Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Two weeks in Poland

We spent a couple of weeks in Poland; not really part of the main trip, but more a chance for Sylwia to say her goodbye's. Here's a few photos:

Beany got to ride a child's quad bike. The bike belongs to Maciek, the 10 year old son of a friend of Sylwia's still living in Sylwia's home village Kolno (population about 1,000).

I discovered another use for my new water tank and pumps! I can wash the car anywhere now.

These are some photos from a route we plotted between Kolno and the nearest town, Biskupiec.

The landscapes around this area of Poland tend to be either heavily forested or agricultural. And there are lakes everywhere, some quite large.

This is a village we came to out of the forest - the road is still unpaved.

After finding the original route I plotted from Kolno to Biskupiec wasn't challenging enough I just had to go deeper into the forest..... and we got stuck!  The mud doesn't look all that bad in the photos, but photos sometimes don't really show it very well.  I.e. you can see the front wheels were half buried in the mud and they're bigger wheels than car wheels.

It was however a good test for the new traction boards.  With a bit of digging away the excess mud we eventually drove out on the grippy boards.  If that hadn't worked I'd have had to resort to using a winch, shackles and steel rope off of a nearby tree.

Beany filling a bottle of filtered water from the new tap.

After departing from Sylwia's home region in Poland the first destination was Warsaw.  The next few photos are walking through the old town of Warsaw.  Warsaw was virtually completely destroyed in WWII fighting and after the war many buildings were built afresh, but in an old style.

Our hosts Ania and Mateusz, whom we stayed with in Warsaw.

Further south from Warsaw, my attempt at night photography in Krakow.

Micky Moo and Beany eating kebabs in the centre of Krakow.

Micky Moo, Beany and I waiting while Sylwia went on a tour of Aushwitz.  I've been to Aushwitz 10 years ago and didn't need to go again.

Later that night at our campsite near Zakopane.  The campsite was quite basic without any lighting, though as can be seen here we have plenty of light.  Zakopane is a mountain resort in the Tatra mountains.  This was our last stop in Poland, as the other side of the Tatra mountains is Slovakia.

Micky Moo escaping from the tent.

These photos are from a walk we did in the Tatra Mountains, in a place called Dolina Koscieliska.  Miles and miles of stunning forests, mountains and rivers. Beany turned out to be a wee good walker - over 8 km to Jaskinia Mrozna (Cold Cave - six degrees all year round) and back, the last stretch to the cave up a steep hill and then steep down. He needed to be carried a bit on the way back but that's all the help he asked for.

This was the start of a 480 metre walk through a cave - Jaskinia Mrozna.  I was warned to watch my head height with Micky Moo in the backpack, but the warning proved really quite inadequate.  In some of the photos you'll see the spaces were so tight I had to literally crawl on hands and knees to get through.  It felt like a long 480 metres! But it was fascinating all the same.

Back to our campsite outside Zakopane.

While we waited for Sylwia to go to the dentist I just pointed the car up a random 4wd track I could see on the map.  The scenery is lovely everywhere.  The farm buildings in this photo are abandoned as far as I could tell, though the land is clearly still being farmed.

And finally here are some photos of Polka, Beany and Micky Moo walking through the main street in Zakopane - Krupowki.  After this we got in the car and headed through the mountains into Slovakia.

This is where we also had dinner the night before, following the walk. We picked a restaurant we'd dined at years ago when visited Zakopane with four-month-old Beany. Despite the location on the main touristy street the food was absolutely amazing. Highly recommended if anyone ends up in Zakopane - Steak Chata it is called.

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