Idaho Day Four: Idaho Falls To Salt Lake City, On The Road Again

 After experiencing the total solar eclipse on Monday , I slept well in my budget hotel in Idaho Falls, falling asleep thinking of plans to view the next total eclipse which will be closer to my home in Northeastern Pennsylvania in 2024. Econo lodge room Idaho Falls

I awoke early ,  packed, but before heading to Salt Lake City, I decided to drive to downtown Idaho Falls to take a closer look at the famous falls.Water tower near pond downtown Idaho Falls

I parked at the local library and walked to the river walk along the Snake River. waterfalls on Snake River Idaho Falls Idaho

The sun had not yet risen and it was chilly, in the low 50’s  considering it  was close to 90 degrees  the afternoon the day before. The falls were visible from the start of the river walk.LDS Mormon temple in distance along Snake River Idaho Falls

Even though it was early, around 7 a.m the river walk’s paths  were  busy with walkers, bikers and runners enjoying the beautiful view and unique grass sculptures. There were a number of hotels in the area and I hope to return to this city someday and stay at one of them, within sight and sound of the falls. grizzly bear shrub Idaho Falls Idaho

The sun rose as I was walking across the Snake river  from the LDS Mormon Temple.Sunrise LDS Mormon temple Idaho Falls

Again I wish I had more time to explore and enjoy the city but I had to move on, it was a 3 1/2 hour ride to Salt Lake City and I hoped to visit some sights along the way. So I returned to my hotel, checked out and was on the road again. Here is a link to some more photographs from my morning walk. Morning walk photographs.Snake River falls Idaho falls

I was soon heading south on Interstate 15 and found little traffic on the highway. I enjoyed the passing scenery, many buttes, hills and ridges of the high desert.View of high desert Idaho on Interstate 15

I wanted to get to Salt Lake City early so I would have time to explore the city but I soon made my first detour. I came upon the Shoshone Bannock Casino and saw a sign for a museum. I love museums and I am especially interested in all Native American history and culture. Fort Hall Casino Idaho

Unfortunately, Google maps misdirected me and I drove a few miles out of my way but enjoyed a nice conversation with a member of the local tribe and got to see some of the old building associated with the old fort that was located here. old house at Fort Hall Idaho

I eventually found the museum and spent about a half hour learning about these two Native American tribes and their peaceful co-existence and love of  the land they lived on. Native American couple on horse pack in traditional attire

And also about the sad history of how they were mistreated by the new “immigrants” and how many of the  treaties made with them were  broken.  And, as I have said so many times I wish I had more time to spend in this museum. Here is a link to some more photographs from my visit to the museum. Shoshone-Bannock Museum PhotographsShoshone Bannock tribes insignia

I was back on the highway and made good time until I got into Utah. Road construction slowed me down to almost a dead stop and it took me almost an hour to travel 15 miles. traffic on Interstate 15 Utah

But this is what travel is about, unexpected delays, sights and situations.  Once I was out of the construction I again made good time but was I late in arriving at my next planned stop, Antelope Island, in the Great Salt Lake. Antelope Island Utah welcome sign

I had wanted to visit this famous lake since I first saw a photograph of people floating in it’s salty waters in elementary school. I had come close twice before, once on a cross country trip I took after I graduated from law school. I tried to make it to California but I ran out of money in Jackson Hole Wyoming and had to head home. Salt flats near Great Salt lake utah

I also was planning to visit the lake on another trip across country, in 2011, but torrential rains caused me to change my plans. So I was very excited to finally see this beautiful lake surrounded by mountains . view of Great Salt lake

I would have loved to have had the time to take a swim in the lake , but, wanting to get to Salt lake City, I decided to visit the famous Garr Ranch and the bison that roam this section of the island. view of horses, clouds and mountains near Great Salt Lake

The scenery on the island was spectacular. I would love to return and hike some of the many trails that crisscross the island. Here is a link to some more photographs on Antelope Island. Antelope Island PhotographsBuffalo in grass on Antelope Island

I spent about an hour on the island when I realized my gas tank was almost empty. I mean empty.  There are no gas stations on the island.  I just made it to the first gas station after I left the island  before I ran out of gas . I was on the road , finding heavy traffic again, and watched some rain clouds move in from the south as I neared Salt Lake City. Here is a link to some more photographs from my drive to Salt Lake City.  Drive  from Idaho Falls photographs Highway near Salt lake City Utah

It was now late afternoon, later then I wanted to arrive, and I decided to first check into my hotel near the airport.  I was debating with myself whether I wanted to drive into the downtown traffic to do some sightseeing or just call it a day  since I had a very early flight the next morning. While checking in, the girl at the front desk informed me there was a train from the airport to the downtown. After getting settled in my room I drove to the airport, returned my car, and was soon on the green line train to downtown Salt lake City. inside train car on way to Salt Lake City from airport

It was now raining outside, as our train made the 15 minute ride to Temple Square, making about five stops along the way. View from train on way to downtown Salt Lake City

Fortunately, the rain had stopped as I departed the train and I soon found my way to the famous LDS Mormon Temple. Temple downtown Salt lake City

And the even more famous Tabernacle Building. Mormon Tabernacle building Salt Lake City

I have enjoyed so much wonderful music performed by the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir and it was truly a joy to sit in this building. Organ and interior of Mormon Tabernacle Salt Lake City

I walked around the beautiful grounds of Temple Square and was impressed by the many beautiful displays of flowers which were planted everywhere. flowers on Temple Square Salt lake City

The grounds were crowded with visiting Mormons, tourists and even local folks, like this couple who found the lake and surrounding gardens as a good place for wedding photographs.Couple posing for wedding photographs Temple Square

It was getting late, and starting to rain again and I decided to eat in one of the few restaurants on the Temple Square grounds and was pleased to have chosen the Roof  Restaurant and it’s spectacular views of the Temple. 

And the food, served buffet style was very good too. I ate way too much, and I think I am still walking off the many delicious desserts I sampled. Here is a link to some more photographs from my dinner at the Roof Restaurant. Roof Restaurant photographs. desserts at Roof restaurant Salt lake city

After dinner, I made my way back to the train stop in a light rain, and after a short ride to the airport, I was picked up and returned to my hotel. I finished packing and was soon asleep since I had an early flight.

