I arrived very late on Sunday, got lost around the bus station, wandered around for a bit like a loon, until I gave in and got a taxi. Turns out my hostel was only about 10 mins walk away, but I never would have found it, given my lack of proper directions. The hostel was a bit strange - it didn't have any curtains, nor did it have locks on the shower. I kept expecting people to barge in and catching getting dressed or washing myself, but fortunately they didn't.
On Monday, I just walked about, getting the lay of the land, and actually went to the cinema, and saw the film Lucy starring Scarlett Johansson [it was a bit of a ridiculous film if I'm honest, but nonetheless entertaining]. I like going to the cinema in foreign countries, I find it infinitely more enjoyable than going in the UK, as foreign cinemas tend to be a lot smaller and people tend to be better behaved in them. I spent the evening chatting to American and Canadian travellers in the hostel common room. The Canadian asserted that he wasn't 'travelling, he was living'; which was a statement I found both amusing and inspiring.
A small cinema full of well-behaved people.
On Tuesday, I did a free city walking tour around Krakow [always a great way to meet fellow travellers]. The tour was very interesting, consisting of lots of local knowledge and local legends about dragons/ people dying by arrows. I met a boy from The Netherlands, and an Australian guy and we grabbed Western food in a cafe clearly aimed at the likes of us. In the evening I met the boy from the Netherlands in A polish jazz bar [Polish jazz is very good, the language meshes well with the music] and then he introduced me to more people from the Netherlands, who partied very hard indeed!
I promise the walking tour was fun, I don't know why these people look bored...
On Wednesday I was slightly the worse for wear, but I was due in Zakopane [ a famous ski resort in the winter months] so I took a bus directly there from Krakow. I spent the afternoon recovering from the night before [oh dear!] by napping, and then I went for a walk that seemed to go on for hours and involved lots of scary dogs barking at me!
My Zakopane hostel - a good place to recover!
On Thursday, I headed up to a local campsite, which was about 5km from the town of Zakopane. I ended up getting drenched, walking in the rain the entire way. When I arrived, a very concerned looking owner of the campsite berated me for not having a coat, and she kindly leant me her umbella.
In the afternoon, I headed back into town, this time via a scary looking bus that seemed more like a mini-van. Once in town, I explored the town's markets and then took a funicular [love that word] up a mountain [sorry, not sure which mountain!] At the top of the mountain, there were more people hawking their wares, but the views were still lovely.
A beautiful view from the top of the mountain?
On Friday, I visited two museums [one about a dead poet I'd never heard of] and one about family life in the mountains before the communist period. During Friday afternoon I felt a bit lonely, as I hadn't really met any other travellers since Tuesday night, so I decided to go back to Krakow the next day [but I left my suitcase in Zakopane as I still needed somehwere to stay until Aug 27th].
Dead Poet's house...
On Saturday, I took the bus back to Krakow and was so pleased to be there again it almost felt like coming home!. I checked into another hostel [the first time I've ever stayed somewhere without booking in advance -I will definitely do that more in future!] The plan was to meet more travellers, and within five minutes of booking in, I met an Italian guy [I didn't meet any solo female travellers all week - where are you guys?!] and we went out for coffee, at a place I had discovered earlier in the week. The Italian guy and I did another free walking tour, which was similar to the other one, but showed me the more Bohemian areas of Krakow that I hadn't seen before.On the tour I met an Australian couple, who were very concerned for my welfare, but I told them not to worry, and set about doing a mini- pub crawl with the Italian guy in tow.
The free walking tour taking a break at Krakow's
On Sunday morning, I got up having not slept all night [someone was snoring like a buffalo in my dorm] and met two British guys in the common room. Mission of meeting people accomplished, I headed back to Zakopane, and again spent the afternoon napping.
Another good place to nap...technically this place is at a campsite, I just opted for the indoor chalet option...
Today I went to a water park and swam around outside for a bit, and then I did a mini hiking trail in the local Tatra mountains and then I came here [to Zakopane's internet cafe] to fill you in a bit! Phew...even writing that all briefly was an undertaking!
A sign about bears, which I scarily saw on my hike today!
More Polish pics to come - at the end of the trip, I'm just going to do posts with hardly any writing and lots of pictures!