Tatra National Park

Home again in our cozy little rooms in our villa in Zakopane, which is constructed in the Zakopane style of architecture, which means wood, very steep ceilings, balconies all around and, often, wood panels with elaborate carvings in front of those balconies. A place just down the road from us, where they always have a sheep grazing in their front yard, has planters on all their balconies, big purple blooms, a tower of flowers, a lovely combination of the natural world and the ingenuity of man.
We just had dinner and are relaxing, tired and sore after a long, arduous, and, hate to bitch about it, rather expensive day. We took the bus up to Tatra National Park, where the main feature is a crystal clear mountain lake, which truly was beautiful, there were waterfalls all around feeding into it and a fast stream pouring out of it.
Catching the bus up was a trip. We still haven’t figured out the local buses, and were walking in the general direction of the train station because we knew buses left from there, and while we were standing on a street corner, I saw a bus driver across the street motioning to us and shouting “Morskie Oko!” out the window (which is exactly where we were going, it means eye of the sea and it’s the name of the lake) So, we boarded, no money changed hands at that point, and it was entertaining as he drove around town picking up more passengers in the same way. It was a lovely drive up, about an hour through lovely scenery, and it was 12 zloty per person, so 36 zloty, which is close to 200 crowns, so about 7 or 8 bucks. Not unreasonable at all. Then it was 7 zlotys to get into the park (3.50 for Isabel), and we started walking toward the lake. We saw people passing us in horse drawn wagons, which looked kind of fun, but we were pretty sure that was going to be a major expense. It was a couple of hours before we got to any place selling food and drink, by which time we were famished. I had a ham and cheese sandwich (7 zlotys) the girls each had something called zepekana, which is a long piece of bread with some ham and cheese, baked and slathered with way too much ketchup (15 zlotys apiece, but definitely a good sized serving) We also got a large bottle of water, and some iced tea. By the time we got to the lake, we were not only too exhausted to do the hike all the way around it (we went about a quarter of the way and turned back), but we’d decided to take the horse and wagon back down whatever it cost, which was 40 zlotys per person. The bus back to town, of course, was the same price as the bus there. So, no specific complaints, none of the prices were outrageous but, by the end of the day, the money we’d budgeted for the trip was seriously depleted and it’s entirely possible we’ll have to hit a cash machine before we get back to the Czech Republic.
Also, a tip for anybody planning to visit Tatra National Park in Poland. Take the horse ride on the way UP to the lake, that way you’ll still be fresh for the hike when you get there, and the way back is downhill all the way.
All for tonight. Thanks for reading.

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