I was up early the next morning, at the airport and soon,  heading home. I  hope  to see, at least one more during ,my lifetime , one of the most amazing natural phenomena that occurs on our planet, a total eclipse of the sun. It is amazing. Here is a link to some more photographs from my brief visit to downtown Salt lake City.  Temple Square photographs.

“Life is not always perfect. Like a road, it has many bends, ups and down, but that’s its beauty.” 
― Amit Ray,

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My First Total Solar Eclipse And AWEsome It Was

I guess the way to begin this post is to say the total solar eclipse I experienced was not what I expected. I had visions of the moon bringing total midnight darkness to the middle of  day. Not how it happened. I t happened very differently  but still so awesome. More on this later but now first on  how and where I got to  observe it. corona of sun during total eclipse

I was up early in my $387 dollar a night Econo Lodge in Idaho Falls. Actually, although overpriced for the eclipse I had a  nice clean room and the staff was very friendly and  welcoming.  I was up early, around 5 a.m. and worked on a blog post until sunrise, around 7 a.m. here in southern Idaho, had a coffee and some oatmeal and was on the road heading north to Rexburg, a town in the path of the longest totality of the eclipse. highway with no traffic Idaho Falls

I was surprised to find so little traffic, with the reports of traffic jams in Oregon and warnings from park rangers to avoid traffic and stay at my hotel and watch it. cars at parking lot southern butte Rexburg Idaho

I, of course, wasn’t taking this advice and, after talking with a few local photographers I met, took their suggestions that anything in the Rexburg area and particularly two buttes west of the city, would be the best place to view the eclipse.  I was told I may not get there with the traffic but I was surprised to find  my way to the town Menan and it’s two buttes with very little traffic.parking lot northern Menan Butte Idaho

There were two buttes the first I reached was private and they were charging $40 dollars to park. I was told the northern Butte was the better location so I drove on and found a large parking lot and no fee to park.parking lot Northern Menan Butte Idaho

There  were a lot of vehicles, buses and campers but no were near what I was expecting. I arrived early, around 8:30 am and decided to hike the northern Menan Butte before the moon arrived to block the sun.trail to Northern Menan butte summit Idaho

The local Idaho officials sure went out of their  way to accommodate the visitors. Police directed and slowed traffic, fire fighters and emergency folks were at the ready and rangers provided water, eclipse glasses and information about the eclipse and the natural environment of the butte. emergency tent at solar eclipse

I began my walk up the butte, were many folks were going to observe the eclipse.  Canadian couple waiting for solar eclipse

I decided, on my way to the summit, that after my climb, I would set up near this group of photographers and astronomers, who had the big cameras and telescopes, and observe the eclipse. photographers at Menan Butte Idaho for total solar eclipse

I walked up the sandy, slippery and rocky path to the summit of the butte, having to admit I took a few breaks along the way. trail sign for Menan Butte at solar eclipse

Aside from a few birds, including a hawk, the only critter I saw on my hike  was this beetle. beetle on ground on trail

There was a steady stream of climbers, of all ages, and from all over the country and world. trail up to Menan Butte summit

I was glad to see the many families struggling up the winding paths with their children, with some dedicated fathers even carrying infants. trail up to Menan Butte summit

The hike took about and 45 minutes to reach the top and I enjoyed the view on some rocks near the summit.View from atop Menan Butte summit Idaho

It was a much easier,  and quicker,  hike back down the butte and I returned to my car around 10:15 am. , 15 minutes before the eclipse was to begin. View from atop Menan Butte Idaho summit

I heard the excited voices of some Asian tourists shouting it had begun and put on my protective glasses to watch the moon begin it’s two hour journey across the face of the sun.  I took this photograph of some of the many folks who climbed the butte to watch the eclipse. People atop Menan Butte Idaho watching total solar eclipse

I walked over to the group of photographers and set up my camera equipment. I am not, by any means, a professional photographer, I let the cameras do the work fir me, and was worried I had purchased an incorrect eclipse lens. I did take a few photos of the start of the eclipse with this being the best result .Moon starting to eclipse sun

I spent the next hour taking peak at the ever diminishing disc of the sun through my protective glasses and watching a slight change in the intensity of the sunlight.moon eclipsing solar disc

It was amazing how, even at 95% of coverage of the solar disc, the intensity of the suns rays were still blinding without the glasses. Folks in the group next to me did  notice a change in the shadows cast by the diminished sunlight,shadow cast during total solar eclipse

and there was a slight noticeable change in the lighting  in the landscape.lanndcape during start of total solar eclipse

However at totality everything changed so quickly. It was wonderful and magical. view of sun during total solar eclipse

The skies rapidly darkened  and the sun became a black hole in the sky surrounded by a halo of bright light. It was amazing..view of total solar eclipse

Mars and Mercury appeared and a red sky, as seen on the eastern horizon at sunrise, and the western horizon at sunset, ringed the entire horizon. I was glad I was on the flat plains of Idaho to  view of horizon during total solar eclipseobserve it. 

There were shouts of joy from the group of people around me, dogs barked and babies cried. The temperature dropped and I reached for my IPhone to take this video, which can be seen on my YouTube channel at this link https://youtu.be/k0M_iZCyGv0I also reached for one of my cameras, my Canon 5D Mark III and took this and a few other photographs. 

The two minutes of totality went so fast,  I didn’t get a chance to take  any landscape photographs of the butte as I planned and I missed seeing some of the stars other folks near me said thy had seen. It never good totally dark, just a late twilight feeling. Still something you could never really exactly describe without experiencing it. 

It was a truly remarkable experience, but if I could do it over, and when I see my next one in 2024, I will  spend more time enjoying it and not try to video or photograph this fantastic cosmic event.  Here is a link to some more photographs of my visit to Menan Butte to watch the eclipse. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/idaho-solar-eclipse-2017/nggallery/idaho-solar-eclipse-20017/Idaho-Day-Three-Solar-Eclipse-At-Menan-Butte-August-21-2017

As soon as the shadow moon  moved  just past the sun it once again became bright and you now again had to use the eclipse glasses to watch the event. After about ten minutes I decided to leave this area and get to the highway to finish watching the eclipse there, in hopes of avoiding traffic. Unfortunately, the local police directed me, and others with the same idea, in a northerly direction where we ran into a lot of traffic. I decided to try a shortcut from looking at Google maps on my IPhone but soon came to a dead end.

