The Emerald Of Eastern Europe

Lake surrounded by fog

The Adventure Begins

Great adventures start in your mind, followed by a fantastic execution of the idea that came in your head. In short, all of it starts and finishes with you as a center of the universe. There is a saying in Buddhism. “I am the center of the universe. Without me, the universe wouldn’t exist.” This same logic could be applied to any and all the adventures I had. I am the creator and executor of the adventure I decide to go. But enough of this. I am here to share with you about the place that probably few of you have heard and if you did probably not many have been there. A place that like no other reminds you of mystical fantasy books that you have read with beauty to rival any of the top destinations of the world.

I came to know about it by accident and only because I met my girlfriend a few months ago. She was the one that shared this fantastic location. And without waiting too long we have assembled a crew and went to Zakopane, Poland. This magical place is 800km from Lithuania so a short ride by car and a great adventure.

We had a short 4 (2 days in transit, 2 days to explore) days to explore the place. Thus we ensured to make the most of it. That is to climb the highest peak, marvel at the mountain lakes and storm 1 more peak that passes through a beautiful meadow.

First thing first the rent in Zakopane is dirt cheap here as long as you pre-book before any major holidays or at least a month earlier. You can get a cottage in the mountains, an apartment or a hotel the price starts from 20$ per room and up to 200, I guess or soo. You can always find those special places that charge more for the same. We have rented an apartment for convenience and lack of time to search for something better. However, the place was really great!

Rented apartment

The first thing we did when we arrived was to go on a small hike to the nearby hills to just feel out the place. We just couldn’t spend any more time sitting. Took us nearly 2 hours to hike up to the hill we wanted and come back home for a sleep. It was hard to fall asleep knowing that an exciting day is waiting for us.

panoramic view of zakopane

The Highest Summit In Poland

Upon waking up we have decided to hike towards the two very beautiful lakes – Morskie Oko (1 395 m) and Czarny Staw pod Rysami(1 583 m) in the middle of the Tatras mountains. We parked our car in Palenica Białczańska paid parking (20 zlotych for the whole day and 5 zlotych for each person) and started our journey. We have walked up to the lake for around 7.5 kilometers and about 2 hours, with loads of tourists but it was totally worth it! The walk is not too complicated, as you can simply follow the route.

the start of a hike to the summit

The lakes looked like something out of the Hobbit movies. With small paths around the lakes leading to the one track to the top of the mountain where the dragon is waiting for those who brave the hike. No sound rang out from the emptiness of space around the lake.

road nearby the lake Morske OKO lake Preparing to eat lunch Guy resting Trail to the second lake

The idyllic scene took our breath away. Behind these lakes were our destination the 2.499m mountain top – Rysy. The mountain loomed in the not so far distance. We had to rush towards the top as we had to be back before the nightfall or be lost forever.

Second lake Second lake

We gazed up at the rugose and rough-hewn mountains with a sense of awe before we started climbing. It was not easy. We wanted to turn around quite a few times. But the mountain beaconed us to keep on going. Showing us at every turn an ever more beautiful sight. To disappoint us at the top. By covering everything in fog the moment we reach the summit.

Morske Oko from up high Climbing to the summit Enjoying the view midway. Overlooking the lakes Guy and a girl posing for a picture The fog covered mountains People going for the summit Using chains to reach the summit Sitting on the throne of the mountain

By going down the mountain I understood why the majority of accidents happen on the way back. It is simple, the mountain lulls your head with achievement so you would think the hardest part is over and lower your awareness. That’s when the mountain claims your life. Luckily for us, we were tired but still aware and managed to get down the mountain without any major accident just a few slips here and there. However, one of my colleagues got huge blisters that made him unable to climb down the rest of the ways. Thus near the mystic lakes, I gave him my shoes and went for a swim to acquire the blessing of the fairies.

Mountain climbers going up Almost there Swimming in the lake Lake in the fog

Our day ended late at night, exhausted to the bone but nirvanic happy inside.

The Second Summit

The second day was spent on reaching a lower mountain for one we were still exhausted from the yesterday hike and for a second we wanted to see more with less energy spent. We still had to go back to Lithuania next day.

Before we could climb the mountains we had to cross a meadow that looked as if it had stepped from the pages of a storybook. The grass was Eden-green and thigh-high. The mountains in the distance had peaks that looked as giants fell asleep. A face there a hand over there. The sky above the meadow was a feast for the eyes. It stretched as far as the eye could see in a dome of cocktail-blue, punched with fluffy clouds. The place was truly magical. However, we had to hurry along if we wanted to reach the mountain tops and scratch the nose of the giants. The climb was easier than yesterday but much much hotter. The sun was burning us as if trying to prevent to reach the top. But we kept on and finally reach the summit. The view it showed allowed us to understand the reason sun tried to keep it for herself.

Meadow Valley from the up high Hiking up the mountain to the second summit overlooking the valey Valley and a forest The trail at the top of the mountain

On the way back we had to cross a forest that once again looked like we just stepped through the sorcerer’s gates to the other world. The forest was tannin-brown. The grass was crispy under our feet. We looked up and the trees were skyscraper tall. Centuries-old trees with sprawling limbs guarded the darkness, leaving only small areas for the sunlight. Here in these small areas of sunlight, we could see bushes of blueberry that had a sweet taste of a meadow. The deeper we went the darker it got. It in sort reminded of an elven village described in the books with fresh springs and silver light playing in sight never to be caught. Once we were out of the forest it felt once again as passing through a portal and back to the mortal world.

grazing sheeps

Authors
Simonas R.
Arune M.

P.s. Pictures are all originals. If you would like to copy or use them you have to get a permission from the authors.

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