Sunday, December 04, 2011

October Fest

Este anio volvimos a celebrat October Fest. Este anio por fin pude usar mi vestido. La comida estuvo riquisima como siempre, unos chamorros fritos y cerveza para aventar para arriba.

Trunk and Treat

Halloween was fun. The school PA orginizes this event where parents decorate their trunks to make them look scary. They park around the playground and then kids are welcome to walk around and get candy! Syd decided to be a cat and she was featured in the school news letter. JP was a mummy, not scary at all. They had a blast and walked away with a decent amount of candy.

JP's birthday party

We finally celebrated JP's birthday party with a visit to a bowling alley that has a minigolf attached to it. We were lucky to have many of his friends celebrating with him. He had lots of fun.

Poland, part 3

Day 4 – Krakow/Warsaw
The next day was our last in Krakow, so we decided to do some souvenir shopping and take a city tour. They have these covered golf carts that are used to provide the equivalent of a 3 hour walking tour in about ½ hour. We decided to do the 1.5 hour tour, which covered the Old Town and the Jewish Quarter. We learned the following on this tour:
Kraków is one of the oldest cities in Poland, with evidence showing settlements there since 20,000 BC. Legend has it that it was built on the cave of a dragon whom the mythical King Krak had slain. However, the first official mention of the name was in 966 by a Jewish merchant from Spain, who described it as an important centre of trade in Slavonic Europe.
Through trade with the various rulers of Europe, it grew from a small settlement in 1000AD to a large wealthy city, belonging to the Vistulans. However, through the 9th and 10th centuries, it fell under the influence of the Great Moravians, then the Bohemians, before being captured by the Piast Dynasty of Poland. In 1038, Kazimierz the Restorer made Krakow the capital of Poland.
In 1241, the city was almost entirely destroyed by Tatars. It was rebuilt to a design that remains largely unchanged to the present day. However, after more successful attacks by the Mongols in the late 13th century, Kazimierz the Great set about defending the city. Walls, fortifications, and the original Wawel Castle were added. The University was also established. King Kazimierz established the district of Kazimierz for Jews to live in free from persecution. This area remained mainly Jewish for centuries until the Nazi occupation.
The 16th century was Krakow's golden age. Under the influence of the joint Polish-Lithuanian Jagiellonian dynasty, Krakow became a centre of science and the arts. In 1569, Poland was officially united with Lithuania and as a result government activity started to move to Warsaw. King Zygmunt III officially moved the capital in 1609.
However, the 17th century was a return to troubled times for Krakow and Poland. After being invaded by Russians, Prussians, Austrians, Transylvanians, Swedes, and the French, it went through a phase of various forms of political control. These included being part of the Duchy of Warsaw, established by Napoleon, and becoming an "independent city". However, it mostly fell under the sphere of influence of the Austrian Habsburg Empire, in the province of Galicia.

