Friday, May 31, 2013

Wieliczka Salt Mine, Krakow


In the town of Wieliczka (20 minutes outside Krakow) there's a place where you can journey to the centre of the earth - 300 meters/1000 feet underground, to be precise - and lick the floors, ceiling, and walls.

It's Poland's 700 year old salt mine, which only stopped producing table salt six years ago, and is so much more magical than you ever thought a salt mine could be. 


First you descend down these steps, and arrive in a cool, dark landing. Your tour guide leads you through winding wooden tunnels - wood, because it's preserved by salt and doesn't rust like metal.


Slowly, salt begins to surround you, growing like a cauliflower fungus on the wooden beams, sparkling when you walk past. 



And then you emerge here - in the chuch of St. Kinga - made entirely out of salt by three regular miners (who, incredibly, never worked together on the church at the same time!)

The crystals in the chandeliers, the sculptures and tiled floors, the altars and stairs. It's all NaCl - regular old table salt. 







Once you've picked your jaw up off the floor, departed the salt church, and reached the bottom of the mine there is a children's museum, spa, restaurants, gift shops, and conference and event spaces (our tour guide had her prom there! How cool is that?) And of course, plenty of walls to be licked.




Who knew a salt mine could be so cool?

If you never get the chance to visit (which I highly recommend you do), you can take a virtual tour with this impressive iPhoneiPad, and Android app. 

- Jess

transport / To get to Wieliczka Salt Mine & Auschwitz, and for our airport transfers (75 Pln/€20 each way), we used a private driver who I would highly recommend. Paul was very punctual, friendly, and accomodating. For a full day of transport to Wieliczka & Auschwitz we paid 600 Pln/€140 (less than a bus tour) and Paul guided us through the admissions procedures at both sites. Plus, we got a taste of local hospitality that was top notch. Thanks Paul!

tips / Bring a sweater, the mine is temperature controlled to be chilly. And bring some extra cash - licking the walls makes you thirsty!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Krakow, Poland


You might be surprised to learn that, before this month, I had never really travelled anywhere without Mike, or our families. But this month I was so lucky to have headed off to Poland to see the cities of Krakow and Warsaw, and the one-woman-sensation Beyonce in concert, with some dear friends from the postgraduate program I finished today.

And I wouldn't have wanted to see that beautiful country with anyone else (sorry, Mike.)


I know people say this about travel destinations a lot, but Poland really exceeded my expectations. The people, the food, the sites. It was nothing short of lovely.


We visited Krakow first, known as Poland's cultural capital, where we saw Auschwitz and the Wieliczka Salt Mine (separate posts later!) and had some of the best Mexican food ever. 


We had grilled Polish sausages and zapiekanka (toasted bread with canned mushrooms, cheese and ketchup on top!) after midnight in Plac Zowy. We drank Polish beer and elderflower sodas, and listened to folk bands play in Krakow's enormous main square. 


And we laughed. Oh, we laughed.


If Poland isn't on your radar, it should be.

(And if you haven't travelled with your girlfriends in awhile, you should!)

- Jess

ate / Manzana Mexican / Food stalls at Plac Nowy

Friday, May 24, 2013

Tromso, Norway


Today's photos are brought to you by my favourite guy (the one whose name also appears in title of this blog) from a business trip to Tromso, Norway last winter.

Tromso looks positively frigid, but totally captivating (it's famous for its Northern Lights!











Mike says Tromso is the farthest north he's ever travelled. What's the farthest north (and south!) you've ever been?

I'll be back next week to share photos and stories of Poland with you. While Mike's been posting photos here this week I've been visiting Auschwitz, eating perogi, and seeing Beyonce in concert: stories are guaranteed to abound. 
- Jess

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Rock Climbing in Ghar Lapsi, Malta

Today's photos were taken by Mike closer to home, in Ghar Lapsi, Malta, where he occasionally rock climbs.

Mike swears it's fun, but I'm terrified of rock climbing. Have you ever tried it? Would you?

- Jess







Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lovely Lausanne, Switzerland

lausanne switzerland

Here are a few photos of lovely Lausanne and Montreux, Switzerland to start your Tuesday morning right. Mike took these on a business trip last year. Photos of snowy mountains and palm trees never cease to amaze me!


lausanne switzerland

lausanne switzerland

lausanne switzerland

lausanne switzerland

lausanne switzerland

lausanne switzerland

lausanne switzerland

lausanne switzerland

lausanne switzerland

lausanne switzerland

lausanne switzerland

lausanne switzerland

lausanne switzerland

lausanne switzerland

Have you been to Switzerland? Mike and I briefly visited Geneva once, and I was blown away by how crisp and clean it was in the winter. So lovely.

- Jess