This morning was kind of nice, in that we were getting a slightly later start than I had since getting to Europe. I think we were supposed to meet at the bus by 9:00am which meant I actually got to sleep in until 7:30!
The tour was about a 3km walk underground if I remember right, with some chambers that were more than big enough to hold good sized buildings and homes. Even with all that we saw, we were told it was less than 1% of the actually mine which was almost hard to imagine even while standing down there looking at it all.
The 3rd and maybe freakiest thing, but coolest at the same time, was the elevator used to get us all up and out of there at the end of the tour. We'd gone a long way down using nothing but stairs but most people would never be able to go back up the way we came down without some serious struggling. SO, they have an ingenious elevator about the size of a coat closet that actually 4 stories in it. They took some of us up some stairs slid open this door that exposed a TINY room behind it and then attempted to squeeze 8 people into that opening. If you've ever seen a clown car, you can picture what this must have looked like in reverse. After greasing everyone one up they slide that door closed and the elevator drops about 6 feet where they do the process again with another layer of people. That's when we realized there were 4 levels to this thing.... once loaded, you shoot up the mine at a pretty good pace before finally being released back into the open air and being allowed to resume your previous human shape. On the top side, they were set up to let all 4 floors of the elevator out at the same time, and my guess is they had to do that to keep people from freaking out in the two sections that would have had to wait to go last each time.
It was getting late and we had a SUPER early morning ahead of us.... so everyone headed off to bed and I started back to my hotel. But as seems to happen to me so often when I travel, I wanted to check out side streets and neighborhoods on my way back, so I went up and down every side street I could find, even passing my hotel at one point and didn't stop walking for almost 2 hours before deciding I should try to get some sleep before having to get up at 5:00am. Yikes... was it really already 3:00am?
Tomorrow is one of those days I was both looking forward to and dreading at the same time. We were going to visit Aushwitz I and II before heading back to Berlin. It was going to be a long and emotional day .... it was time to say good night.