In the First World War, Józef Pilsudski set out to liberate Poland and the Treaty of Versailles (1919) established an independent sovereign Polish state for the first time in more than 100 years. This lasted until the Second World War, when Germany and the USSR partitioned the country, with German forces entering Krakow in September 1939. Many academics were killed and historic relics and monuments were destroyed or looted. Concentration camps were established near Krakow, including Plaszow and Auschwitz. After German withdrawal, the city escaped complete destruction and many buildings were saved.
In the Communist period, a large steel works was established in the suburb of Nowa Huta. This was seen as an attempt to lessen the influence of the anti-Communist intellegentsia and religious communities in Krakow. In 1978, UNESCO placed Krakow on the World Heritage Sites list. In the same year, the Archbishop of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla, was made Pope John Paul II.
The Communist Government collapsed in 1989 and Krakow is now undergoing another period of regeneration, with historic buildings being restored.
Within the old town, in addition to some of the sights mentioned already, we saw:
• Town Hall Tower was once a part of the big 13th-Century Gothic-Renaissance Town Hall on the Main Marketplace. The town hall was destroyed by the Austrians in the 19th century after they took control of Krakow. Currently a museum is in the tower. You have a nice view of the city from upstairs.
• Barbakan was built in the 15th century as the biggest European defense building of its kind. The Gothic Barbakan was meant to defend the Florian Gate from attacks of the Osman, which were thought to attack Central Europe after conquering Constantinople and the Balkans in the late Middle Age.
• Florian Gate is the only part of the town where ancient walls have survived. It consists of four towers and the arsenal and gives you a good idea of what the five kilometers of walls around the Old City looked like in the Middle Ages.
Within the Jewish quarter, we saw the main marketplace with a unique circular building in the middle, the Ghetto where Jews were rounded up and forced to live, remnants of the walls around the Ghetto, a monument consisting of empty chairs, representing the empty homes of Jews who were taken to concentration camps, and Shindler’s factory. Shindler employed about 1,000 Jews and when they were captured and taken to the concentration camps, he managed to get them all back.
We ate lunch at another traditional polish basement restaurant. We had another great meal with a sampler platter and a pork knuckle. After lunch, we picked up our bags back at the apartment and went to the train station. We caught the 2.30 train to Warsaw. After getting in around 6PM, we took a taxi to the hotel, dropped off our things, and had dinner at the restaurant next to the hotel. This was a very popular place and we were lucky to get a table. By the time we left, people were lined up to get in. The atmosphere and hospitality were great. We ate in a covered heated patio outside. We liked the sampler platter that we had for lunch in Krakow, so we decided to get another one at this restaurant. We laughed and wished the table next to us “good luck” with the massive pork knuckle that was just delivered. They returned the gesture when our sampler platter was delivered. The menu said it was for two, but it could have easily fed 5 or 6. There was pork knuckle, liver, steak, breaded pork, beacon, and a huge wall of fried onion. It was a good effort, but we probably left a good quarter of it behind. We ate so much that we were too full to sleep. We got a complementary drink at the end and then headed back to the room.
Day 5 - Warsaw
In the morning, we had breakfast at the hotel. It was a great spread, but we were still full from the night before. We checked out of the hotel and left our bags behind. We got information on a hop on hop off tour wandered down to the pick-up point. We did the tour which covered all the high points of Warsaw and gave us also the following history:
The medieval capital of Poland was the southern city of Krakow, but Warsaw has been the capital of the country since 1596, and has grown to become Poland's largest city and the nation's urban and commercial center. Completely destroyed by the Nazis during World War II, the city managed to lift itself from the ashes. Today, almost every building in Warsaw dates to the postwar era - with what little remains of the old structures being confined largely to the restored districts of Stare Miasto (the 'old city') and Nowe Miasto ('new city'), as well as selected monuments and cemeteries.
Warsaw was occupied by Nazi Germany in 1939, and was the scene of two major uprisings during the war - the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943, and the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. The former involved the remaining Jewish inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto, which had already largely been emptied by the Nazi extermination policies of the Holocaust, and was ended by the annihilation of the Ghetto by Nazi forces. The latter involved the Polish resistance forces, known as the Home Army (Armia Krajowa, or AK), rising up against the Nazi occupation of the city in hopes that the city could be liberated by Polish forces instead of the facing dubious Soviet 'liberation' from the east. The Soviet Union had cooperated with Nazi Germany in the invasion and occupation of Poland in 1939.
After the surrender, the German army, despite its agreements under the surrender treaty, systematically destroyed over 85% of Warsaw in retaliation for the uprising, including the historic "Old Town" which was rebuilt after the war. Of 987 historically important buildings, only 64 were left untouched by the Germans. Polish soldiers were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. Warsaw's civilian population was "evacuated" with some being sent to concentration camps, or sent to Germany for forced labor. Others were sent to different Polish cities.
In the first days of the fighting, Nazi forces indiscriminately murdered about 60,000 civilians, including women and children, in the district of Wola. In the end, the Uprising cost 180,000 civilians their lives, the lives of an additional 18,000 insurgents, the capital its glory, and the Polish nation its long-desired independence. The only thing that persevered was the Polish spirit.
Most of the sites are within the district of Śródmieście, which means inner city. On the tour, we saw the following highlights:
• Palace of Culture and Science – this is Warsaw's most recognizable building. Built in the 1950s as a "gift" to the Polish people by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. The building elicits mixed feelings from Poles - on one hand, the building has a controversially beautiful architectural style, however, the building was built by the man who helped Hitler rape the Polish countryside, then continued a campaign of senseless murders of the Poles when the Soviet-Nazi Germany relations soured. Today, the building is home to a movie theater, museum, restaurant, and college. Visitors can take an elevator to an observation deck, which provides a great view of Warsaw.
• The Parliament - Sejm is the name for the lower chamber of the Polish parliament (the name has also been adopted by Lithuania and Latvia).
• Umschlagplatz - A contender for the most sinister place in Warsaw the Umschlagplatz was the location Nazi officials herded Jews into cattle cars to be murdered at the Treblinka extermination camp. Estimates place the total number of persons transported from the Umschlagplatz at 300,000 or more.
• Tomb of The Unknown Soldier - Built in 1925, the tomb holds the remains of a Polish soldier who died in battle at Lwów, now Lviv, Ukraine. It also holds soil from 38 battlegrounds fought at by Poles. During the communist period, the authorities removed references to battles Poles fought against the Soviets. After Poland regained its independence in 1990, the references to the Polish-Soviet War were again added to the memorial. The tomb is located in Victory Square, which is where Pope John Paul II addressed his countryman for the first time after election to the Papacy.
• The Royal Castle - is a castle residency and was the official residence of the Polish monarchs. It is located in the Castle Square, at the entrance to the Warsaw Old Town. The personal offices of the king and the administrative offices of the Royal Court of Poland were located there from the 16th century until the Partitions of Poland. In its long history the Royal Castle was repeatedly devastated and plundered by Swedish, Brandenburgian, German, and Russian armies. The Constitution of 3 May 1791 was drafted here by the Four-Year Sejm
• Saski Garden - a lovely park in central Warsaw. It's small in comparison to Łazienki, but nonetheless relaxing with its forested landscape. Prior to WWII, it housed the Saski Palace, which like the rest of Warsaw was destroyed in the insane Nazi vengeance for the Warsaw Uprising. Plans to rebuild the palace have failed to materialize due to funding. Nowadays, one of the draws aside from the escape of the city is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is on the park grounds. edit
• Lazienki Park - was built and designed for a Polish politician, but became King Stanisław Poniatowski's, the last king of Poland, residence for much of later half of the 18th century. During Poniatowski's reign, much of the buildings on the park grounds were built. The most interesting buildings are the Łazienki Palace, Roman theater, and the so called Little White House, where the King sought the worldly comfort of mistresses. The park is a wonderful escape from hustle and bustle of the city streets that surround the park and can be the setting for a picnic or a wedding.
• Monument to the Warsaw uprising.
The old town is the area around the castle. We walked around and had a nice lunch in a local restaurant. We wanted to eat in one of the communist era milk bars, but could not find one in the old town. Milk bars were originally created in the sixties to serve cheap meals based on milk products. After the fall of communism, most of them closed down but some survived and still bear the climate from the old days. Afterwards, we went to tour the castle, but found that it was closed. So we went to the Frederick Chopin Museum, who is Poland’s most famous composer/musician. The museum was highly interactive so the kids really enjoyed it.
We only had about an hour, so we did the express tour, and then took a taxi back to the hotel for our bags, and then to the airport.

