‘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.

  6. I totally agree with you Jo. Mountains and especially snow-capped mountains makes the most excellent backdrops. These are absolutely stunning shots hon. Thank you for taking me on this lovely tour. It’s so beautiful there! 😀 ♥ Big Hugs ♥

    1. I need my little ‘fixes’ of lovely scenery to stay happy, Sonel. Some people live to shop. Me I just love to look and breathe deeply. (and ignore the rain, pounding down the for second consecutive day 🙂 ) Stay well!

      1. Same here Jo and I only love to shop if there are lots of money and I mean LOTS. LOL! But my most favorite is just to admire nature and take shots of what I see and like.

        Rain is good and washes away all the yuck but not when you want to go out. Take some rain shots for me please – like raindrops on the windows, puddles, wet leaves, etc. … if you want. 😀

        Stay well too. ♥ Hugs ♥

  7. A vision of Poland quite unexpected Jo .. don’t know why I think that really , I guess because I had no idea what it was like and not visited . Always did fancy a Christmas market trip to Krakow for some of those gorgeous baubles mind .
    Lovely photo collection for sure !

  8. Such a peaceful, picturesque place! The rooftop picture is beautiful, love the majestic castle. The last one, Wow! It looks like this post did not make it to my reader 😕
    I’ll be taking my two-week vacation starting this Sunday. See you when I’m back, Jo!

      1. off to Spain, I’m getting anxious… 🙂 I’ve been getting much support from our blog community, especially from you.

      2. I think I’m more exciting than nervous. We’ll be traveling with a small group of people for 14 days. We took the China trip with a group of 14 last summer. The group was from 5 countries and aged from 20s to 70s. They were the most wonderful travelers. 🙂

  9. Very nice photos. I passed by the Tatra in 2005 going from Budapest to Krakow and felt at home as if it was the Gerês NP in northern Portugal.

    1. I haven’t managed to make it further north than Guimaraes in Portugal so far, but I hope to some day. Glad you liked the photos and may thanks for commenting. 🙂

  10. I never realised Poland had so much scenic beauty, you have captured it so well Jo, and I also love those curved roof tops. Is it to keep the snow from settling?

    1. I think that could well be a factor, Pauline. I’ll Google it before I do the Niedzica Castle post then I can include the information. I don’t think I had realised myself how much variety and beauty there was until I started coming here. I still have so many photos and posts to do, it’s unbelievable! 🙂

  11. Gorgeous, from start to finish. As you say Jo, mountains and water, what can beat this? And the views…truly spectacular. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos of a truly beautiful part of the world 🙂

    1. Thanks, Sherri 🙂 Every time I do a post at present I’m thinking ahead to the next couple and the many photos I still have to share. We’re back in the Algarve on 4th June and I’ve just about got my English head on again. Goodness knows how I’ll fit them in. (but I’ll try!)

      1. Wow, you are busy! How lovely to be going back again soon, and it’s not far off, so I understand your panic, but I’m sure you’ll do a wonderful job… 🙂 x

    1. I thought you might be, Ann. 🙂 It was right near our bus stop so it would have been foolish not to indulge while we waited. In fact, I think we missed a bus or two, but never worry!

    1. I think you realise it very well with your music, Frizz. I wish I could spend more time with you. I can’t claim credit for that subtitle- it is Julie’s touch 🙂 Mine is ‘roaming at home and abroad’. Kind of suits, doesn’t it 🙂

  12. Giovanna, amica carissima, in questo periodo di assenza dal blog, mi sei molto mancata, spero di poter riprendere il mio viaggio con lo splendore delle tue foto e delle interessanti spiegazioni come questa visita alla tua bellissima Polonia.
    Ti ringrazio moltissimo per la tua presenza graditissima nei miei post
    un grandissimo abbraccio molto affettuoso

    1. Buon giorno, Ventis 🙂 It’s always a lovely morning when you arrive on my blog, but today the clouds have descended and it pours. No matter- time to make another coffee and settle to visiting friends.
      Un bacio do Hartlepool 🙂

    1. Ah well- late to the party is the story of my life, Cee. 🙂 I still have you to thank for my obsession with signposts! Just one too many challenges for you, I guess. Many thanks for your visits.

      1. Signs still can go in my odd balls. I know I just adore taking photos of signs too. You are not late to the party, I didn’t make an announcement. I don’t want people to think I’m stopping all challenges.

