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Wadowice to the Dunajec River and then to Zakopane

Int the Tatra Mountains

overcast 13 °C

Sunday May 21, 2017 Day 11

The hotel we stayed at on Saturday was very much into it’s ‘relaxation’ spa. It had 3 different saunas and a hot pool that were done in small coloured tiles and lots of lounges to relax in. Relaxation not being one of her fortes, Gail decided to go for a massage to see what a Polish massage would be like. Expectations were for a large, muscular woman in a white uniform but instead there was a small young woman with a gentle touch.


This morning we were back on the bus with a destination of Zakopane. Our first stop, you guessed it, was church. Today’s church was special because it was where Pope John Paul II was baptized as a child and right next door to the house where he was born and spent his early years. It was a small church (by Polish standards) in a small town and very busy for Sunday Mass. We were then taken for cream cake which apparently the Pope enjoyed as a child on the way home from school. We didn’t find it all that exciting. However there were a bunch of Polish bikers that came for the religious gathering which was surprising.


The scenery has now changed dramatically. This is what we expected Poland to look like. Rolling green hills with big dairy cows, sheep, and chickens, narrow streets, and more chalet style houses. By the look of the roofs, this area must get significant snowfall. The temperature dropped to about 13 degrees under cloudy skies. We arrived at the Dunajec River where we were to go on a raft down the river for 1.5 hours to a small mountain town. This was not white water rafting, class 1 rapids at most, and with most of our tour’s folks not being the outdoor types it was thrilling for them. The rafts were of a traditional style where 4 canoe type boats that were lashed together. There no life jackets provided or available and we wondered if any of these trips ever had a mishap and ended up in the river. The guides poled the boats down the river past walls of granite and forests. Poland was on one side of the river, Slovakia on the other. It was a pleasant, fairly gentle and damp for some because of water splashing into the boat, ride downstream.


The town we arrived at was classic mountain culture with some kind of mountain running race just finishing. While waiting for the bus we decided to sample a local food that we thought was like a perogi with cheese inside. It turned out to be solid cheese with a combination of sheep and cow milk. Sheep cheese is very salty and after a few miles on the winding roads our stomachs were complaining.


An hour later we reached Zakopane to a very nice older European style hotel with indoor pools, gym, and even squash courts. We wandered down to town that turned out to be a Polish version of Whistler. Lots of sheep’s cheese shaped into logs with pressed patterns. We weren’t tempted. Tomorrow we will do more exploring.


Posted by Fredricgail2017 12:00 Archived in Poland

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