Moments that are never really planned, that are simply spontaneous and just happen are usually the best. We embarked on a hiking adventure through the borders of Southern Poland to reach the top of the Tatra Mountains and Slovakia with a blind eye and our regretful singular language. Our sole purpose was to encounter a glimpse of our reality fragmenting away, and open a window into a world only spoken of in books and poems. We set off from the wondrous city of Krakow, eagerly hoping to get an eyeful of what we soon found to be The Throat of the World.
The rural landscape and the glisten of the first snow as we reached the base of the mountain made for an exciting start. Each and every path becomes a journey twice as long in wintertime, as the crumbling snow beneath you quickly turns to solid ice and you are forced to slacken your pace. Over four hours of walking led us to a vast expanse opening before us, and a trail leading down to the frozen lake. We climbed down and ventured onto the ice, bravely trekking across the surface knowing the extent of the depths below us. The journey back was treacherous due to the fall of dusk, and many locals use horse-drawn carts to traverse through the wilderness. If you close your eyes, a sense of security falls on your shoulders, as pictures of the fictional landscape dart across your mind with every rock the cart’s wheel catches. It was best that we took the cart, considering the wolf prowling amongst the trees. Sometimes you see something so terrifyingly beautiful that you forget you’re holding a camera, alas no photos were taken.
From the surface of the Lake, we journeyed to the path of the mountain, where we travelled up to the top of the high Tatra’s. The air was still and crisp, but the view was forever growing. Knowing that we had driven from Poland to the edge of Slovakia for this walk hung in our minds as we gazed down upon the body of Poland and the lights of Zakopane. A spectacular place where skiers embarked, and a slow, foreboding fog descended towards us, blinding us on the ridge. Being submerged within cloud gives you a sense of weightlessness, and an opportunity to reflect on where you’ve travelled. Poland is a mythical and fictional paradise, and the Tatra Mountains will always be a significant part of our memories; truly a hidden gem in the heart of Europe.
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