We picked up my train ticket for Prague after a half-hour battle of wills with the lady at the counter who couldn’t find the same ticket we’d been informed about the day before. Finally, ticket in wallet, we ran for the bus to Karpacz Gorny (Upper Karpacz).
Our first port of call was Wang, a Norwegian church brought over to Poland many years ago. It was originally built without a single nail or screw, though as age has taken its toll, some cleverly-disguised ones have been put in place to hold things together. The craftsmanship of the decorations is astounding, and it’s hard to believe that some parts of it are 700 years old.
From there, we caught two single-seater chair lifts up Czarna Kopa (Black Peak) and walked to Sniezka (Snow White), a peak of 1602m. The walk up isn’t easy, being mainly crushed rock so footing is a little dodgy. With the added benefit of strong winds, it was all a little hairy! The mountain marks the border between Poland and the Czech Republic. On the way up, square markers are placed with “C” on one side and “P” on the other – so I have technically been to the Czech republic already!
At the top we had some lovely Polish soup and Polish sausage while two hueg fluffy dogs watched on and tried to beg food. I also used the priciest toilets in Poland so far – 2 Zl for a wee. You get used to paying for the loo in this country, but the prices do vary.
Also at the peak are a weather station, a small chapel and a Czech post office. I didn’t want to send my postcards yet, but I did stamp my passport!
We descended from the peak in a slightly quicker time and walked to Bialy Jar then Strzecha Akademicka. We also saw a post-glacial lake called Maly Staw (“small pond”) overlooking which some distance back was Samotnia (“lonely shelter”). Finally, we made our way through woods and past waterfalls back to Karpacz.
I could go on at length about the beautiful forests, the stunning waterfalls, the views, the birds, the berries we picked, the wonderful sense of solitude… but I won’t. There is only so much you can say about places like this, and Poland has more than its fair share – certainly more than I ever expected to see.
Tucked up in a snug pub, we sat in a converted sled and drank more Polish beer before catching the last bus back to Gosia’s and being fed more traditional grub by her granny.
I checked the pedometer that Sheilah had sent me and I reckon we did around nine miles walking. Bear in mind that a fair portion of this was up and down some steep inclines and I think we did OK!
[Sorry for the brevity of the post, but as I type this I see that the time for me to catch a train is getting ever closer! Gosia seems worried that I didn’t enjoy myself and this couldn’t be further from the truth]