A local resident explained to me that my best bet would to re-trace my path and make my way to the major highway. I did and found the major highway route 20 with traffic at a standstill. All back roads heading south were also congested. 

I decided to head back to the nearest town Rexburg, which to find something to eat and explore the town until the traffic subsided.  I found traffic in the town to be heavy and all of the restaurants with long lines of folks doing the same thing as me. I waited in line at a Thai restaurant where I had a nice lunch. 

After lunch I walked the streets of Rexburg for a bit and got back on Route 20 for my journey back to Idaho Falls. It was congested, but moving traffic for 15 of the 20 mile trip but traffic stalled again 5 miles from my hotel. I once again took to the back roads and this time did find my way to the hotel after driving some rural roads. 

It was late afternoon when I arrived, and after a meal at a nearby Mexican restaurant I was back at my hotel. With a long day planned early in the morning I was soon fell asleep reflecting on the marvelous eclipse I had experienced and thinking about plans to observe the next, visible much closer to my home in Pennsylvania in 7 years. Here is a link to some more photographs from my drive back to the hotel. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/idaho-solar-eclipse-2017/nggallery/idaho-solar-eclipse-20017/Idaho-Day-Three-Drive-to-hotel-August-21-2017 

 

Nothing is there beyond hope
Nothing that can be sworn impossible
Nothing wonderful, since Zeus,
Father of the Olympians
Made night from mid-day
Hiding the bright sunlight
And sore fear came upon men.
[Perhaps written having seen the eclipse of 6 Apr 648 BC.] 

 

 

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Total Eclipse Of The Sun: The Journey Begins. Utah And Idaho Are Beautiful States.

As a child, my first interest in the sky and stars was when my dad took me outside on a cool, clear July night and showed me the Milky Way. I fell in love with the stars and spent many clear nights observing the stars, moon and planets. . So when I heard there would be a total eclipse of our star, I knew I had to see it. So I mad plans to head to Idaho to make sure. Idaho has some of the least cloudy skies in the country. I began my trip early Saturday morning from the Wilkes-Barre Scranton airport. airplane at airport

It was a nice flight, with a short layover in Detroit and I spent it like I always do, watching thee changing landscape pass beneath me and thinking about the folks who live there and how they live their lives. This trip was a bit more comfortable since the seat next to me was empty. Why couldn’t that happen on my trip to Australia.  Here is a link to some photographs I took from the plane. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/idaho-solar-eclipse-2017/nggallery/idaho-solar-eclipse-20017/Idaho-Day-One-Airplane-photos-August-19-2017-landscape from airplane

I landed in Salt Lake City around 10:00 am and I was soon in my rental SUV, a Highlander, heading north on the scenic highways of Utah. The traffic was very heavy until I reached Ogden. highway in Utah

I was hungry and stopped in the tiny town of Tremonton where is was surprised to see the large corn fields growing in the dry hot climate. The temperatures were near 90 and the grass along the interstate highway was parched.cornfields and mountains in Utah

I found a tiny restaurant, J. C.’s Country  Diner where I stopped  to have a very hearty and delicious breakfast and enjoyed some wonderful conversation with my waitress , some local folks and the owner.  My waitress convinced me to try the local corn and I did. It was awesome. small diner in Utah

I continued my journey, with surprisingly, light traffic through the mostly desolate countryside. I heard reports of traffic jams in Oregon but none so far on my journey. desolated building in Utah

I entered Idaho and continued through the “high desert” country wishing I had more time to explore but I had over three hours of driving to get to Twin Falls and I had a few stops planned on the way. highway sign  into Idaho

The first was in the small town of Hazelton Idaho. I first became aware of this town in elementary school when looking up my home town of Hazleton in an atlas.sign about Hazelton Idaho

I always wanted to visit and today I did stopping for some  fuel, coffee for me and gas for the car. buildings in Hazelton Idaho

I took a quick walk through the quiet town wondering if any of the folks ever thought about the other Hazleton. Some cool old buildings and this old truck  along the streets of this small town.old white truck Hazelton Idaho

I now drove through areas cultivated by irrigation from the Snake River and saw crops of corn, soy beans and I am not sure what this is, I think Swiss chard. crops being irrigated in Idaho

And of course potatoes. potato crops in Idaho

And there were some other interesting sights. Seeing this tin man reminded me I was not in Pennsylvania anymore .tin man sculpture Idaho

I drove to the tiny town of hunt to visit the location of a darker part of our Country’s history, the Minidoka Japanese Internment Camp. Internment building Minidako camp Idaho

As I walked past the guard tower I couldn’t help be reminded of my recent visit to Auschwitz and the horrors that occurred there. Fortunately our Nation is a Nation of laws and even though is was wrong to round up these United States citizens, they were not mistreated, and  our Government did try and provide them, pretty much everything  but what is most important, their freedom.  It was still far too high a price for these Americans to pay. guard tower Minidako Idaho

I will try and do another blog post on my visit here but two things occurred on my walk I would like to mention, first, I saw a hawk in the sky, and too a few photos. I checked the photos and discovered I had my close up setting on the camera. Disappointed I looked up and saw a sky filled with the majestic birds. A birder Facebook friend identified them as Swainson Hawks. hawk in flight

I was amazed at watching these birds soar through the sky, and as I walked along the replicate barbed wire fence I thought of the imprisoned Japanese Americans and somehow felt this was some of the departed saying they are now free. barbed wire fence

Then as I walked along the fence I noticed a dragonfly. It hovered around me and then alight on the barbed wire. Again an interesting sign, I will say more in my post on my visit but for now here is a link to some photographs I took on my walk. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/idaho-solar-eclipse-2017/nggallery/idaho-solar-eclipse-20017/Idaho-Day-One-Minidoka-August-19-2017dragonfly on barbed wire

