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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- I realized I’d forgotten my sunglasses in the bus.
- 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.
- I got my camera and zoomed to know how much it would cost to access the park. The forums said around 3-5 Zlotys.
- WTF? 63 Zlotys?
- I zoomed on a sign next to it and finally saw what I was queuing for.
- What I Was Queuing For: The chair lift.
- 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?
- Damn it.
- I’m hungry.
- Damn it. I’m out of snacks.
- 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: Is that a smile? Oh yeah, you’re smiling. Yeaaaaah. She’s smiling.
Me: Fine. It was a little bit epic, I suppose. Whatever.