I think the Tatra Mountains in the south of Poland are some of the most beautiful in the world. Unfortunately, my most recent visit, as a part of a “study trip” was marred by relatively cold temperatures for September and rain. Lots and lots and lots of rain.
The trip itinerary was pretty standard for the region. We started off by visiting the small village of Dębno, which is famous for its 15th-century wooden church. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed in the church and we were a small enough group that I figured any misbehaviour would be noticed, but I did manage to sneak this photo of the interior painting the last time I was there.
We then proceeded to Niedzica Castle, as well as another castle overlooking Czorstyn Lake. Both of them are nice to see, but were not well-maintained and do not contain any of the original furnishings. I would put them in the “if you have time…” category and probably spend more time in Zakopane doing outdoors things.
Our last adventure of the day was a rafting trip on the Dunajec River, which forms the border between Poland and Slovakia and eventually meanders its way into Ukraine. And this was the point at which it started pouring rain. I’d definitely recommend doing this, but make sure that the weather is favourable! Poland has had quite a bit of rain this year, and the river was cloudly, high on the banks and quite full of waves.
Ordinarily, I would’ve been a crazy shutterbug during this trip, but I was generally just so cold and wet that my fingers did not want to work the camera (and I was afraid that my camera and/or cameraphone would be wrecked by the water). We spent the night in the Flamingo Hostel in Zakopane, marking my first hostel experience. I was pleasantly surprised by the cleanliness, and we had enough people to fill a room, so I wasn’t forced to face my fear of sharing a room with 10 smelly backpacking males. The majority of the group went on a hike today, but since my knee is still in recovery, I hopped a bus back to Krakow. Before I left, I took this picture to demonstrate how foggy it was:
You can barely see the mountains (unlike on a clear day). I’ve now been to Zakopane in summer and early autumn, and I’m really looking forward to returning for some skiing!
For the rest of my photos of the trip, see my Flickr album.