I left the camp and it was not later than I planned almost 4:00 pm. I did not arrive at my hotel, a Quinta Lodge in Twin Falls until almost 5:00 pm and found my room was still not ready. I decided to talk a quick walk to the Snake River Canyon rim and was treated to a spectacular view of the river. Here is a link to some more photographs from my drive to Twin Falls. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/idaho-solar-eclipse-2017/nggallery/idaho-solar-eclipse-20017/Idaho-Day-One-Travel-to-twin-Falls-August-19-2017-Snake River Idaho

I  hadn’t known a lot about this area and soon learned much of the history at the visitor center. Bridge over Snake River

I was tired and hungry and finally checked into my room after 6:00. After unpacking, recharging my electronics and taking a quick hot shower, I drove over to a nice restaurant Elevation 486.Snake river idaho

Unfortunately, the restaurant was crowed and I couldn’t get a seat with a view but I still had a nice meal and then wandered along the canyon rim for a while before I drove back to my hotel.  I think I was sleeping in ten minutes. It was a long day but it was sure great to be back on the road. Glad you were able to come along. Here is a link to some more photographs taken after diner at the canyon rim. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/idaho-solar-eclipse-2017/nggallery/idaho-solar-eclipse-20017/Idaho-Day-One-evening-at-Snake-River-rim-August-19-2017Snake river

 

Adventure is worthwhile.”- Aristotle

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Poland Day Fifteen Sopot And Oliwa. So Nice To See The Sea Again.

After our tour of Gdansk we  boarded a local train for the short 15 minute ride to Sopot. Along the way we passed the famous shipyards of Gdansk where Lech Walesa began the solidarity movement that, with the help of Pope John Paul, brought down the Communist regime in Poland. 

We soon arrived at the train station in Sopot and walked through this resort town  seeing some of it’s famous landmarks,

including the famous “crooked house”.

We walked into the square which contained many restaurants and shops. One of them was serving this delicious looking treat, waffles, ice cream and strawberries. 

It was well past lunch so we decided to eat,  and this time, something besides traditional Polish food.  So we stopped in the Avocadoa Japanese style restaurant.  The food was delicious, one of the best Japanese meals I was ever served and I have eaten in a lot of Japanese restaurants on this planet. I never would have thought I would have such great Japanese food in Poland. 

After lunch we walked down to the beach. It was good to see the  Baltic Sea again. I last saw in it Helsinki Finland when I toured Scandinavia. Photographs and comments about this trip can be found in the archives of my blog. 

As my sister, niece and guides walked the pier I found myself photographing the many shore birds in the waters next to the pier. 

I enjoy watching the seagull and other shore birds and can spend hours at a beach photographing them. I was watching three seagulls interact and was ale to learn it was a family and mommy was feeding her youngster. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw  at Sopot. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Sopot-birds-April-22-2017-

I wish we could have stayed here for a few hours, or days, or weeks, but it was now getting late in the afternoon and we still had a few stops planned before our train ride back to Warsaw. . We walked back to the train station and took a short trip to Oliwa a section of Gdansk.   Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to Sopot. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Gdansk-Sopot-beach-April-22-2017

Our guides chose a visit to Oliwa for two reasons, one was the beautiful 16th century Oliwa Cathedral, and the other a visit to, reportedly, the best pierogi restaurant in Gdansk, Mandu. 

We left the train and walked the peaceful streets of this quiet town to make reservations at the Mandu restaurant. We were told there was a line and it would be an hour wait. Kasha volunteered to wait in the line in the hope of getting a seat for us and we continued on to the Cathedral. 

It was a nice walk in the late April sunshine, and we made our way through a tree-lined park with canals, 

flower gardens,

and ducks. 

As I had  found in every city, town and neighborhood during my visit to Poland there was always some sort of remembrance to the horrors of the Nazi occupation during World War II.

We arrived at the Cathedral

just as a local orchestra was starting to rehearse  for a concert. So we were able to view the beautiful altars, 

painting and

relics as they performed soothing classical music. Here is a link to the music on. my YouTube channel https://youtu.be/ddWQ8HUrk9s

As do most churches in Poland there was a memorial, altar, painting or statue of the Polish Pope, Pope John Paul II. Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to the Cathedral. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Oliwa-Cathedral-April-22-2017-

We were hungry but we hadn’t heard form Kasha so we walked back to the restaurant to still find long lines and a half hour wait. We all tried to implore the hostess of our plight, we had a train to catch, and we wanted to try the best pierogi in Poland, but it didn’t work.  

We left, disappointed and hungry and took the local  train back to Gdansk. As we waited for a train we all watched the antics of this local cat in a yard next to the train station. Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to Oliwa. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Oliwa-walk-April-22-2017

After a short wait at the train station in Gdansk, and an interesting visit to the bathroom,  we were soon on our way back to Warsaw. I had a surprisingly good meal, for train food, on the ride. .

We arrived back in town late and I was soon in the hotel, realizing the next day would be my last in Poland. I also started planning my return. It is a wonderful country. And I have so much more to explore.  

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”- Andre Gide

 

 

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Poland Day Fifteen A Train Ride To Gdansk And Poland’s Baltic Coast.

It was another early start on Saturday morning.  No time for breakfast. We met our young guides Kasha and Karol  in the lobby of our hotel around 6:00 am We  then proceeded to the nearby  train station. Our train left Warsaw at 6:15 am. 

It was a three hour ride to the city but the train was modern and comfortable and I enjoyed watching the passing scenery under the April sunshine. .  Our train crossed over the bridge I walked to on my first morning in Warsaw and we were soon outside the city limits. 

The train traveled through mainly rural areas, farms,

and woodlands, occasionally passing a small town or industrial area. 

It was a pleasant ride and the countryside again reminded me of my home in Northeastern Pennsylvania. We began to pass larger  towns and commercial areas  and  I knew we were near Gdansk when we passed the magnificent Malbork castle, home of the famous Teutonic Knights. We wanted to stop here  but there was no time on our schedule this visit. Hopefully I will get back to visit it since it is one of the largest  castles in Europe. 

