Monday 5 September 2016

A Long Weekend In Poland - Part 4

Day 4 – Zakopane and back to Krakow

Monday dawned somewhat overcast, with a light mizzle in the air and low cloud and swirling mist obscuring the mountain views. Not to worry - being British and intrepid, we are used to a bit of rain!

After a hearty breakfast, we set out for a stroll down the main street and look around the market for souvenirs.

Read all about it! Sam visits Zakopane!

We decided to take the funicular railway up Gubałöwka, the low hill overlooking Zakopane. On a clear day you get great views of the main mountain range, but today it was not to be – Giewont, the “sleeping knight”, stayed resolutely beneath his cloudy bedclothes, having a duvet day. Naughty Giewont, the lazy so-and-so.

On Gubałöwka

We walked along the road as far as Butorowy Wierch and back, avoiding the traffic both horse-drawn and petrol-driven, looking in all the gift shops and resisting the food stalls (although Tom bought some berries picked from the nearby woods, which were delicious). 

But after a stop for drinks, it was time to descend the funicular and make our way to the bus station ready for the coach back to Krakow. At lower levels the sun was shining, and despite the fact the mountain tops were hidden in cloud it seemed a shame to leave. It's been over six years since my last visit, rather too long I think.

We'd only had a day or so in total in Zakopane, but hopefully it was long enough for Tom and Sam to get a flavour of the mountains and the walking available, and to see a different side of the country to cosmopolitan Krakow.

Kids performance of highlander dance in traditional dress, Krakow 

We all had a bit of a nap on the journey back to Krakow, testament to the busy days we had been enjoying. 

We arrived mid-afternoon, giving us time to do a bit of souvenir shopping in the Cloth Hall market and grab some lunch at the pierogi festival. 

The place was heaving. It would appear pierogi is a serious business, and the competition winners had just been announced. Queues were long and stocks increasingly short, but eventually we availed ourselves of a selection - some meat, some cheese and a few spinach - and a drink to wash them down with.

Souvenir shopping in the Cloth Hall

After a final coffee stop on the edge of the main square, our time in Poland was nearing an end. We boarded the train back to the airport and readied ourselves for the journey home. We’d packed a lot into just four days, which goes to show what you can do if you set your mind to it.

Where shall we go next?

All I can say is that if Tom and Sam enjoyed themselves half as much as we did, they’d have had a blast, and I’d like to thank them for being great company.

It's said that travel broadens the mind, and I think this is undoubtedly true. Experiencing other places, landscapes and cultures can be so rewarding, and I hope their first taste of foreign travel has left them keen for more. 

To get a glimpse of another way of life, to delve into a different culture, brush past an unfamiliar history and cross paths with a new geographgy helps to foster a greater understanding of the world when back at home, which can only be a good thing. 

After all, we live in a Global Village these days. 

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