Zakopane, Poland

Day 25

Me: Come on. I thought we’d been through this.
God: Oohh, let me sabotage your trip a little more.
Me: What? No. No. Enough.
God: But I’m having a blast! Come on, man, one last fail. One.
Me (sighing): One, and then you stop.
God: One, and then we’ll see.
Me (chiding): God.
God: Okay. I’ll stop.
Me: Thank you.
God: Tsk. Party pooper.

So yeah, the first phase of my trip was approaching its end, and I managed to be at peace with God, (tensions that began on Day 1) but for that I had to watch my long-time expected trip to the Tatra mountains shatter in every possible way.

  1. I had to take a bus to get to Zakopane, and I was told that they filled quickly so I tried to get the one at 6 o’clock. It was full. There was already a crowd for the one at 6:30, and a crowd for the one at 7 o’clock. I missed the three first, and finally squeezed myself in the 7:30 one.
  2. Once in Zakopane, I had to figure what other bus to hop in to get to the entrance of the park. It was almost 11 o’clock when I achieved.
  3. We all got dumped at the same place and everyone rushed to an entrance queue that was approximately twice Hogwarts Express’s length. I bought a map of the park first, like every forum I read had wisely suggested. (I think you can bargain over there, because when I asked for the price of a map, the guy told me 20 Zlotys, and when I went to look for a cheaper one, another guy came to me and said 12 Zlotys. I don’t know if they worked together, but I paid him and gently left). Then I had to figure where I was on the map, which turned out to be impossible, especially since every visitor/employee that I met spoke only Polish.
  4. I surrendered and took my place at the end of the line. I couldn’t see where it began. After 5 minutes, there were already twenty more people behind me. The place was filling at a crazy speed. It was hot. I was hungry. I started eating.
  5. Problem. I wasn’t in the mountain yet but had eaten the ¾ of my lunch. I had been queuing for about an hour, and I still couldn’t see the beginning of the line—now I couldn’t see the end either.
  6. I realized I’d forgotten my sunglasses in the bus.
  7. At two o’clock, I decided I had enough and told the people around me to watch my spot while I searched for the bathroom. I walked up a staircase along the queue, and from that point I could see the beginning of the line, and also a big price list.
  8. I got my camera and zoomed to know how much it would cost to access the park. The forums said around 3-5 Zlotys.
  9. WTF? 63 Zlotys?
  10. I zoomed on a sign next to it and finally saw what I was queuing for.
  11. What I Was Queuing For: The chair lift.
  13. What do I do? Do I go back to the hostel and cry? Do I queue for another hour and pay 63 Zlotys for the chair lift? Do I search again for the actual hike even though it’s too late to make it?
  14. Damn it.
  15. I’m hungry.
  16. Damn it. I’m out of snacks.
  17. Screw that waiting time, I’ll look for the hike and walk a little in the woods, at least.


I found the way 10 minutes later, very unannounced. I finally understood where I was on the map, and what most of the symbols meant. The hike I wanted to do didn’t take 5-6 hours there and back, after all; it took 5-6 hours there. And back.

There is a period after “there”.

I was so unprepared for the size of this park. It’s truly huge. I did a 20-minute hike that took me 45 minutes and led to a cute little chapel in the forest, and I could see the huge mountains hidden behind the fence of that chapel and I wanted to cry.


But now I have my map, and I know a few words in Polish, and I know where to go and how long to plan my stay in Zakopane, and I’m definitely going back.

Fail Count: 16
Grand Total: 60 (in 25 days)

God: Hehe, thanks, I had a blast.
God: Admit it. It was epic. Right?
God: Right?
God: Is that a smile? Oh yeah, you’re smiling. Yeaaaaah. She’s smiling.
Me: Fine. It was a little bit epic, I suppose. Whatever.

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