Friday 5th May, Zakopane, Poland
Woke up to a foggy morning with very little visibility so decided to stay until it lifted a little. Sadly we left Kraków – such a beautiful city and so much to see. We only saw a little but what we saw will stay with us forever.
Heading south, the countryside and the houses took on more of an alpine look. After only a half hour or so we turned a corner and there in front of us were the Tatras Mountains still covered with heaps of snow. Skiing has been a passion of ours and our kids have grown up with the same love of snow and skiing. The sight of the snow really was special and we look forward to the time when we can spend some time in the snow before heading back to Oz.
We stocked up with supplies and found our next camp spot. Camping Ustup, about 4kms from the main ski village in Zakopane. Though a little more expensive than other places we have stayed at in Poland, it has the best and newest shower and bathroom facilities. Ideally located right next to a river, pizza restaurant, supermarket and service station, and for fast food junkies MacDonalds is right next door. The bus stop to go uptown to the village is just across the road and costs about $1.00. We have been told that transport is free if you are over 65. Haven’t taken advantage of that yet !!!
Bit late to head to the village today, so decided to take a long walk instead. The walk was just delightful. So many beautiful ski lodges along the way. We were told that it was only a couple of weeks ago that the snow was around 2 ft deep here in this village.
Saturday 6th May, Zakopane, Poland
A bit of sunshine today, so decided to hand wash some clothes and take advantage of the clothes lines provided here – rare to find these anywhere. After we had hung out the clothes the manager advised us that we could have used the washing machine in his house – expect there would be a cost but would have taken advantage of this if we had known.
Packed all the winter woolies in the backpack and headed for the bus stop. We had just missed a bus and it was another 45 minutes to the next one – ugh!! Just as we were considering our options – along came a horse and carriage. We had seen these the day before on our walk, so we hailed the driver. He didn’t speak English but when we asked him what the cost was to take us up the 4kms to the village he showed us a 50 Zt note (about $17AUD). Given that it was only 6 Zt for the two of us by bus – I said “no”. He then pulled out a 20 Zt note – yep that was better so we climbed in and played Tommy tourist”. It was just so cool riding in the horse and buggy – really enjoyed the whole ride. Still can’t believe he reduced his price to less than half.
He dropped us in the centre of the village and pointed in the direction we should go. Through Fashion Lane we went and at the end it opened onto Krupowki Street. This street boasts as being one of the most famous streets in Poland. A tourist Mecca of restaurants and shops that stretch for 1200 metres. Lots of winter clothing sales were on with some going at up to 80% off. Needed some winter clothes so found a bargain or two.
At the end of this street we found the markets. Hundreds of stalls going in every direction. Lots of souvenirs, shoes, clothes etc and of course food stalls. We looked in amazement at all the food items we have never seen before and cannot even fathom a guess as to what they are.
Next we headed to the northern part of the street where the cable cars go to the top of Kasprowy Wierch Peak – at 1987 metres. Not very expensive to take a return trip up in the cable car around 27 Zt ($9) but less for over 65’s. We were just about to book our tickets when we heard the thunder. We looked up the mountain and the sky was black and the rain was on its way.
A quick sprint back to the main square where we took cover in a restaurant and spent the next hour or so watching people getting absolutely drenched. Time to head home and maybe, weather depending, come back tomorrow to venture up the mountain.
Bus trip back was not as exciting as the horse and buggy but a lot drier I think.
Arrived home and found that the manager had taken my clothes off the line – you little beauty- what a mighty mighty man.