polsha

New year adventures in Poland. The first Euro tour.



I would like to start the story about Vandals New year adventure citing one famous american producer:” I cannot listen long to Vagner, I have a great wish to attack Poland”.
Exactly such wish we had a rainy autumn evening, currency rate was reasonable, showing the way to the West. Decision was made, the route was defined, hotels were reserved and visa documents were prepared.
Morning, January1, ” Vandals” group of 9 persons started off, saying good bye to drunk Moscow. Our wayvwas through Minsk and Brest to Poland.

After spending night at Minsk hotel ” U Vasiliya’ we enjoyed last 500 km of soviet landscape. Wheat fields covered with snow stretching to the horizon made a picture of tomb emptiness. Just local road police in the snow  diversified the space. Before Brest we were convinced of European level of their service,police fees can be paid by card in the car.
After Brest it took us 4 hours to pass through the boarder, even polish customers were surprised at the amount of tourists wishing to enter Shenguen  zone for New year holidays. “In Moscow stayed only Mr Putin? ” the customer asked.

From the boarder we reached Lublin in no time. Our hotel Forest Biz was in the forest on the lake bank, a lonely place in 7 min to Lublin centre. In Chats Swozjko Strawa restaurant we got familiar with polish cuisine as we needed good food and sleep before the way to the Carpathians.I would praise polish food of high quality and colourise as in all restaurants they served big portions at Moscow prices or less. The restaurant was a typical wooden house with oven, wooden furniture and blond waitresses.  Two singers sang good local songs, before leaving we visited Maydanek concentration camp,where over 18000 Jewish were killed in one day during operation ” Harvest holiday”.

In the morning we started to ski resort Zakopane. We saw signs 140  on highways,so we arrived very quickly and safe. It should be mentioned driving manner in Poland is different from Russian,nobody abuses your rights but if you are not polite drivers would watch you aggressively.
We stayed in Stars Polyana hotel after arriving, it was very pictureresque wooden3 floor building of 19 century. We felt ancient spirit comparing to other hotels full of Greeks, Frenchmen coming for snowboarding and skiing.

They had back luck as there was almost no snow with temperature of 15 C. We planned climbing in the morning,so before we walked along local Arbat street Zakopane, enjoying shops, cafes, restaurants new year atmosphere and European architecture. Everywhere there was medieval spirit.

Our third day of communicating with nature was the brightest. It took 30 min to drive to Tate National park, which got its status in 1949. Its territory was originally 50965hec( 70000 protected area).  In 1993 Tartan national park of Slovakia and the polish one got the status of biosphere national park of UNESCO. We got our way through relict forest, waterfalls, bridge, we went up to Sea eye lake. Polish people are careful to nature, everywhere there are biotoilets and no rubbish.

Over the last pass we saw a massive wooden cafe and s lake covered with ice. There was an ant path across it as people came to admire beauty and see the lake from the height of birds flight. The Vandals climbed up 300 m on ice and took memorable fotoes. Sea eye territory is 35 hectares and is respected by locals as our Baikal. On the way back we visited hot springs Bukovina- Tatshanska representing aqua park with three swimming pools of different water temperature. The contrast of hot water and cold air is unusual.

On the fourth day we visited Nedzitsa castle bording with Slovakia. It is medieval fortress on the right side of Chorshtin reservoir in Nedzitsa village known as well as Dunaets. The castle was built at the beginning of  14 century at 566 m on the hill. 300 m up the Dunaets  river. Interier was left original – ancient biotoilet.luxurious earl bedroom and furs on the walls. There was a perfect view on a large dam from above.

And then we came to Krakow, face of Poland, whose image was spoiled by our hostel without electricity, WIFI and recepcionist who escaped leaving us with guard knowing nothing. Soon we faced pressing atmosphere of Krakow, town of Holocost. Everything reminded of Second world war and you seemed to see notes ” all jews must gather in certain place having only most valuable things,”.

We visited Royal castle, local restaurant and saw a bronze dragon making fire. They cooked grilled Krakow sausages on the central square smelling hundreds of miles around.
Osventsim was our fifth day. It is couple hours driving and exactly here well known death camps Aushvitz and Birkenau were located.we left the car and approached gates wih the note ” Labor makes you free”.
Jailes were everywhere and we were watched suspiciously as wer did not fit in common mood. Ovens, crematoriums, watching towers were untouched by soviet troops unlikely Maydanek. It is a live monument to the victims.  After 3 km we got to Gates to Hell, Byrkenau,the territory is enormous and hundreds of thousands people lived and worked there. It is divided into 4 parts and the last one is not finished.
And then Warsaw came almost fully destroyed by retreating  german troops. It was newly built by original drawings. It became a classical eurooean city and we enjoyed walking around it. The Vandals looked at the city from above and rang the bell scaring local police. Before leaving we tried local noiseless metro. In general locals proved to be polite and nice, speaking more Russian than English.
Poland is eastern Europe not so far leaving behind Baltic but differing from Belarus and Ukraine in life level and self consciousness. Village infrastructure is as good as in cities, european houses, low fences, well done gardens. No not slovanic people in streets and local youth is not ashamed to work in hypermarkets, cafes, gas stations and shops. They do not accept euro, only zlotans and prices are lower than in RF before ruble  devaluation.
Excited by spirit of civilised world  we got into cars and drove through former republic home, full of ideas and plans about future trips.
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