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Thursday, 4 September 2014

Zakopane - ZakoLove

Dear friends,

I realized just this week that I never told you about a wonderful place in Poland, quite close to Krakow. That place is called Zakopane and you may have heard this name before if you are a fan of winter sports ;) To be more precise, of the one and only sport that is in the hearts of Polish people: ski jumping! Well Zakopane is a lovely place in the mountains that gets overcrowded during the winter. 
December 2012 on top of the Gubalowka Hill
If ever you are in Poland, in Krakow, it is definetely worth a day or two ;) No matter the weather the place just has a magic of its own. To be fair though, it looks the prettiest during wintertime. Of course you cannot drop a pin as there are so many people, but it is quite nice to get there and enjoy the view while eating the traditional smoked cheese ;) 
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While in Zakopane there are a bunch of things you could go and check out, but here are my top 3:
  • Have a walk down Krupowki Street - you just can't miss this street, trust me ;) It is the main street, full with posh shops and crowded with tourists. If anyone mentions Zakopane surely Krupowki will be the next name mentioned. The street is pedestrian only and it is 600 meters long located in the very center of the city. During Christmas a huge Christmass tree gets placed there. The street is on a steep angle and on one side it leads to the mountais further on and on one end it gets to Zakopane's Sukiennice and the Main Post Office. The street ends with an underground pass that leads to Gubalowka Hill Market. 
  • Walk up the Gubalowka Hill - the one with a high antenna on top, the one that has a funicular for the ones that are too lazy to exercise but still want to see the pretty view on top. To tell you the truth, I never walked the path. Taking the funicular was always easier and I got on the top quicker ;) The downside might be that you need to stand in line (there are queues) but the ride takes max 5 minutes! But being on top of the hill is wonderful... breathtaking! You will get to see one of the most beautiful panoramas - Tatra Mountains + Zakopane. You can also have lunch on one of the restaurants on top or have a horse carriage ride or just eat some smoked cheese - which is traditional for Zakopane ;)
  • Feast yourself on the traditional smoked cheese - it is made out of cow + sheep milk and it is called oscypek. It has always been a tradition for the region and I love how they kept the tradition running still :) Recently Oscypek Cheese has become a registered product for the geographical region under the PDO regulations of the European Union. Don't wory about finding it though ;) you will find it everywhere in Zakopane! On the Krupowki Street, on the Gubalowka Hill... Everywhere! :) But also traditionally you would serve it grilled and with cranberry juice. It is delicious and my husband loves it! (and so do I!)
 
The view over Tatra Mountains
Of course there are a lot of other things to do and see in Zakopane - including winter sports like ski jumping or visiting weird things like the house turned upside down... - but I believe these are my favourite 3 that I would always do :)  I have not yet visited the house I mentioned before as each time we get to Zakopane we always end up doing something else completely. Maybe the next time we will be there I will not plan for it and then we will go ;))) You could also try the wooden church and the very old cemetery. Or you could come during winter season and watch one of the European Ski Jumping sessions hosted there. 
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Anyway, I think you might find helpful also this site - Zakopane's travel guide to the city and the Tatra Mountains. The site is split also in activities that you could do during summer VS. during winter (and I also saw there that you could have husky rides! I mean, how cool is that?!). You might wanna give it a try ;) And I will also be here to answer any questions you may have :) Or maybe you have been to Zakopane before... I would love to hear what would be your top things to do there :)

Yours truly,
A LadyBug Who Loves The View On Top Of The Gubalowka Hill :)