    1. Fast train would be about 5 hours, Jackie, by bus around 8. It’s quite a distance. The roads are good but it’s single lane traffic when you get into the area, and if you ever do it avoid Bank Holidays and weekends. 🙂

      1. Has she? I haven’t read anything about it, but noticed that there wasn’t a black & white challenge this week – and neither challenge appear on her menu now. Oh, well, there are enough challenges out there and I’m cutting down on posting. I do have more walks for you, when I get time to write them up!

      1. The OH suffers from vertigo so mountains are not his favourite scenery – to look at , yes, but to walk in, definitely no! Besides,nowadays he is happiest at home! Dunno what I’m going to do about him 😉

    1. I don’t think you’d struggle with eating the food, Ad. They eat a lot of pork and use delicious marinades. I have cake photos to come at some point too 🙂
      It is beautiful, Ad, and I hadn’t realised myself till we started to visit.

  13. I love the shot of the ‘rolling’ rooftops…wow. i want a rooftop like that. Actually if I could design my ‘dream house’…it might freak a few people out.

      1. There would be lion doorknockers and spiral staircases that could be made in to slides. Bathrooms where the tubs were on a turntable and whooshed you outside under the stars. Waterfall showers and hidden rooms.

  14. great post and LOVE this first sentence – “Mountains and water are, for me, a pretty irresistible combination…”
    \ and the photo looking out across the lake – with the planter on the angle – and the tree to the left – and then the “tips” – just has your feel and your style dear Jo!

    the wavy rooflines was awesome and oh baby = “Polish ‘fayre’” – yummmmm are these the same as perigees? Well when my brother came to visit – he brought fresh perogies – hand folded by a Polish chef from western NY – and I grabbed a picture of some a she lightly seared them – so I will have to show that later –
    anyhow, really enjoyed this post 🙂

    1. I only know them as pierogi, Yvette. They’re usually cooked in boiling water like a dumpling and the stuffing can be savoury or sweet. 🙂

      Thank you for liking my ‘style’. I get a lot of help from my surroundings.

      1. I couldn’t have known you very long then, haven’t things changed? I know quite a bit about Poland now thanks to you and Meg and I’ve even surprised a couple of polish people at work with little snippets I’ve learnt. Best of all, now I’ve known you at least two years and I’m really chuffed, you’re an absolute darling x:-)x

      2. Bless you, sweetheart! What a lovely thing to say 🙂 I just had a look back at this post and it’s surprising how many people aren’t still blogging Gilly. But we’ll still be going a while, won’t we? 🙂 Hugs!

  15. So many gorgeous views and beautifully composed scenes in this post! Thank you for this share Jo. I LOVE IT. Hopefully I will show you the view from the other side of these mountains this summer 😉

  16. Jo those wavy rooftops are great. I’m just back from a run and at first I thought my eyes were blurring with sweat. Fabulous mountains and yes please to a plate of those perogies!

      1. Yours are pretty impressive Jo! As the snow gets out of ours I will be able to get out there for some hikes and share them. Looking forward to some Monday walks!

    1. I think I was lucky with the choice I made, Elisa. I had thought about Zakopane or one of the nearby villages but I was more than happy with the variety in the Pieninys. Thank you 🙂 I wished I’d had a better camera so I could have got sharper views of the mountains but they’re there in my memory, clear and bright.

    1. I had read about Lake Czorsztyn, Jill, but when I passed by it I was hooked! That first shot is the very edge of the village before you walk down to the lake. It was deserted. Quite fabulous! 🙂

    1. I wanted to reach out and touch them, Lynne. 🙂 I hadn’t been sure whether to spend our couple of days in Zakopane or Szczawnica. I think I made the right choice!

  17. Aha! A fellow snowy-peaks tragic! I found another patch today by looking back behind me. Clouds are a really great aid to photography and you’ve captured some lovely cloudscapes. My favourites today? Those rough-hewn turrets and the wavy rooftops. I’ve just eaten, or the pierogis would be up there too. Staple diet for us in Warsaw when we’d been grandparenting and parenting all day. CanI follow in your footsteps?

    1. You’ve chosen my two favourite shots, Meg 🙂 I was lucky with those clouds but I would have liked clearer views of the Tatrys (or a better camera). Your shots of Bled were superb!
      Please do! I’ll come looking for today’s instalment when I’ve finished answering comments.

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