We arrived at the grand old train station in Gdansk under sunny skies but still cool temperatures. Here is a link to some more photographs taken from the train on the ride to Gdansk . http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Gdansk-train-ride-April-22-2017- 

We set out on our walking tour of this 1000 year old city, once a member of the Hanseatic league and one of the richest cities in Europe. 

Unfortunately, like so many cities in Poland there was much destruction during the war but much of the city has been rebuilt. 

We walked the busy streets of the city and entered the old town through the Highland Gate that was built in  the 16th century. The gate is the beginning of the Royal  Way that takes one through the medieval city and ends at the Green Gate. Here is a link to some more photographs from our walk to the Highland Gate. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Gdansk-Walk-to-city-gate-April-22-2017 

Once inside the gate,  you immediately were transported back in time and felt like you were walking in the city of the Middle Ages. 

The narrow streets were filled with many statutes and artifacts that were salvaged from the ruins of the destruction left by World War II. 

And there was  the splendor of the reconstructed Gold Gate that was the entrance to the main Avenue of the city,  Ulica Dluga. 

We leisurely strolled the old street taking in the many wonderful sights including the small shops along the way. 

It was now late morning and we decided to have breakfast.  We  found a charming little place,  the Cafe Bar Mon Balzac  where we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast. 

After breakfast we walked over to the impressive Church of St. Mary. This massive church is the largest medieval brick church in Europe. 

It’s construction was began in 1343 and took over 150 years to complete. 

We first made the long, and exhausting climb  up the 410 steps to  the tower,

and we were rewarded with spectacular views of the city below and the surrounding towns and Baltic Sea to the north. 

To the west were the shipyards which Lech Walesa and the solidarity movement made famous. We enjoyed the magnificent views in the strong northerly wind and then made the long climb down the 410 steps to continue our visit to the church. Here is a link to some  photographs  from the church and tower. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Gdansk-St.-Mary’s-Church-part-two-April-22-2017-

The church was filled with may splendid paintings and artifacts which adorned the many altars. 

I enjoyed the medieval astronomical clock, it reminding me of the one I  visited in the cathedral in Lund, Sweden. Here are some more photographs of our visit to St. Mary’s church. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Gdansk-St.-Mary’s-Church-

After leaving the church we continued our walk through the old town and past the town hall and the famous Fountain  of Neptune. 

We soon came to the Green Gate, which ended the Royal Route. We walked through the gate and onto the old streets and rive walk along the Motlawa River. Here is a link to some more photographs of our walk through old town Gdansk. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Gdansk-old-town-April-22-2017-

 

Passing through the gate was like walking into another world. We gazed up the blue waters of the Motlawa River canal and the ships, buildings and Ferris wheel, which seems to be present in all river and port cities around the world these days. 

The large ships in the canal attest to Gdansk’s importance as a port and trading center, and to which it’s wealth over the centuries could be attributed. 

We walked along the river walk taking in the beautiful scenery and watching this crew team practice on the calm waters of the river. 

We also had time to visit one of the many amber shops in the city. Amber, fossilized tree resin is another source of the wealth of Poland’s Baltic coast over the centuries. My sister and niece enjoyed the many items for sale and even I, not  being  a big shopper, purchased a small insect encased in amber millions of years ago. 

We walked along the river and the many shops but had to leave this wonderful place and exited  the river walk area of the city through one of the many ancient  gates. 

We walked the  streets of the city, passing  quaint, well maintained housed, many adorned with symbols of their proximity to the sea. 

As we made our way back to the train station we passed a number of squares churches and monuments depicting the long history of the city. 

And like all cities there  were all kind of products for sale. I just photograph, I don’t judge. 

We passed another nice park before finally arriving at the train station, where we were going to take a train to another part of Poland I have not yet explored, the sea coast! Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to the river. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fifteen-Gdansk-Motlawa-River-walk-April-22-2017

“You have sea, you have boat, you have oars, and then why on earth you are rotting in the port?” 

Mehmet Murat ildan

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Poland Day Fourteen. Our Walk Through Warsaw Continues.

After leaving St Ann’s church we continued  our tour  of Warsaw, now walking along the Royal Route and the many beautiful buildings, churches and monuments that are found there. 

We walked past this impressive statute of Adam Mickiewicz, a famous Polish poet, 

There were many statues along the streets which were crowded with tourists taking in the sights and local residents walking on to the many restaurants and shops in the Old and new Town just visited. 

We passed the  residence of the Polish President, 

and made our way to Pilsudski Square where many historic events have taken place over the centuries and where Pope John Paul II held a mass on his first visit to his native Poland after  becoming Pope. 

Near the square was  the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, guarded by two young soldiers. 

We next made a short visit to the beautiful grounds of the University of Warsaw, and some of it’s buildings.   Here is a link to some more photographs from our walk along the Royal Route. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fourteen-Warsaw-Royal-Route-walk-April-2017

Before leaving this area we visited the church of the Holy Cross. 

The Church is resting place of Frederic  Chopin’s heart.  It was removed from his body, which was buried in Paris, by his sister who brought it back to Poland. 

We spent some time here admiring the beautiful altars and relics. Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to this famous church. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fourteen-Warsaw-Church-of-the-Holy-Cross-April-21-2017-

We had one more stop in this section of Warsaw, one of particular interest to my niece Kelly, the Frederic Chopin Museum. 

Kelly is a very accomplished pianist and she often played Chopin for my dad, her grandfather. He was so proud of this Polish composer. And even more so of his granddaughter Kelly when she played his compositions. 

We spent about an hour in the Museum learning much about the life of this talented man. Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to the Museum. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fourteen-Warsaw-Chopin-Museum-April-21-2017

It was now getting late in the afternoon, but we had one more place to visit, And we arrived there after a short bus ride,  the beautiful buildings and gardens of Lazienki park.

The weather turned cooler when we arrived and the skies threatened rain so hurried through the tree lined paths of the park, quickly viewing the many statutes and monuments, such as this one of Chopin. He is very popular throughout Poland. 

We walked past the many stately buildings in the park, 

and encountered some local residents along the way such as the many peacocks that live here, 

and  a few of these beautiful ducks. 

