It’s been quite a while since I wrote a simple travel post (that of Budapest, when, almost two monts ago, I was admiring the capital of Hungary from its well-known Chain Bridge). From that time and after, I found myself wandering about my next stop throughout the world. Time is precious and days couldn’t pass by just by getting into another daily routine. I wouldn’t let it!
Soon enough, I had to be in UK again (I couldn’t say I missed that rainy, cold and moody weather) to close the chapter I started one year ago. But, as they say, life could be full of surprises. Thankfully, this time, I got a nice one! And from UK, I found myself with a backpack, a rolley travelbag and dressed as an onion, trembling from the cold as I arrived with some friends in Poland!
First stop, the capital, Warsaw. Nobody had in mind that skyscapers could be found among the buildings of the city. And as the feeling of the cold weather was getting more and more intense, these grandiose, in architecture and height, constructions seemed to be more lonesome and immense than ever.
Palace of Culture and Science (Pałac Kultury i Nauki)
Warsaw Towers in the city center
Of course, we couldn’t just not explore the area, even though our map was kind of misleading from time to time. At least, we found our way to the main area with many restaurants and pubs, with one lucky enough to be our temporary place to quench our thirst and hunger.Traditinal dishes with beer and hot wine as our first beverages in Poland. But the first night in Warsaw didn’t last until the midnight: a bus was waiting for us, just in the outskirts of the city, for a 7-hour trip to Zakopane! 🚃
You may not know Zakopane (as I did also) except if you are a Polish, since that beautiful ski resort is quite well known in Poland, and maybe a tourist from the neighbor countries. Need more info? You can thank Wikipedia for that!
The view from our hotel in Zakopane
The trip was long (and tiresome, I might say) and the darkness of the night didn’t leave anything visible to the eye to observe during our journey. But, as we entered the city, a veil of snow welcomed us, with houses (named highland houses or Podhale in Zakopane style) and shops covered from the top to the bottom. Τhe temperature was even colder (-7° ) than in the North but we knew that we weren’t going to Hawaii. Funny thing, one friend from our group has never (as he claimed) come across that white, frozen, dense thing! You must have seen his face when he tried to take a snowball, scratching the small white hills with his gloves. And so the snowballing begun!
Zakopane was meant to be our small base for a week while we were exploring the city, its culture, history and magic. From the first day we arrived until the very end, pavements, mountains and valleys were “dressed” with a shine white costume as forefeast for the upcoming Christmas while snowflakes adorned the scenery around us. Like powdered with caster sugar, houses seemed like they have sprang up from a fairytale!
In addition, we had the chance to explore Tatra Mountains (the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains) and Morski Osko (the largest and fourth-deepest lake in the Tatra Mountains), hoping that we could take amazing photographs (or even selfies) of the lake. Unfortunately, a similar pattern was found: a frozen environment with pure snow covering the surface of the lake. But that wasn’t enough to break our morale.
As we arrived to the lake, just to photographed another snow capped site
After a week, Krakow was the next stop in this journey. The second biggest city of the country with the huge square, market, basilicas and the variety of things to enjoy during both day and night. The nightlife of this city was another plus, especially if you are young and you love partying, with many bars and clubs in and out the city center. Especially with the low prices of the drinks, you can’t just drink one! But be careful of overdrinking!
View of the historic center of Krakow from our hostel – isn’t that amazing?!
St. Mary’s Basilica (Kościół Mariacki)
Wawel Castle in the night
We couldn’t leave out also a visit in Auschwitz and pay our respects (got to thank a friend for insisting). The place that was marked by the humankind pain and suffering, standing still after decades, trying to remind the devastating results of the war hoping that will never happen again. All in all, the site left me speechless…
The entrance of the concentration camp, Auschwitz
The final stop of our trip had to be again Warsaw as the last image of that country before going back home. We were lucky enough that time to explore a little bit more of the old city, decorated that time in the proper christmas mood with lights, christmas trees and garlands.
In the coldest wind I discovered, people that may wander but want to explore the world, themselves, other stranger’s souls and faces that might end up being familiar for some nights, that “travel makes one modest ’cause you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world” – words by Gustave Flaubert.
See you back one day Poland! Na zdrowie!
Last day in Warsaw’s Old City Center