Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine optional tours

The Krakow Event - before and after
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SK
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Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine optional tours

Post by SK » Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:46 pm

Because many of the Event participants are interested in tours to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine we are able to arrange optional trips just for our groups.

One of local tours organizers (http://www.cracowtours.pl) prepared special offer just for Event Participants. Promotional costs are 95 PLN per person for Wieliczka and 90 PLN per person for Auschwitz-Birkenau paid in cash just before the departure. This is additional cost, not included in participation fee.

If you are interested I'm waiting for proposals of exact tour dates, then we will organize tour participants list and signing up method. We should have exact participants list ready no later than a week before the Event. I think that the best dates are day before the Event (Thursday 5th of August) and day after the Event (Monday 9th of August). We should chose one tour to Auschwitz and one to Wieliczka. There is no participants number upper limit (but if there will be too few of us, our LC group might be joined with external one).

Waiting for suggestions.
Greetings,
Sebastian



Here are some information about tours sent by organizer "Cracow Tours":

Wieliczka Salt Mine – UNESCO World Heritage Site

Prepare to be amazed at the devotion and superstition that drove miners to carve figures, monuments and altarpieces into the walls of an 800-year-old salt mine.

As you walk down the 360 steps into the salt mine, you have the impression you are entering a vast underground city, complete with huge caverns and underground lakes. This underground world has earned a place on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list thanks to the creativity of the miners who carved chapels out of the walls, hundreds of metres below the surface. You will visit the largest of the chapels, dedicated to St Kinga, the patron saint of salt miners. This subterranean church is richly decorated with chandeliers, sculptures, and religious figures carved out of salt. As you follow the 2 1/2-kilometre walk, you'll pass statues dating back to the 18th century depicting mythical, historical and religious figures. The last stop in the mine is the souvenir shop and snack bar. From here, the lift carries you back to the surface.

Inclusions: English speaking guide, pickup from the Event area, admission to Wieliczka Salt Mine, guided walk through Wieliczka Salt Mine, lift pick up to the ground level on exit.

Exclusions: optional gratuity, food and drink, unless specified.

Additional info: temperature 14 oC/57 oF all year round.

Duration:
9:30 a.m. till 1:30 p.m. – morning tour
3:15 p.m. till 7:15 p.m. – afternoon tour


Auschwitz-Birkenau – UNESCO World Heritage Site

See for yourself where the atrocities of the Nazi's "Final Solution" were carried out with a tour to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

KL Auschwitz – in the years 1940-1945, the biggest Nazi concentration and death camp in occupied Europe. Situated at a distance of 70 km from Kraków in the town of Oświęcim. The Auschwitz Memorial Museum (founded in 1947) was included in the UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1979. During the tour you will visit both parts of the Museum located in Oświęcim (KL Auschwitz I) and Brzezinka (KL Auschwitz II Birkenau). You will also watch a documentary on the history of the KL Auschwitz concentration and death camp.

Inclusions: English speaking guide, pick up from the Event area, guided walk through Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, documentary screening, headphoneses

Exclusions: optional gratuity, food and drink, unless specified.

Additional info: break 15 minutes only.

Duration
9:30 a.m. till 3:30 p.m. – morning tour
03:15 p.m. till 9:15 p.m. – afternoon tour
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Re: Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine optional tours

Post by Mabeanie1 » Sat Mar 20, 2010 4:31 pm

Thank you for arranging this Sebastian. Personally I would be interested in both tours and much prefer the morning slot. Date-wise, I had to make a decision on when I would be in Krakow to book the hotel, plan time off and choose our flights (though these are not yet booked). In the absence of information I went for 6 - 11 August so I won't be around for a tour on August 5. The two days after the event - August 9 and/or 10 - would be best for me.