We made our way to the Palace on the Water and the famous baths the park is named after.  Here is a link to some more photographs from our walk in the park. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fourteen-Warsaw-Lazienki-park-April-21-2017

It was now  late in the afternoon and starting to rain so we had to end are daylong tour of Warsaw. We took a cab back to the Old Town section of the city where we enjoyed a great dinner. I started with a  very flavorful sorrel soup, 

and local trout for my main course. 

It was already dark when we finished our meal and arrived back at our hotel. It was an exhausting but exciting day, having learned so much about the history, people and culture of Poland. I was soon asleep, since we had a 6:15 train to catch to Gdansk the next morning. 

 

 

 

“Put all your soul into it, play the way you feel!”
Frederic Chopin

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Poland Day Fourteen: A Walk through The Heart Of The City, The New And Old Town Warsaw

After breakfast at my hotel in Warsaw we met our tour guides for the next three days. A young Polish couple, Karol and his girlfriend Kasha. They are relatives of my niece Cassidy’s best friend and they offered to show us some of Warsaw and northern Poland. After our introductions, we began our tour of the city at the nearby  metro station and shopping center.Bus ride and New town walk -7

The shopping center or Złote Tarasy (Golden Terraces) is housed in an award winning modern building and, it and the nearby  buildings attest to the modernization of the city taking place. Bus ride and New town walk -2

After a brief tour of the area, we soon boarded a bus and headed to the New Town section of the city. The name is misleading in that  the New Town dates to the 15th century. Bus ride and New town walk -8

Our bus left us off near the Monument to the 1944  Warsaw Uprising. We would learn so much more about this heroic effort to rid the city of the Nazi invaders, the betrayal by the Russians, and the destructive retaliation of the Germans, later in our stay in Warsaw. Bus ride and New town walk -14

We walked the busy streets and made our way to our first visit to one of Warsaw’s  many historic churches, St. Jacek or St Hyacinth. St Hyacinth Church -1

The original church was constructed during the early 17th century but, as we learned, like so many other churches and historical buildings, it was destroyed by the Germans in World War II. Like many churches and buildings, it was rebuilt and now houses some of the relics, paintings and treasures that were salvaged from the ruins. Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to this church. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fourteen-Warsaw-St-Hyacinth-Church-April-21-2017-

We walked the streets of the “New Town” visiting an old square and these odd looking bear statutes. Bus ride and New town walk -30

We continued our exploration of the square and then made our way to the banks of the Vistula River. Bus ride and New town walk -32Bus ride and New town walk -46

It was a cool April day but I imagined how nice the parks along the river would be on a sunny and warm Spring or Summer day. And  I thought how many people enjoyed these days over the centuries. Here is a link to some more photographs of our walk through the New Town. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fourteen-Warsaw-Bus-ride-and-walking-tour-New-Town-April-21-2017-

Our guides next took us into the Old City, separated from the Old City by the Barbican or city wall. There is little remaining form the original destroyed during the war. The wall was rebuilt from bricks from buildings destroyed in the war. Old Town -7

We walked past the colorful homes situated on the streets leading to the Old Town and stopped to enjoy the view.Old Town -3

We made our way to the Old Town Square, surrounded by houses and building reconstructed after the war. It, like the square in Krakow, and most old town squares in Europe,  was a center of activity for both residents of the city and tourists. Old Town -19

As in all cities there  are many restaurants and  gifts shops lining the streets of the square. Old Town -32

In the middle of the square is a statute of the mermaid of Warsaw. This statute replaced the original one that fell into disrepair. There is a legend that local fisherman rescued her from a merchant who captured her in the Vistula river and she now protects the city in gratitude  to the fishermen. Old Town -16

As we   continued through the narrow streets of the Old Town I enjoyed taking tin the many site and watching the interaction  of the local residents and tourists. Old Town -29

We next walked past the impressive Royal Castle, again a reconstruction of the original,  that was completely destroyed during the war. We didn’t have time to visit the castle, but I hope to return. Old Town -42

It was now lunch time and we had walked all morning so we stopped and had a nice lunch at one of our guides favorite restaurants. Old Town -49

After lunch we visited another church. St Ann’s. across from the Royal Castle. St Ann's Church -14

First we went up the observation deck in the bell tower to get  a nice view of the Old Town and the rest of Warsaw. St Ann's Church -6

We  then visited the interior of the  church and the many beautiful altars, artifacts, paintings and relics. Here is a link to some more photographs of  the church and the view from the bell tower. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Warsaw-St-Ann’s-church-St Ann's Church -33

After our visit to St Ann’s we continued our marathon walking tour  along the Royal Route. Here is a link to some more photographs from our walk in Old Town Warsaw.  http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fourteen-Warsaw-Old-Town-walk-April-21-2017Old Town -48

 

“Cultivation, old civilization, beauty, history! Surprising turnings of streets, shapes of venerable cottages, lovely aged eaves, unexpected and gossamer turrets, steeples, the gloss, the antiquity! Gardens. Whoever speaks of Paris has never seen Warsaw. […] Whoever yearns for an aristocratic sensibility, let him switch on the great light of Warsaw.” ― Cynthia Ozick

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Poland Day Fourteen: Warsaw. A Meandering Morning Walk To The Vistula River.

