Monday, November 27, 2006

Ah, the Mon-tines...

Last week, Bhadri and I discovered the joys of the mon-tines. (Mon-tines = mountains. Polish people pronounce mountains as mon-tines, and to be honest, it's just so much more fun to say mon-tines!) We travelled down to Zakopane, a beautiful resort village in the Tatra Mtns, last Monday by bus. It was only an hour and a half trip from the bustle of the city to the sleepy mountain town. We hit Zakopane in peak non-tourist season! It's packed during the summer months and is always busy during the holidays, so we managed to find the perfect time to visit.

We got a great B&B a few minutes walk from the forest; and although they told us it was a double, the beds were 2 twins/singles pushed together. And they wouldn't've been complete without a wooden bar running between them! But it was warm, we had the patio out back all to ourselves, and we were equipt with a table and chairs for our morning breakfast.

The first day we were there, we just strolled around town, grabbed some Oscypik--the most tasty smoked, mountain cheese ever!, and had a lunch of cheese, bagel-bread, and Zywiec beer. It was glorious! Then we met up with our friends Alex and Kristin (from the course), who had invited us up, and hung out with them for the rest of the night. I say "night" because it starts getting dark here by 3:15 and is completely dark by 4:00--it really messes with your mind!

The next day we woke up early and caught the funicular with Alex and Kristin. We rode it to the top of the mountain and hiked lazily for a while around the top. Eventually, when our plan to ride the ski lift down was foiled (it wasn't running this time of year), we decided to hike down. We found a good trail and took it all the base. We were so lucky--the day was gorgeous and we had such good friends to accompany us, too! We even learned a few new special effects on our camera (ref: the leaning TEFL teachers photo)...

That night we went out to eat Polish food and I tried Gzone Piwo (hot, spiced beer). I do have to say, I adore the gzone! We've been nursing a bottle of Grzaniec Galicjski, a bottled mulled wine that is fantastically delicious, for the past few weeks...and now I know about the joys of mulled beer, too. Ah, Poland!

The next day, Alex and Kristin decided to head back to Krakow. We opted to stay and go for a hike in the opposite direction, towards the Tatras (you can see them in the background of a few of the pics here). There was a national park back in the forest where we were hiking, but they didn't allow dogs. Yes, you know what that means: we brought Booster to the mon-tines! Although it was his first trip, Booster took to the mountains like a beetroot takes to barszcz soup. Adorned with his new, blue jacket (with hood for style), he trotted the trails and touched each hiker heart with a spark of jolliness. He really was the king of the woods.

We roamed through the forest for a while before we decided to turn around and head home. Booster was completely zonked, and Bhads and I were sore until yesterday. We thought we had gotten more in shape since we'd been walking so much here in Krakow, but ooohhh were we wrong!

On the way to the bus stop, we loaded up on some more cheese (photo provided) and I just finished the last of it today for didn't last long! I am officially addicted to it. I think we spent about 20 zloties on just oscypik alone!

It was a fabulous trip, and there's no doubt in my mind that we'll be back to the mon-tines sometime soon!

No comments: