Day 19: Zakrzówek

Late last night we had booked a full day excursion to the Tatra Mountains. This range is a popular tourist destinations because the range boasts tall peaks, beautiful valleys, and breathtaking waterways. Unfortunately for us, we realized at 8:30 this morning while standing on the curb outside of our dormitory waiting to be picked up that you cannot book less than 24 hours in advance. Don’t get me wrong,it makes sense but the website should definitely prevent you from confirming your purchase if it won’t be accepted.

Where our Uber driver dropped us off

We spent the next hour and a half trying to decide if it would be worthwhile to take an Uber to the mountains or to go to some museums in town instead. Members of our group weremerging in and out of participation and we were really just ready for a decision to be made. It was finally decided that we would take a location hiking adventure to a picturesque lake calledZakrzówek only five minutes from the city center. We called an uber to take us there and all climbed inside. We are fairly used to having drivers who don’t speak English at this point and as normal, we rode in basic silence. That is until we pulled into a questionable apartment complex and then further into an alleyway. At this point I was started to feel somewhat concerned for our safety. Then after driving a half mile or so down this alleyway, the driver pulled over to the side of the road and we all got out. The setting we found ourselves in was very…interesting. There was not a trail in sight and the only sign was one which I assume read “do not enter”. We asked a lady walking her dogs to give us directions and then two other people after that until we finally found what we were looking for: the water.

The view wasn’t as spectacular as I assume the Tatra Mountains might have offered, but the cliffs and bright blue water were definitely a welcomed break from the cityscapes we have grown accustomed to. We hiked some well worn trails along the edges of the lake’s cliffs and took pictures on the best rocks we could find (right). We eventually found a steep trail leading down to the water which ended at a large rock just feet from the water. We sat on that rock enjoying the sun and the peacefulness of the water for quite some time before venturing back to the road and calling another Uber to take us to the city center for some lunch.

Danielle, me, and Sarah on the rock at the bottom of the steep trail (Photo Cred to Jessi)

We ate lunch at the same spot overlooking the square as where we had ice cream last night. After that we ventured into the Cloth Hall below for some souvenir shopping. The Cloth Hall building is a feature of the square and has been hosting a market for nearly 700 years. The hall used to serve as a place for trade of spices, furs, leather, silk, and other commodities. Today its vendors mostly sell Polish souvenirs, jewelry, and handmade creations. I bought a traditional Polish outfit for my mom to use in her world culture’s classroom after a significant amount of discussion and haggling.

Tonight we are going to dinner with a group from the university. I am looking forward to seeing the Salt Mines tomorrow.

 

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