This place popped up in our itinerary while I was trying to find out places for Christmas time in Poland. It was mentioned in the one of comments by some user in some forum (completely forgot the name of the forum now!!!). As soon as I saw the pics of this place, never had second thoughts. Our itinerary seems completed.
The primary reason of visiting Zakopane was the various hiking routes in the mountains. Secondary being the Christmas time in the small village. Even though I have said Zakopane as small village, it’s not actually. We felt this as soon as we reached the place. Being the winter capital of the country it has quite a touristy look to it with less of traditional village look. Definitely not a country side sort of thing! We were in Zakopane from 24th Dec till 26th Dec and we were given quite clear instructions by our host to buy the food items ASAP at least for the first day, as nothing would remain open after 16 or 17:00 hours. BUT we as human being tends to follow our own rules! And the result – roaming around Zakopane streets in search of the food. There were lot of restaurants which were open on Chritsmas Eve, but all of them had advance booking – even some pizzeria shops! Only McDonalds were operating that time but we wanted to avoid and we avoided it so much that we ended up at their gates after they closed. Pity on us….. Good thing: We were not alone. There were many other like us wandering around the town in search of food. It was all a zombie like feeling. Our dinner for Christmas Eve:
But thankfully, the same was not the case next day and we inquired the restaurants about their opening time and were glad to see them opened on 25th evening. BUT the day of 25th Dec didn’t went well as we planned. We were thinking of doing the hike during the day in the Tatra mountains up to Morsike Oko and spending the dinner time in some traditional restaurant with some folk music and dance. But to our fate, there were no buses running from the town to the hike starting point. So, we had utilized the time to roam around in the town itself in the day and also couldn’t find any traditional place which had program for that evening.
After all these, we decided to stay full day, the 26th Dec in Zakopane and do the hike to Morskie Oko. The weather was perfect in the town and was almost sunny in first 6-7 kms of our hike. Our plan was to hike up, spend some time at the lake and take one of the horse rides down. In the last 2-2½ kms of our way hike up we witnesses how the weather changes quickly in the mountains. From almost sunny to heavy snow showers!!!!
And by the time we reached up, the lake was completely covered in snow and no signs of what I have seen it in pictures. What all I saw in the pictures, I had to go back with those memories only. We had some snacks and drinks in the cafeteria up there and later on I realized that I have spent a lot of cash paying the bill, which meant that I did not had enough cash to give to horseman and being no ATM up there, our only choice was to hike down in heavy snow. the trip down was quite an adventurous one as I managed to slip & fell down thrice (not once, not twice….). But I was happy, as I was not the only one. **Slow claps**
In total it was 18 kms hike. We started hiking from down at 09:15 and were up at 11:20. And then started back downwards at 12:15 and hit the base at 14:00. That’s the longest hike I have done till now and a little bit tough as well becuase of good amount of snow. We took the bus back to Kraków in the evening, back to Gdansk next day and finally back to Copenhagen on 28th Dec.
I am going to remember & cherish this trip for a long time mainly becuase of Poland’s cuisine & culture, secondly being our first Christmas travel and above all becuase of how each & every things unfolded in Zakopane episode 🙂 🙂 🙂