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Re: Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine optional tours

Post by clairstorm » Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:17 pm

Hallo Sebastian,
we would be interested in the Auschwitz-tour on monday morning 9/8.
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Re: Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine optional tours

Post by DBCohen » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:38 am

I also prefer the Auschwitz tour to take place on Monday morning, August 9.
Thanks.
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Re: Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine optional tours

Post by friscogrl » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:51 am

I would also prefer Monday morning. Thanks for organizing this Sebastian.

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Re: Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine optional tours

Post by lizzytysh » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:02 am

If we were to do this, I think Paula, her sisters, and I would go for the morning one. I wish I remember how long the one I took was because it wasn't enough time.

If you read this, Jarkko or Dick, do you remember? I ended up taking the same one you folks did.
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Re: Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine optional tours

Post by jarkko » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:47 am

We took one of tour tour busses in the morning and returned in the afternoon. Auschwitz is 54 km from Krakow, and the drive took a bit less than one hour (we watched a document film in the bus).
I'd say we were in Auschwitz and Birkenau 2 some 3-4 hours in total - but we also felt that some more time had been very useful. The guide took us pretty fast through the museum.
I again encourage every member to take this tour. We all have read about the horrors of the Third Reich, but seeing the huge concentration camp with our own eyes gives us some
idea of the inconceivable scale of this extermination of human beings.

Also, do not forget the underground salt city of Wielitzka. Both tours are a must for everyone.

For those who have emailed about our own schedule (Eija and me): The whole Finnish "delegation" will arrive in Krakow on August 5. We all have had to change our plans (the original trip was booked to August 3).
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Re: Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine optional tours

Post by Paula » Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:12 am

Hi Sebastion - Lizzie is right please include myself and my sisters in whichever one you go for. Thanks for doing this. I think I will pass on the salt mines the space is too confined. We will be there from the 4th to the 11th.
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Re: Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine optional tours

Post by edlosi » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:41 pm

Hi Sebastian,

we will be in Krakow from the 5th to the 12th. And I also would prefer Monday morning.
Thanks for organizing.

Isolde
Last edited by edlosi on Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine optional tours

Post by bridger15 » Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:33 pm

Please also include me for Monday morning.

Thanks for organizing this, Sebastian.

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Re: Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine optional tours

Post by Mollydog » Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:59 pm

I would be interested in the Auschwitz tour on Monday morning.

Thank you.

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Re: Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine optional tours

Post by friscogrl » Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:57 am

Hi Sebastian, I might be interested in a Thursday (before the event) afternoon tour to the Wieliczka Salt mine if one is being organized.

Thanks,
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Re: Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine optional tours

Post by IrishAL » Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:55 pm

I was In Kracow last weekend and took both the Wieliczka Saltmines and Auschwitz-Birkenau Tours. Both are well worth the visit. The Saltmines are located about 30 minutes outside Kracow. They are a vast underground network of tunnels and spectacular chambers. You descend by stairs,....324 steps if I remember correctly. Most people take this option but you can take a lift for an additional charge. Once you are down your guide will lead you through the Tourist route and explain the history of the mines and the various Chambers on view. The distance walked was about 2km and it lasted for about 2.5 hours.
There is a Cafe at the end of the tour and , most importantly a lift back up.
I was tired after the trip and it would be difficult to take in the Saltmines and Auszwitch on the same day.

below are some photos to give an idea of what to expect.

Albert
Salt Wall  Carvings
Salt Wall Carvings
Tunnel
Tunnel
Church Cavern
Church Cavern
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Re: Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine optional tours

Post by IrishAL » Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:45 am

We visited Auschwitz-Birkenau on Sunday last.

We were picked up at our hotel by the Tour Company at 11.30am. The Trip to Auschwitz took one hour. our tour guide arranged entry tickets and we sat down for the english version of the introductory film at 1pm. It lasts about 20min and sets the scene for what you are about to see. after the film we were arranged in groups of 10 or so. We had collected headphones and a radio on the way into the film and these were used to hear our guide during our tour. Each of the official Auschwitz Tour guides wears a microphone so they can talk quietly to the group without shouting. Everybody walks slowly and no one one speaks loudly.

