‘T’ is for Tatry Mountains

The snow capped Tatry Mountains, seen from Lake Czorsztyn

The snow capped Tatry Mountains, seen from Lake Czorsztyn

Mountains and water are, for me, a pretty irresistible combination.  On my recent visit to Poland, this is as near as I got to the Tatry Mountain range, but what a magnificent backdrop they make!

Situated to the south of Kraków, they form a natural border with Slovakia, and are the highest mountain range in the Carpathians. At 2499 metres Rysy is the highest peak on the Polish side of the range.  Zakopane is regarded as the ‘winter capital of Poland’ but is a highly popular destination for hiking in summertime too.   I was lucky enough to be there for Silver Wedding celebrations in 2009 and Z is for Zgorzelec and Zakopane tells that story.

This post will take a very different path, and includes a ferry crossing on Lake Czorsztyn.

Imagine this view from your garden!

Imagine this view from your garden!

And the ruins of Czorsztyn Castle at the bottom of the street

And the ruins of Czorsztyn Castle at the bottom of your street

On our trip to the Pieniny Mountain range, much lower than the Tatrys, we passed alongside of the lake and I gazed in awe at the spectacle beyond.  I knew that if it were at all possible I would be back for a closer look.  And so my return to Kraków was by a very roundabout route.

To the gondolas?  Or the castle?

To the gondolas? Or the castle?

The castle first, of course

The castle first, of course

And then the boat

And then the boat

The Tatras, as they are known in English (Tatry is the Polish plural) sit tantalisingly out of reach but ever present on the horizon.

Looking across the lake, you can still see the tips

Looking out across the lake, I can just see the tips!

And then we're off, in search of another castle!

And then we’re off, in search of another castle!

Magnificent Niedzica Castle this time, and not just a ruin

Majestic Niedzica Castle this time, and not just a ruin

Another castle sign!

Another castle sign (and a tractor in the background)

I won’t attempt to show you around the castle, because I think it deserves a post of its own.  But I will give you a couple of views from the battlements, to tempt you back.

This one looks down on sturdy dam, blocking off the lake

This one looks down on the sturdy dam, blocking off the lake to the east

And this is my favourite of the castle rooftops

While this is my favourite, of the castle rooftops

And for the foodies among you, some typical Polish fayre

And for the foodies among you, some typical Polish ‘fayre’

I had pierogi a jagodami and delicious it was!

I had Pierogi z jagodami and delicious it was!

We were assisted in our enterprise by a very charming couple from Warsaw, who observed me struggling with the language and the bus timetables.  They had been to the area a number of times and were off on a hiking expedition to Trzy Korony (Three Crowns).  It would have been very tempting to join them, but instead they ensured that we were dropped at the right spot and pointed in the direction of the lake.

They also suggested that we might find a bus connection from Niedzica directly back to Kraków, which we did, instead of returning across the lake.  But not before sampling some typical mountain food- filling but delicious pierogi or dumplings, at “Karczma Hajdur” restaurant, by the lake.  I can highly recommend it!

Just one last shot of the Tatry Mountains, taken on another expedition, on the River Dunajec.

The Tatry Mountains seen from the Dunajec River

The Tatry Mountains seen from the Dunajec River

I’m going to be a little ambitious and link this to three different challenges.  For some time I’ve been trying to complete my Personal A-Z of Poland and this is yet another step in that direction. Many thanks to Julie Dawn Fox for setting me on the path.  I’ve also been joining Frizz whenever I can.  This week he’s Tagged T, which just happens to be a perfect fit.  He’s another very kind host, so do visit and take a look around.

I’m sure most of you know Cee.  She’s a legend in the world of photo challenges.  I have joined in on her Which Way challenge in the past but have struggled to find the time lately, so I’m hoping she won’t mind “sharing me”.  Cee loves directions and signposts in her challenge, and wherever I go now, I find myself snapping away every time I see a sign.  It’s addictive!

So there you are!  I hope you’ll find the time to join in on one of them, while I think about where you might like to go next. banner4


  1. You have nearly done your alphabet – well done. You have been a busy bee, Jo!!!
    Beautiful images .. fantastic surroundings. I know nothing about my Polish roots – and I don’t really know if I want to know neither, for various reasons – never known my dad is one of them.
    Then we I see how proud and you present your roots and heritage. Amazing post and you’re such fantastic story teller too.


    1. I feel I’m in quite a privileged position, Vivi, to be welcomed into the homes of so many lovely people. It’s a strange life we live, sometimes, isn’t it? 🙂


  2. Great again having a catch up – no idea how you cope with so many comments – a plea from a late arrival could you have you most recent comments at the top as I am getting RSI from scrolling – ha ha


    1. I do have the most recent at the top, Scott, because it used to irritate me when I hadn’t much time to scroll all the way down. Having changed it, I find I miss out on the ‘chat’ on the way down! Loose, loose situation 🙂 Thanks for staying with me.


    1. I’m happy you feel that way. There are many parts of Poland that I would still love to visit. Having family there obviously makes a difference but I haven’t been disappointed in anywhere that I’ve seen so far. 🙂


  3. The Tatry Mountains form a tantalizing backdrop to your walk, Jo. I love the undulating castle rooftops and the scenes of the countryside and town. The pierogi look delicious. Are these the ones with the local berries? Did you save me some??


    1. Oh, Cathy- I knew there was something I meant to do! I saved one in a serviette but it went all mushy 🙂 You must have a pierogi shop somewhere near you? Tell them ‘jagodami, po prosze’ and if that fails just say ‘Jo sent me’. That’ll do the trick! Happy weekend!


      1. I’ve never seen a pierogi shop around here, Jo, but I do see frozen pierogi in the supermarket!! I would love to find some homemade ones around. Mike’s family used to make homemade pierogi, but Mike’s German mom hasn’t felt up to cooking these days. Happy weekend to you!!


  4. Love your tours, Jo….Wordpress has been missing your posts from my Reader, so I went hunting for your blog. Poland and what we call the Tatra mountains?? is a destination I would like to visit 🙂


    1. Thanks a lot for that, Sue. I haven’t made it to the Reader much myself but have simply returned visits and if I see someone I know in a comments box I hop in, if I have time. It seems to get stuck in a rut with showing a few people over and over, but the system has a lot to cope with, doesn’t it?
      Glad you liked the post. I’ve been Poland obsessed since I got back 🙂


  5. HL=huge like for your post… 🙂 I love mountains(and volcanoes!), been there twice… lucky to live at only 2h-drive from the French-Spanish Pyrénées… 🙂 my very best and have a sunny Friday! cheers, Mélanie


    1. Many thanks for the good wishes and the much needed sunshine, Melanie 🙂 Non-stop rain for 2 days here in the north east of England, but I have some lovely memories to keep me going.


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