It was a cool and sunny morning when I awoke my first day in Warsaw. After a cup of coffee, I was off exploring the streets of the city. Warsaw morning walk -4

I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going,  like I often do on my travels, I just wanted to get acquainted with the city. I had a general ideal where the Vistula River was and decided to walk in that direction.Warsaw morning walk -6

 So I  meandered  the busy morning streets,  blending in with the many commuters heading to work and school, some stopping for a bite to eat at the many small pastry and breakfast sandwich shops along the way. Warsaw morning walk -3

I came upon, what,  I would learn later, is a famous square in Warsaw,  Plac Trzech Krzyzy or Three Crosses Square. I briefly stopped in the church as they were celebrating the morning Mass.Warsaw morning walk -20

I continued toward the direction of the river and found myself in a upscale residential neighborhood. Warsaw morning walk -29

The neighborhood was next to a park neat the river and I enjoyed strolling under the ancient trees. Most of the historic and other buildings in Warsaw  were destroyed by the Germans in World War II. Thankfully, it seems,  they let many of the parks alone.  Warsaw morning walk -28

I found this small pond in the park.Warsaw morning walk -32

And I heard, and saw  some of the many birds that make the park their home.Warsaw morning walk -38

I found my way to the Vistula River and walked up a bridge to get a view. It was good to see this river again, now a few hundred miles north of where I last saw it flowing through the middle of Krakow. Here is a link to some more photographs from my walk to the river. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fourteen-Warsaw-morning-walk-April-21-2017Warsaw morning walk -49

I decided it was time to head back to the hotel and made my way along the edge of the park and busy Jerozolimskie Street, which was elevated above the park.Warsaw morning walk -54

I eventually had to climb stairs to reach the street near The National Museum in Warsaw. Warsaw morning walk -58

I walked the busy street in morning rush hour traffic and enjoyed watching the hustle and bustle of the passing people, cars, trams and buses. Warsaw morning walk -71

And observing the many businesses and other buildings on the way. Warsaw morning walk -75

I arrived at the hotel, located near the central train station in Warsaw, with just enough time to shower and enjoy a quick breakfast with my sister and niece before we set out on a day long walking tour of the main sites of the city. Here is a link to some more photographs of my morning walk.. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Fourteen-Warsaw-morning-walk-April-21-2017Warsaw morning walk -79

“A city isn’t so unlike a person. They both have the marks to show they have many stories to tell. They see many faces. They tear things down and make new again.” Rasmenia Massoud

 

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Poland Day Thirteen: Krakow To Warsaw: Snow, Castles, Czestochowa And A Change Of Plans

The horrors of Auschwitz were still troubling my mind when I awoke on another cold and rainy morning in Krakow. Fortunately, we had another busy day ahead of us, and I knew the best thing to honor the victims was to live and enjoy life, but always remembering  the events that lead up to this holocaust. We must never forget. Auschwitz exhibits -46

So, after another   delicious breakfast  at our hotel,  my sister, my niece and I met our guide for the day , Maciek, a intelligent young man with a vast knowledge of Polish history.  We soon  were off to Warsaw, with a stop at  Czestochowa. We learned so much more about the city of Krakow as we drove it’s busy rush hours  streets. Poland Day Thirteen KraKow to Czestochowa -1

 As we left the city limits of Krakow and entered the countryside the clouds began to clear and we saw blue skies, and snow! Lot’s of snow.  We were told this is a very unusual occurrence for this part of Poland in late April. Poland Day Thirteen KraKow to Czestochowa -8

The snow made for a scenic ride through the rural Polish countryside, and again this part of Poland reminded me of the hills of my home in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Poland Day Thirteen KraKow to Czestochowa -43

However everything was not the same as we came upon these unique rock formations in one of the many local and national parks in the area. Poland Day Thirteen KraKow to Czestochowa -16

Our guide told about the history and culture of the area as we visited a number of the many 14th century castles, some in ruins, Poland Day Thirteen KraKow to Czestochowa -38

and others well maintained that are know at the “trail of the Eagle’s Nest”. These castles were built atop rock ledges along the border of Bohemia in the 1300’s. Poland Day Thirteen KraKow to Czestochowa -18

We stopped at a few of them, and drove by others as we made  our way to Czestochowa.  Poland Day Thirteen KraKow to Czestochowa part two -19

I enjoyed the ride through the rural back roads, passing parks, farmland and the occasional small town. Here is a link to some more photographs from our ride through the Polish countryside. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Thirteen-Krakow-to-Czestochowa-April-20-2017-Poland Day Thirteen KraKow to Czestochowa -36

The unusual heavy snowfall was quite deep in some area drifting onto the road and giving us an idea  of what the Polish landscape would look like in the winter. Poland Day Thirteen KraKow to Czestochowa part two -13

We passed a few more castles as we made our way through the back roads of the countryside to Czestochowa.  Soon we were on the outskirts of the city and in sight of the steeples of Jasna Gora. .  Here is a link to some more photographs from our scenic ride to Czestochowa. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Thirteen-Krakow-To-Czestochowa-part-two-April-20-2017-Poland Day Thirteen KraKow to Czestochowa part two -6

We parked at the monastery and I again entered the famous gates that withstood the Swedish assault attributed to the protection of the “Black Madonna”. Poland Day Thirteen Czestochowa -2

Our guide Maciek arranged a very esteemed tour guide for our visit to the monastery. The very affable Father Simon. Poland Day Thirteen Czestochowa -27

This lovable old monk, a Pauline priest, gave us a wonderful and emotional tour of the famous monastery, it’s museums, and most importantly the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestowchowa.Poland Day Thirteen Czestochowa -4

We first stopped at the museum where we saw the various robes that adorned the famous painting of the Black Madonna over the centuries.  Poland Day Thirteen Czestochowa -7

There were many important historical treasures here, too many to mention, including this cross made from the steel from the World trade center.Poland Day Thirteen Czestochowa -9

I had already visited this Shrine which played such an emotional role in my father’s life. He was dedicated to Her and told me that none of his children would be here since She saved his life during his service in World war II. More of my first visit a week earlier can be seen in my earlier blog post. Poland Day Thirteen Czestochowa -19

This time, however, Father Simon, during a mass, took us up to the painting and allowed us to photograph the sacred image up close. It was the first visit for my sister Linda and niece Kelly and they, like me, had a very emotional experience as they knelt in the presence of the icon so loved by my their father and grandfather. Afterward my sister and I agreed, Father Simon was sent to us by dad. Poland Day Thirteen Czestochowa -17

We next proceeded  to the The Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Family, the beautiful church where I attended mass on Easter morning. Poland Day Thirteen Czestochowa -38

Father Simon explained so much history, about Poland, the Shrine and the monastery,  with many colorful stories, in such a short time. Poland Day Thirteen Czestochowa -22

We next visited the Treasury of the Blessed Virgin Mary   where we saw so many wonderful votive offerings  donated to the monastery over the centuries. Poland Day Thirteen Czestochowa -43

