Zakopane: Skiing in the Tatra Mountains

February 1, 2010

So, on Wednesday, January 24th, I took a train from Łódź to Częstochowa and spent a day with my mom’s family. On Thursday, I took another train to Kraków to hang out with fellow Fulbrighter Micajah McGarity, and his ERASMUS friends, Tristan (Australia) and Catarina (Sweden). The next morning, we hopped on a bus… and 16 złotych/2 hours later, we were in Zakopane–Poland’s equivalent to Colorado for skiing. Zakopane is in the south of Poland, nestled in the Tatra Mountains– right near the Slovakian border.

We walked down Krupówki, Zakopane’s main street to get to our hostel, Flamingo Hostel (highly recommend it if you’re ever in Zakopane, or Kraków for that matter).

oscypki - smoked cheese

After checking into our hostel, getting all our ski paraphernalia on, and choosing a mountain, we set out to ski!! We picked Polana Szymoszkowa for our first day of skiing. The views of the Tatra Mountains were incredible!!

Later on that same day, two more ERASMUS students from Kraków joined our party:  Margot (Belgium-Flanders) and Merle (Germany).

Day 2 (Saturday), all six of us headed 25 km east of Zakopane to ski on Białka Tatrzańska (upon recommendation). The trails were amazing!!! A nice variety. Something I learned that day: the older you get, the less risks you tend to take. *note tend. I remember being 12 and zipping straight down the trails, completely oblivious to the possibility of wiping out… wiping out and going back for more. This time around, and this may have been because I’m in a foreign country with a poor health-care system, I zig-zagged down the mountain, completely aware of the possibility of wiping out… wiped out, laid there for a while, and only after getting back up and assessing the situation, decided to go back for more. As they say in Polish, starość nie radość (old age is not fun) haha. But it’s fun for other reasons…

After a long day of skiing, we hit up a restaurant for some Polish food that’s typical for the mountain regions of Poland: affectionately called góralskie (or chłopskie) jadło.

The next morning, it snowed!! Unfortunately, we had to head back to Kraków.

I will definitely be back to Zakopane. I left a little bit of my soul there. And anyway, one of my favorite Polish artists, Władysław Hasior, has a gallery here that I NEED to check out. =)

*Thanks to Micajah for some of the photos.

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