearly miss the family and places we had to leave behind. Good thing then that I had brought home a "small" souvenir to keep me busy and my mind occupied for the next week or so :)
More about this soon...