Zakopane - Polish Alps

Trip Start Jun 23, 2013
Trip End Jul 31, 2013

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Flag of Poland  , Southern Poland,
Monday, July 8, 2013

Today we head for Zakopane, the alps of Poland. Indulged in Polish glorious deserts, tried the local cheese (nobody warned me!!), rode the luge with a stunning view of the valley cradled by the Polish Alps.
Long Drive and Travel Songs

...but with a beautiful vista of the Polish countryside from the bus. I like that I've got two seats for myself. It felt very comfortable. Every day Mel plays our group song: Blurred Lines. Never even heard of it. Then followed by our individual playlist in turns. Mine, never gave it, never got to play it: 
 1) opening song (My Sharona - The Knack) -- only because of my name, haha! 
 2) guilty pleasure (Blow Me One Last Kiss - Pink) 
 3) love song (Desert Rose -  Sting), 
 4) dance song (Danza Kuduro - Dan Omar),
 5) party song (When Life Takes over) 
 6) wrap-up song (Elevation - U2)...  just my travel songs... 
This bus trip so far has left me wanting. It's too fast. I don't get to connect with locals. It helps to get to places I probably wouldn't have gone to or even known on my own. But I terribly miss the opportunity to have a more immersed or local experience. 
We reached Zakopane around 11AM. Our room was four-bed ensuite, but with two separate sections. Cora and I had the bigger section with sofas and TV. Not that we ever used the TV. We just didn't have time. Cora and I didn't join the group for lunch. 


We hit the street right away... and I tried the local delicacy. Grilled cheese. I only had a few bites and disposed it. Too salty! I thought the outer part was bread, and cheese was inside. No. The whole darn thing is HARD cheese, veryy, very hard cheese!
Cora and I headed for the funicular going up to the highest point of Zakopane. Didn't take long before we parted. I think we both needed our respective solitary time. We're both independent travelers and could only take some much time with groups.
At the top, I sat on the sloping grass, taking in the vista of the mountains cradling the valley of Zakopane while soaking the warmth. Totally cloudless blue sky. Delicious sun on my tropical skin. I savored it! 

Walked around the area. Had a chill-out break in one of the quietest cafes, with a view of the mountains while having my waffle. I finally had to have it -- topped with mixed fruits, whipped cream and toffee. It totally redeemed the unsavory coffee. Somehow, I find it a hit and miss to have good coffee in this part of the world. Surprisingly, their coffee do not match the glorious desserts. It's such a shame!

I stumbled upon this cool boutique shop with designer clothes and accessories. Chanel, Prada, Gucci, etc. It's a shame most of the sizes are too big for me. I saw a "bling" set and didn't think twice of buying if. For $220 Zloties, or 50Euros, I had a matching choker, bracelet and earrings. I liked the unique design: diamond shaped crystals within golden lace-like nets. Intricate jewelry, faux pas or otherwise, grab me. Happy with my purchase! 

Luge Ride
Satisfied, I took the luge ride. I was pretty slow the first time, I felt very sorry for who was behind me. I enjoyed it so much I gave it a second go. Perfect timing. Stumbled upon my group, and I happened to be the 10th person they were looking to share the 10-ride ticket with. I rode the luge faster this time, but the one behind me still complained. I guess my size does not allow me to accelerate fast enough! I had so much fun nonetheless!

Polish Traditional Dinner
Dinner was pre-arranged by Mel. We all were driven by Joe to a traditional Polish restaurant. The waiters were all traditionally dressed. They also had Polish folksong performances. As usual the service was pretty slow. It's almost normal to have a three-hour dinner. A bread starter, salad bar,a smoked trout and divine apple strudel desert with ice-cream all just cost around 45 Zloties only. That's like around 10Euros or A$12 -- a bit less than what I normally pay for my lunch back in Melbourne.
Bonus Bus "Disco" Ride
A group of us were driven back to the hostel by Joe. We had a 20 minute party in the bus, with Joe playing with lights for a disco effect, putting party music at full volume, and playing with stop-start jerky motions of the bus, taking us multiple rounds on the round-about. It was hilarious and we were all just laughing and screaming inside the bus, in total party mood. The journey to the hostel wasn't long enough!

Stayed late getting into the internet and trying to find accommodation. Massive music festival in Split has just left no accommodation available! Except for ridiculously expensive ones... Contacted a couple of couchsurfing hosts. 
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