When I think of Poland, I think of Polka music being played in the mountains. Thanks Grandpa!
But really, it wouldn’t have felt like a true trip to Poland if we didn’t go see the Tatras Mountains. So, we hopped on a tour bus early in the morning and were off to the mountain town of Zakopane! Zakopane is a resort town known for skiing in the wintertime and mountain climbing and hiking in the summer months.
The ride was about two hours long but our tour guide stopped us in a little village near the Slovakian border called Chochołów. We got off the bus and went inside a traditional highlander wooden house with a display of how they used to look inside. Felt like going to Polish grandma’s house!
When we arrived in Zakopane we took the cable car up to the top of the hill to get a good look at the Tatras Mountains. They were starting to decorate for Christmas and it made me just want to take a seat and not move there until the snow started falling so I could enjoy the Christmas lights and decorations while looking out at the mountain.
On the way to Zakopane our tour guide pointed out some huts with smoke coming out from the top of them – it is where they smoke sheep cheese and create a specialty to Polish Tatras Mountains called Oscypek. Me and Chris found these at the market and decided to try one – Chris really didn’t like it and I didn’t love it that much either – it is dense and salty! But, as we always do, we had to try a local delicacy.
Our tour guide took us to the oldest church in Zakopane that is completely made out of wood! Right next to it is a cemetery.
One thing we noticed from driving through the Polish roads was that the cemeteries were all so filled with colorful flowers. This was by far the most cheerful cemetery I had ever walked through. Graves of those who had died hundreds of years ago had decor, flowers and candles all around them. The gravestones reflected on what the person did for a living. Mountain climbers had little climber figurines or ropes, architects had intricate gravestones and artists’ were of course, a reflection of their art.
We strolled down the main promenade and stopped at a restaurant for some more sauerkraut and pierogis. We then went and got dessert at another place where I had the best gelato.
It was a nice quaint day spent in the Polish mountain region and cool to see more about Polish heritage in a different region of Poland.