Warning: Mom, you might not want to read the next part!
Thankfully none of you are close enough to strangle me, but I actually hitched a ride up to the entrance!! Never thought I would do something that I have always thought was dangerous, but I did..
. and in a country where I don't even speak the language nonetheless! Luckily the guy who picked me up (Andrew) spoke quite a bit of English, which is not common in this area, and I ended up having a pleasant hiking companion and translator for the rest of the day. He was visiting for the day from Warsaw where he works in construction. So we hiked 9 kilometers to the Morskie Oko lake, stopped for a small bite to eat, and then continued another few kilometers around it and up to a second lake at the foot of Mt. Rysy. The lake was still half frozen and the trails up the mountain were covered in snow and ice, with clouds covering the top half, so obviously with those conditions we did not go any further.
We started to head back and it began to rain, so I put on a poncho that I had - which was entirely too big and just about the cheapest, most worthless poncho ever made! - and Andrew borrowed my umbrella. We stopped in the lodge for a warm drink and then continued on our way back. It all made for quite a long day, especially considering that it didn't really stop raining the whole way! He drove me back into town and we had a coffee before he headed home and now I am going to have something for dinner and try to figure out my plans for the next few days...
I got up early this morning to go on a hike. My plan was to hike to the top of Rysy (the highest mountain in Poland, and the highest mountain in the Tatras that you are able to hike without a guide), but that didn't happen... I got up early enough, but there wasn't a bus to get me over to the Poland/Slovakia border early enough to do the full hike, even if I had wanted. Plus the weather was not very good - forcast of rain for the day from what I had heard. But the clouds did not look too bad in the morning, so I caught the first bus that I could at 7:40 and got up to the border around 8:30, then it was about a 30 minute hike to the entrance to the Tatras National Park.