The Tour is essentially an overview of the Camp and how it operated. You are led through a series of buildings, each one telling a different aspect of life and events at the camp.
Arriving..sorting..working..punishment ...death.
It is very moving. You are aware of others taking tours and some who are making personal journeys.

This part of the Tour, Auschwitz I, takes about 2 hours. there was a 15 minute break and then a shuttle bus transfers you to Birkenau or Auschwitz II. This is a vast desolate place. Auschwitz I was originally an army barracks and hence the buildings were of solid brick with slate roofs. Birkenau, is mainly timber structures so they could be erected quickly to try and keep up with the pace of arrivals. Here the scale of the horror is really evident. You get access to a typical dormitory , sanitation building and get to walk the rail line to the ruins of the Gas Chamber buildings destroyed just before the camps were liberated in an effort to conceal their existence. This part of the tour took about one and a quarter hours.
The entire tour took close to 4 hours.
There is a small cafe in Auschwitz I , but there is not enough time during the tour to get anything, so it is best to make sure you have some snack / refreshments before you start the tour.

As you walk around Auschwitz I, it is evident that there a number of other buildings that can be visited if you are on a longer tour or on your own. We didn't get into any but from the signage it would seem that these buildings seem to focus in on different nationalities and their experiences.

Following the tour we were all physically tired and emotionally drained. The one hour journey back to the hotel was a quite time of contemplation and a gentle re-introduction to our world.

We were very glad we went and got to see it.

Albert

PS. for those considering these Tours and who might not be able to join in with the organised group tours , it might be worth noting that there are a number of tour companies arranging such tours, even for very small groups. Our hotel had a number of references including the Cracow tours mentioned above.
We made our arrangements before we travelled.
If it is of interest to anybody, A Polish colleague of mine here in Dublin recommended a company called Pastuszak. They have a big fleet of buses, large and small. I emailed Agnieszka at pastuszak@pastuszak.pl with suggested locations, days and times and she arranged everything. I hate leaving important things to chance when on vacation and wanted to be sure we could get to the places we wanted to see at a time that suited us. There were four of us . They collected us at our hotel, brought us to our destination in a nice mercedes minivan, arranged entry for us and set us up with english speaking tours at each of the locations. Afterwards they collected us and dropped us back to our hotel. It was a little bit more expensive than the larger tour excursions, but for the sheer convenience and the personal and professional service it was well worth it.



Auschwitz II Birkenau. The end of the Line.
Auschwitz II Birkenau. The end of the Line.
Auschwitz I  Electric fence
Auschwitz I Electric fence
Auschwitz I. Camp plan. Only a fraction of the size of Birkenau.
Auschwitz I. Camp plan. Only a fraction of the size of Birkenau.
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Re: Auschwitz-Birkenau and Wieliczka Salt Mine optional tours

Post by lizzytysh » Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:19 am

Hi Al ~

Thanks for your reports. Absolutely not, I say, on visiting both places the same day. Many reasons for that.

The tour of the camps sounds pretty much the same as what I did... with time still lacking. On ours, we watched the film as we rode the bus. Didn't have separate means of hearing the guide well... just had to gather round him, the best we could. The pick-up and drop-off arrangement to the hotel sounds like the one Paula and I were considering [she was doing the investigating] and I really like the idea of that. I would prefer going at 9:30 AM and returning at 9:30 PM, but maybe that's not possible. At least, there would be time for browsing all the books and stuff in the bookstore at the second camp. I didn't even notice a cafe, just a small store where I bought a video, at the first camp.

You described it all very well. I loved the Saltmines. Some astounding carvings, as you can see in the photo you posted, but more, much more, than only that. An entire, fully-functioning restaurant down there, too. The lift is uhm rather confining, eh?

I'm really looking forward to going. Won't go to the saltmines, again... but strongly encourage everyone to go if you haven't.


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