Father Simon, who spent many years in the United States, including a few years at a parish in Shenandoah,  not far from my home in Northeastern Pennsylvania, gave us many insights of his travels and world view. He had to rush off for another tour but we thoroughly enjoyed our time with this delightful old monk. Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to the monastery. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Thirteen-Czestochowa-April-20-2017-Poland Day Thirteen Czestochowa -33

After ending our tour and leaving the monastery, we had originally planned to spend the rest of day in the town  Czestochowa and then board a train to Krakow at 6:30 p.m. However,  because of the cold weather, we inquired of our guided if he could drive us to  Warsaw.  He placed a call to the tour agency to see if he could drive the approximately 140 mile trip while we had lunch at U Braci  a nearby pizza place. Poland Day Thirteen Czestochowa -42

We were happy to learn that Maciek would be able to drive us to Warsaw and we were soon on the major highway to Poland’s capitol city. The highway was much like our interstate highways here in the United States. Poland Day Thirteen Czestochowa to Warsaw -15

We chatted about Polish history and culture as well as world affairs and life in general, as we drove through the Polish countryside.Poland Day Thirteen Czestochowa to Warsaw -16

The country landscapes changed to a more suburban one as we neared Warsaw.Poland Day Thirteen Czestochowa to Warsaw -13

We passed many of the same sights we would see in the suburbs of any large United States city. Poland Day Thirteen Czestochowa to Warsaw -12

We saw the skyline of downtown Warsaw and it wasn’t long until we were at our hotel, the Warsaw Hilton. We said farewell to our great guide and we were soon checked in our rooms. Here is a link to some more photographs from our drive to Warsaw. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Thirteen-Czestochowa-to-Krakow-April-20-2017-Poland Day Thirteen Czestochowa to Warsaw -18

It was late in the afternoon, but we wanted to have a look around so we were soon walking the busy streets of Warsaw. Poland Day Thirteen Warsaw evening -8

The area around the hotel was just like any large city, with crowds of people walking the streets congested with automobiles, buses and taxis. Poland Day Thirteen Warsaw evening -7

Dominating the skyline near the hotel was the “Russian wedding cake” also know as the Palace of Culture and Science. We would learn much more about this gift from Russia and constructed in the 1950’s. Poland Day Thirteen Warsaw evening -1

it was late and we were hungry so we found a local restaurant and had a nice dinner of, of course, mushroom soup, andrailroad hike -1

pierogi. Both were very good. railroad hike -2

We made our way back to the hotel and i was soon asleep after another long day in Poland. I was looking forward to  the morning and some more exploration of Poland’s capitol. Here is a link to some more photographs from our evening walk. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Thirteen-Warsaw-evening-walk-April-29-2017-Poland Day Thirteen Warsaw evening -18

 

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

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Poland Day Twelve: An Evening In The Wieliczka Salt Mine

We did not have much time to rest  after returning from our tour of Auschwitz and Birkenau.  We had arranged an evening  tour of the famous 700 year old  Wilelczka salt mine about a half hour bus ride from Krakow, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Poland Day Tweve Salt Mine -1

The mines have been operated continuously for 700 years bringing great wealth to their owners since salt was one of the only ways to preserve food in the middle ages. It is also famous for the many sculptures made of salt that the workers created, and which are displayed, in the almost 2 miles of  the Poland Day Tweve Salt Mine -2mine open to the public. 

 We  entered an elevator and descended into the mine, beginning  our tour at one of the upper levels of the mine, although we were  still almost 300 feet underground. Poland Day Tweve Salt Mine -5

We learned how the mines began and  and how they changed as new technology improved the mining methods over the centuries. And we saw various exhibits depicting the various mining methods employed over the years. Poland Day Tweve Salt Mine -7

We also got to sample the salt, by licking the walls of the mine, as we were constantly amazed by the beauty of the sculptures we encountered. Poland Day Tweve Salt Mine -15

We proceeded downward, learning about the different levels of the mine and visiting the many sculptures made form the salt along the way. Here is a link to some more photographs from the first part of our tour. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Twelve:-Wieliczaka-Salt-Mine-April-19-2017-Poland Day Tweve Salt Mine -30

We climbed down a number of stairways and reached the beautiful  Chapel of St Kinga with it’s many altars, sculptures and chandeliers all made of salt. Poland Day Tweve Salt Mine -42

It was hard to believe the beauty of this massive chamber almost 400 feet underground. Poland Day Tweve Salt Mine part two -1

We learned about the chapel and many of the sculptures from our guide.Poland Day Tweve Salt Mine part two -9

And we then were given some time to explore beauty of these unique works of art. Poland Day Tweve Salt Mine part two -4

After visiting the chamber we continued our tour visiting an underground salt lake, Poland Day Tweve Salt Mine part two -26

and encountering this very real ghost roaming the mine.Poland Day Tweve Salt Mine part two -27

We came to a large chamber which was supported by massive wooden trestles and more elaborate salt sculptures. Poland Day Tweve Salt Mine part two -29

I am a big fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings and I could not help but imagining I was in the mines of Moria as we continued our tour of the mine.Poland Day Tweve Salt Mine part two -37

Out tour ended at an underground restaurant and gift store where we had some time to shop or grab a quick bite to eat. I just sat and reflected at yet another wonderful place, one of so many, I had discovered on my visit to Poland. Poland Day Tweve Salt Mine part two -46

There was also a chapel, were weddings were performed and a health spa located nearby. We next boarded a very small elevator where a lot of us were crowded into a very small space for our long journey up to the surface. It was not a ride for a claustrophobic person.  Poland Day Tweve Salt Mine part two -47

We returned to our hotel, where we had a nice late dinner, and a glass of wine. I was soon fast asleep, a little sad, knowing it would be my last night, but also looking forward to the adventures that were ahead as we traveled to Warsaw. Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to the mine. http://www.keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Twelve-Krakow-Wieliczka-Salt-mine-part-two-April-19-2017-Poland Day Tweve Salt Mine part two -48

“A person does not grow from the ground like a vine or a tree, one is not part of a plot of land. Mankind has legs so it can wander.”
Roman Payne

 

 

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