Underground, you expected a loamy smell. Instead you inhale a dry, metallic breeze. The English-speaking Polish guide tells your tour group that the mine’s temperature holds at 57ºF despite the 80º May day above in Krakow. You zip up your jacket before you descend the stairs cut out of salt.
There is a palace in a tiny rural village two hours west of Warsaw, with an orange mansard roof, two spired towers, and a park stretching beyond it. It is strange to think that in the 1940s, when war was grinding Poland into the ground, the palace still belonged to the prominent Radziwiłł family, who shared it with Nazis while members of the underground Home Army, villagers, hid in the woods behind the palace park. Here, planes dropped packages into a clearing among alders, cherries, and pines. They’d drop food or weapons, which the villagers distributed or took to Warsaw, and sometimes they’d drop men.