The first thing I knew about Poland, when I was growing up in Iceland, was the Polish candy bar Prince Polo. It was very popular in Iceland to drink Coca Cola with Prince Polo. At that time Poland was a satellite state of the Soviet Union so this combination was like mixing capitalism with communism. Prince Polo has been the most popular candy bar in Iceland for 60 years and it is estimated that each Icelander eats about half a kilo of Prince Polo every year.
I drove around Poland in 2013 and here are some photos I took.
I took a walk in the Wieliczka salt mine, which is located in the town of Wieliczka and was built in the 13th century. It’s one of the world’s oldest salt mines still in operation. The mine reaches a depth of 327 meters (1,073 ft) and is over 287 kilometers (178 mi) long. There are many statues, three chapels and a cathedral. The chandeliers are made from rock salt that has been dissolved and reconstituted to achieve a clear, glass-like appearance. There is a restaurant and room for private functions, e.g. weddings. The mine is on the UNESCO list of the World Heritage Sites and about 1.2 million people visit it annually.
I visited the abandoned HPR Porąbka-Kozubnik holiday resort, which is in a valley between Krakow and Ostrava. The construction began in 1968 and was closed because of financial problems in 1994. According what I read it was like a self-sufficient town with it’s own water intake, emergency power supply system and wastewater treatment plant. There were also cafes, restaurants, a sports complex with a ski lift, an indoor swimming pool, wellness salon and conference rooms. The resort was very popular e.g. in 1987 there were 31,387 guests. Guests of the luxury suites were mostly Communist party officials.
I took this photo in the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp. The Polish name for the town Auschwitz is Oświęcim. I also visited the town’s Jewish museum and read that; “Throughout the centuries, Jews referred to Oświęcim by its Yiddish name, Oshpitsin, meaning guests, because it was here they could seek refuge from persecution. The town was also know as Oshpitsin Jerusalem.”