Poland, part 2

Day 3 - Krakow
On our third day, we went to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Auschwitz had for a long time been a German name for Oświęcim, the town by and around which the camps were located; the name "Auschwitz" was made the official name again by the Germans after they invaded Poland in September 1939. Birkenau, the German translation of Brzezinka (birch tree), refers to a small Polish village nearby that was mostly destroyed by the Germans to make way for the camp.
From early 1942 until late 1944, transport trains delivered Jews to the camp's gas chambers from all over Nazi-occupied Europe. Others deported to Auschwitz included 150,000 Poles, 23,000 Roma and Sinti, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, some 400 Jehovah's Witnesses and tens of thousands of people of diverse nationalities. Approximately, 1.5 million people died at the camps. Those not killed in the gas chambers died of starvation, forced labor, infectious disease, individual executions, and medical experiments. The victims of the medical experiments were mostly children. Of the estimated 200,000 children brought to the camp, only 600 survived.
On January 27, 1945, Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops, a day commemorated around the world as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In 1947, Poland founded a museum on the site of Auschwitz I and II, which by 2010 had seen 29 million visitors—1,300,000 annually—pass through the iron gates crowned with the infamous motto, Arbeit macht frei ("work makes free").
Although the kids came with us on this tour, they did not receive headsets to listen to the tour. Therefore, while the kids saw only empty buildings and rooms, we heard about the atrocities that went on there. Upon arrival, families were split apart with men going one way, women and children going another way. Doctors made selections to identify those fit for work and those (usually the old and disabled) to be sent to the gas chambers. The gas chambers are enormous. Those going to the gas chambers were told that they were getting a bath for disinfection. They were told to undress and to remember the number on the hook where they placed their clothes. Dying in the gas chamber was horribly painful, with death caused by internal suffocation. After death, the bodies went to a crematorium next door and the ashes used for fertilizer.
Some people taken to the camp were told that they were being taken to a new land start a better life. Some even paid for their own trip. Once there, the Nazis took their belongings, shaved their heads (the hair was sent to factories to make clothes and blankets), and put them to work in the camps. Prisoners did not have access to water and their clothes were never cleaned. They did not get enough to eat and often died of starvation. Many prisoners worked outside the camps in coal mines, factories, etc. These people had the best opportunity to escape. However, if they did, their family and/or neighbors would be rounded up and executed on the spot. Poland is the only country during Nazi occupation in which the death penalty was in place and enforced for anyone caught helping a Jew.

