You may not think of a salt mine as an exciting place to visit, but I’ll swear otherwise. Here’ ‘s a roundup of four salt mines I feel are worth your time and way more than a grain of that mineral.
Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
The Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow, Poland, earned one of the 12 prestigious spots on the very first UNESCO World Heritage list. Its operations date back to the 13th century, making it one of the most historic and famous salt mines in the world. Operations continued until 2007, more than 750 years. During World War II, the Germans used the mine as an underground facility for war-related manufacturing. Today, it’s primarily a tourist attraction.
In the heart of Central Mexico lies an enchanting colonial-era city, Guanajuato. Founded by the Spaniards in the early 16th century, it became the world’s preeminent silver-mining center in the 18th century. Guanajuato’s captivating historic district and famous mines have earned a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Yet, many have yet to hear of the place. I recently made an extraordinary day trip to Guanajuato from San Miguel de Allende and was thoroughly impressed by its beauty and historical significance.
Taking the Bus
I was dropped off at the bus station in San Miquel de Allende and, with a bit of wariness, hopped aboard a public bus. To my surprise, the choice was a luxury option at a bargain price. I found large and roomy seats like those in the first-class section on an airplane. I could recline, use a footrest, and watch a video screen- except everything was in Spanish – which I do not speak. I sat back in comfort and enjoyed the scenery.
A little more than an hour later, the bus pulled into the central station of Guanajuato, and I walked out the door to find a line of waiting taxis. An approximate 10-15 minute cab ride takes one into the historic district. Even though the driver spoke little English, he pointed out the underground tunnels in the old mining town, now subterranean streets. I was fascinated and wanted to explore them, but I had not allotted time. A few mines remain open to tourists, but if lucky, I’ll see them on a return visit.
My journey in Morocco continued with a stop in Fes, the oldest city in the country. While Fes is widely known for its walled medina, Fes El Bali, it’s also considered the cultural and spiritual capital. However, I will remember it for the skilled artisans who produce their wares using time-tested methods. Fes brings unexpected delights and treasures, but is rather chaotic.