2016 Poland - Warsaw, Salt Mines, Krakow and Auschwitz/Birkenau

Although I spent only 4 days in Poland a lot passed my eyes.  Scenic driving through to a great night in Warsaw and history lessons around Krakow.

The day started out ok, a little chilly as you can see, but I was on the moto by 8:30am and ready for 500 km Vilnius to Warsaw.  All good, until I realised that my GPS didn't know that we can't drive through Belarus without paying a $500 Visa.  So, I can say I went to Belarus for a second, but that's it.  I should have known I was not at the Polish border when everyone on the bus beside me at the heavily guarded crossing got out with passports in hand.  This doesn't happen between EU to EU countries and Belarus is not one of those countries.  I quickly was informed by the tough, burly border patrol, "Belarussia".  She seemed nice in a just killed a bear with my hands way.

Bye Belarus, and Oh shit.  The good news was that it was only a 40 km mistake adding 80 km to my day.  But hey, I touched Belarus!!!  

Highway A4 full of farms, villages and lakes.  C3R6T3V5/6.  

Game on

Early morning Sunday vendors in Vilnius

Sunny, but bring some heat!





Hey GPS, take a left, right?

Ah, this doesn't look good.  When your GPS runs out of map.



That's not a Polish Flag??

SOB, I'm in Belarus!!!

Back 40 km and back on track to Warsaw!  Side route to Poland C4/5R6T3V5.

Lots of roadside fruit vendors.

Heavy load

What a photo!





No idea?





Watch out for the slow moving traffic

Poland!!!

Majorly ripped off at the Kantor/change hut which of course I didn't realise until after.  Not sure, I changed only 50 euros, so it could have been worse.

Chang hut

Smacked in the face by a Polish Bug!

Augustow, lovely town
A little video to show the curves of this wooded area in North Poland.  A16 was nice C5R6T3V5.  Then A61 to Warsaw, slow going C3R6/7T6/7V5.

Very nice area
video




Yeah buddies!

Oh no, what's happened?

Heavy traffic on a small highway

One town ends and the next begins

Gong so slow a spider had time to
spin a web, haha



Minutes from Warsaw



Made it.  Blu's parking for the night


Let's have a tour of this beautiful city of Warsaw which was 80% rebuilt after World War II (the main parts/buildings).



Protest for Military action

Incredible sculpture





Royal Castle



Poland Parliament 

Here it is...The Chuck Norris Shot!  Tequila and a Jager bomb!

Busy bar area, The Pavillions
video


Damn you Chuck Norris!  On the road to Krakow, 300 km.  "Winner" for most construction on a highway in Europe.  A7 - Construction Free C2R8T4V4, Construction (65% of drive) C3/4R5-7T7/8V5/6.

What would Chuck Norris do?

Get on your bikes and ride!

A sign of being a little behind
Your motorway has traffic lights

Karkow, only 189km that should take 2 hours, right?



That Moto is definitely not going 70 kph

Construction

Motorway

Construction

Construction of Castles
Or in Modern Terms - Hotels

Little grub shack

Traffic backed up still 30 min from
Krakow

Big city bridge

Keep moving to the Wieliczka Salt Mines

Kinga Hotel - great deal

Tasty Fish and Chips 6 euros.

Staying in for the night
Going in to the Wieliczka Salt Mines (134 m below the ground), paying 2.50 euros for permission to take photos, WTF!  This was on top of the 20 euro entry fee.

Without this sticker you have to watch
out for the Photo Police!
Totally didn't need to buy this
as no one checks.
video



Tourist round up pens, yuck.

Right On!!!

Cosy

Something like 500 steps down to start the tour, whoa!

Wind breaking doors

Painted white years back to make it look more spacious.

Salt sculptures

Lots of religion in the Mine
Praying for safety and success





It's all salt

Let's get to work





Deep down



Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs
must have originated here

































































































Inside the Salt Mine Cathedral

Very amazing Cathedral at the
center of the earth.  Free Mass
so why pay to come to the mines??
video



Sculptured Last Supper

Hologram on the water

WTF?



Got to be the deepest below the surface gift shop 

A long time ago you could take
a boat tour, but some drunk soldiers
fell in to the salty water and got
trapped under the boat.  1915 ish.
They all died.

Tight elevator shaft!

Subsurface banquet room



Almost arrested??  A little video chat after "the tourist lost and in the wrong place" incident.  Wasn't my fault that the staff told me to leave the Russian tour and follow the English tour.  I must have missed that tour and ended up following German school kids out of the mines, which apparently their tour guide didn't like telling me I had to talk to the Police/Policja.

Let's get out of Wieliczka!

Following German school kids
thinking I was on the English
museum tour.  "why are we walking
so far and passing all the museum
exhibits?"
video


A quick rainy drive to Krakow and Hotel Kadetus which is perfectly located near Castle Wawel and Old Town.  Great staff and Perogies too at Bar 25!

Hotel Kadetus and my Non-Vegan room with smoking balcony for 21 euros.  Pretty good though.


I asked for the Vegan special 
video

Parking right in front

A sign I'm close to a touristic site

Vistula River

Wawel on Vistula River

Up to the gates...Closed :(

Wawel church


This seems a bit modern??
Wawel Castle ... Closed at 6pm.

The fire breathing Dragon
Every 5 minutes.
video


 Loud ass Hitchcockian birds in the park surrounding Old Town in Karkow.

The birds are angry
video


I forgot about this guy, Pope John Paul the 2nd was a big deal
and Polish!

Yummy Thai food for my sore throat

Town Hall





Oh, capitalism.  Hard Rock Cafe - Krakow





A very public flat for all to see

Spinach and Raspberry Perogies



Auschwitz and Birkenau.  The most known Nazi Concentration Camp where about 1.6 million Jews, Polish, Russian and Roma people perished.  

Due to misinformation I went to Birkenau first waiting for the free entrance of Auschwitz to open up.  In the end it was the better way to do it as Birkenau is a massive place.  Here are some photos.

Cold and Rainy, short 50 km
to Auschwitz.

Parked in front of Birkenau

Birkenau Train Entrance



Thinly built barn structures

Toilets

Heating system



No comment



Some helpful photos to give a little idea of the situation



Few buildings left at Birkenau

Photo of the personal effects being sorted



Furnaces for sterilising clothing and other items

Some of the many faces

Memorial Pond full of ashes of
victims 

water system, not sure if this was fresh or grey water

I'd like to think the people were
able to find a moment of peace
staring at this beautiful autumn tree
Auschwitz - began as an army barracks and became a camp for political prisoners and then a place of experiments and other mistreatment of human beings.

Arbeit Macht Frei = "Work Will Set You Free"



Everyone taking a moment to look at the Firing Squad Wall

Max Kolbe who gave his life in
exchange to save another prisoner
from death.





The hanging post where the commander of Auschwitz was
hanged after liberation.

Lots of electric fences
After a long cold day in the wind at Auschwitz and Birkenau I only carried on 25 km until Pszczyna where you can find the Price of Poland's hunting residency that was turned in to a sudo Palace.

Main square of Pszczyna

Hotel Piano Noble seems fancy from the Website

And it is Fancy!

Prince's Palace / Hunting Residency

What else but Buffalo for hunting!

Other Stuff

Thanks for the help Monika and Anna
No Europe SIM card so I needed
someone to call the apartment owner.

Notice the Green Vegetable, What is it???




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