The facilities at Auschwitz were brick buildings. These were the old barracks for the Polish military. The facilities at Berkinau were essentially wooden stables. Each stable could reasonably accommodate maybe a few hundred people, but was used in actuality to house thousands of people. 15 to 18 people were crammed into three level bunk beds that looked like they were capable of accommodating only six. The beds were lined with only hay and often times no blankets were provided. Although there were furnaces in the stables, no wood was provided for heating. People often froze to death. The weaker ones were attacked by rats in the middle of the night. The toilet building was a separate stable that consisted simply of two rows of benches with holes cuts into them to make toilets. Prisoners were allowed to use the toilet only once in the morning and once in the night and they had no access to water, so disease was prevalent.
The visit to the camps was one of the most psychologically painful experiences I have ever gone through. The stories behind what I saw will haunt me for the rest of my life. At the end of the tour, the guide said that the camps were made by men to be hell on earth for other men. We have to be aware and take responsibility to make sure it does not happen again.
Many of the Poles that were brought to the camps were academics, doctors, politicians, etc. Polish military that stood up to the Nazis were also taken to the camps. Based on what I have read and seen, the Polish people are amongst the bravest that I know. The visit to the camps helped me to realize what a privilege and an honor it is to be Polish.
We left the camps and took a bus back to the city center. On our first day in Krakow, we noticed a traditional Polish restaurant that was packed with people lining up to get in. We decided to give it a try on this particular day and managed to get a seat. The food was great, but it was a restaurant that catered to students, so the ambience was not the best for families. We ate our meal, picked up dessert at a local bakery and retired for the night.

Visit to Poland- Part 1

Day 1 – Krakow
Sandy and the kids had a week off from school in October for Fall break, so we used the opportunity to cross Poland off our list. We flew into Warsaw and arranged for a car to take us to the central train station so that we could buy tickets to Krakow. While the people in Poland are extremely friendly and helpful, that excludes the ladies working the counter at the train station. Despite that, we managed to get ourselves tickets on the 10.30 train. It was supposed to be a 2 hour 40 minute ride, but it ended up being a 4 hour trip. There were some unexpected delays, but when it turned out to be the same going from Krakow to Warsaw, we concluded that the public transportation does not have the same commitment to punctuality as Switzerland. We made our way to the hotel which advertised itself as a Bed & Breakfast. As it turned out, we stayed in an apartment and the “breakfast” was served in a hostel down the street. The room was OK, but the floors and beds squeaked horribly – difficult to sleep as we all toss and turn and get up in the middle of the night for the bathroom. Regardless, the price was right, especially given the location, right in the middle of the old town. While food is cheap, the cost of lodging is pricey so this place worked out great.
We used the rest of the day to walk around the old town called Stare Miasto. The heart of the old town is Rynek Glowny (Main Marketplace). It is the biggest medieval marketplace worldwide with more than four hectares of area and twelve streets beginning here. It is lined with shops and restaurants. In the center of the square is Sukiennice (Cloth Hall). Sukiennice was built in the early 14th century in the middle of the Main Market as a trading hall in Gothic style. Nowadays, souvenir shops are there. We scouted out the souvenirs and then walked around the old town for a place to eat. We came across a basement restaurant called Bohema. We ordered Zurek (barly based soup with sausage and onions), goulash, pork knuckle, and goose. It was heavy, but very good and incredibly cheap. Most of our dinners were well below 50, including drinks.

Day 2 - Krakow
On the second day, we woke up early to beat the crowd of teenagers at the youth hostel to the breakfast buffet. We got there just before 8AM and were successful in our quest. It was not much of a buffet, but we were glad to get seats.
After breakfast, we walked down the street to the main attraction of the day - Wawel castle, which granted free access on Mondays (today). Wawel is the name of a lime hillock situated on the left bank of the Vistula at an altitude of 228 metres above sea level. This is a symbolic place of great significance for Polish people. The Royal Castle and the Cathedral are situated on the Hill. Polish Royalty and many distinguished Poles are interred in the Cathedral and royal coronations took place there. It's considered to be the most beautiful castle in Central Europe, besides the Hradcany in Prague.
Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power. In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Cracow was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Cracow along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill.

The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Cracow (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911.

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961.

