A Visit to the Tatra Mountains: Poland’s “Winter Capital” of Zakopane

Travel to Poland

The day started in Kazimierz district of Krakow, with a strong coffee and sweet tea in a rustic cafe called Mlynek. Because we were in a hurry, we took a series of pastries that we ate while walking from the neighborhood of our apartment, past the Wawel, and in the heart of Krakow’s Old Town in Poland, where our guide of the day was waited half a dozen others.

A woman in a pantsuit looked at us, my 12 year old son. “Alex and Eric?” She asked. We acquiesced. “Welcome, I’m Ewa, we’ll have a nice trip today, I think, please join the others.”

We thanked Ewa and followed the other day along the stone wall of the pedestrian square: a London couple, best friends and co-workers; a mother and an adult daughter from Jordan; and Colin and Gwen from Scotland.

“Where do you come from to Scotland?” I asked.

“Edinburgh,” replied Gwen. “It’s been a few years since we’ve had the opportunity to travel. We really appreciate Krakow.

“We, too,” said Alex.

“I loved Edinburgh,” I remembered. “I spent a week with my wife a few years ago. I guess when you live in a place rich in culture and history, you do not have to run away so much. “

Colin chuckled. “You know how bad the backyard syndrome is. You have probably seen more of our city during your week than we have had two decades. “

“Like my Polish friend at home,” Alex said. “When I told him about some of the places we planned to visit here in Krakow, he said he had never been to their home – and he visits his grandparents in Poland for a month each summer.”

Gwen smiled. “Did he go to Zakopane?”

Alex nodded. “Yes, but not Wroclaw or Gdansk.”

Ewa intervened. “Zakopane is very popular among locals, so it’s not a surprise if your friend visited it. It is the most popular winter destination, our ‘winter capital’. You will like it, I think. ” Ewa looked at us in turn. “Are we going?” Everyone agreed and got into the comfortable van.

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