Time to leave Krakow behind. It has been a delight! This morning I packed my suitcase and headed Southwards, to the cozy town Zakopane, located right next to the Tatra mountains. Even though I got a little car sick during the bus drive, I must say it was definitely worth it. The snowy mountain tops of the Tatra area looked magnificent within the bright sun light. The hostel here in Zakopane seems to be all fine. For the same price I was somehow immediately upgraded to a six-person room, even though I booked a bed in a 10-person room. The bathrooms are lovely. A bit more privacy than in the hostel in Krakow for sure! There were semi-transparent shower doors, and no distinction was made between a female and male shower. So, when brushing my teeth, seeing the reflection of the shower doors in the mirror, I saw more masculinity than I should have.
I actually expected Zakopane to be a sleepy little town, but wow, there is so much going on! In the Netherlands we often say ‘gezellig druk’, so, cozy busy. Well, that’s how I would describe the atmosphere here as well. Not too many people, not too less. When I dropped off my suitcase at the hostel I immediately started off hiking. I went to Gubalowka. A fast train smoothly slides up that mountain from time to time, but I decided rather to walk to the top. Sweaty weather! But, nicely sunny though. I applied my well needed factor 50+ sun screen several times today, but I still managed to get burnt a bit. The hike was relaxing, a little tough because of the warm weather, but overall very fulfilling. During the evening I strolled around the nice centre of Zakopane, filled with characteristic wooden houses. 50% of all the shops here are outdoor shops, so next time when I need a new pair of colorful hiking shoes I know where to go! Round little cheeses with patterns carved in them seem to be a speciality of this region. Every couple of meters some ladies are standing selling their wares, which because of the sun became shiny and sweaty. Hm.
A couple of years ago I went to Warsaw alone, and even though it was an interesting trip, I didn’t feel too comfortable there. That’s different during this little holiday though. With all the terribly bad stereotypes about dangerous Poland circulating in the Netherlands, I must say I feel very, very safe, both here in Zakopane as well as in Krakow. My respect for this country only rises. A long trip is planned for tomorrow, so I better charge my own batteries, and the one for my camera now!