We visited a couple of permanent exhibitions on our tour. The first one was called The Lost Wawel. This permanent exhibition, opened in 1975, presents archaeological discoveries, fragments of architecture and the history of the development of Wawel Hill from the Middle Ages to modern times. It is located in the basement of a building which encloses the arcaded courtyard from the west. The archaeological and architectural collection created here, comprises the remains of the Renaissance royal kitchens, the remnants of the Gothic castle, and above all, the four-apsed Rotunda of the Blessed Virgin Mary –later re-named the Rotunda of SS. Felix and Adauctus.
The second one was called Crown Treasury and Armory. The exhibition is located on the ground floor of the north-eastern corner of the castle. It is related to the historic institution of the Crown Treasury once located here, which was a visible sign of the independence of the Kingdom of Poland, and later of the Commonwealth of the Two Nations. From the 14th century the insignia of royal power were stored here (crowns, scepters, orbs, a sword, the Book of Gospels and a tray used in the ceremony of anointing a ruler), as well as a variety of valuables and curiosities which were official state property. At the same time in the castle the monarch’s private treasury consisting of the personal insignia, valuables and ornamental vessels was established. The assets of the Crown Treasury, augmented by diplomatic gifts and royal bequests, including the last will of Sigismund Augustus, were not on public display.
Single objects were only removed on special occasions, primarily for coronation ceremonies. Lists were made of the Crown Treasury’s content during regular audits. The first special public presentation of royal insignia took place in 1792. Three years later the Prussians broke into the Treasury and almost completely destroyed its contents.
Following the destruction of the royal insignia by the Prussians and the loss of almost all the treasures, the new collection, systematically augmented since 1930, only gives an inkling of the old magnificence of the place. Yet, it does include significant works of art, among them some historic artifacts, at the head of which is the Szczerbiec coronation sword - the most significant Polish historic artifact.

We next explored Wawel Cathedral, which included the Royal Tombs, Sigismund Bell and Pope John Paul II Cathedral Museum.
Wawel Cathedral holds a very special place in the history of Poland and the Poles’ national awareness. For centuries it has been the place of worship of St Stanislaus, the saint who has been inextricably connected with the idea of a united and independent Polish State, a concept which was equally valid in the period of regional disintegration, the Partitions of Poland and communist rule. The grave of the martyr has been considered the Altar of the Homeland. The history of the Cracow Diocese and its main church reached its culmination at the election of its host, Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, to the Holy See as Pope John Paul II.
Cracow Cathedral was the centre of worship of St Stanislaus (Stanisław), the Cracow bishop who was murdered in 1253 on the orders of King Bolesław the Bold. The grave of the bishop became a destination for pilgrims from all over Poland and neighbouring countries. The veneration of this saint was associated with the idea of the unification of the Polish Kingdom after the period of its regional disintegration. It was for this reason that the tradition of having coronations of Polish kings at the Gniezno Archcathedral was broken on the 20th of January. 1320, when King Władysław the Short was crowned at Cracow Cathedral, close to the relics of the patron saint of the restored Polish monarchy. After that, Wawel Cathedral became the site at which the coronations of Polish rulers took place.
For as long as a thousand years, the Cracow Metropolitan Basilica of SS Stanislaus and Wenceslaus has been the “mother of churches” in one of the most important Polish dioceses which in 1925 was raised to the rank of an archdiocese. The Lord’s service has been always conducted here with great splendour and was considered a model for other churches. In its glorious days, more then a hundred priests were involved in the cathedral services, and prayers continued day and night without interruption.
We finished our tour of the castle complex with a stop the Dragon’s Den. This is a large cave underneath the castle. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight.
After the tour, we grabbed a quick lunch, and also had our first serving of golumpki and pierogi. The golumpki was huge, filled mostly with rice and a little bit of minced meat, and covered in a gravy like sauce, only creamier. The pierogis were pretty similar to what we have back home, only a lot greasier and served with caramelized onions. One of favorites was the pierogis filled with spinach.
After lunch, we decided to find our way to the town of Wieliczka to visit the famous Wieliczka Salt Mine. The mine continuously produced table salt from the 13th century until 2007 as one of the world's oldest operating salt mines, for most of this time span being a part of the undertaking żupy krakowskie. It is believed to be the world's 14th-oldest company. The mine's attractions include dozens of statues and an entire chapel that has been carved out of the rock salt by the miners. They said on the tour that the price of our ticket includes all the salt we could lick, so the kids made use of the opportunity to lick everything in sight – they were constantly asked if it tastes like salt and apparently it did.
We took the bus back, walked around the old town for a bit and then went back to our apartment to freshen up. We noticed a Swiss restaurant (the 27th Canton) next to the apartment, so we decided to give it a try. It actually did not have much in the way of Swiss cuisine. But I had trout in this creamy walnut sauce that was fantastic.