Yet another trip to the mountains

Those of you who follow me on Instagram probably already know that I had visited Bieszczady mountains last week. For those, who still didn’t click that follow button – yes, I took a week off from the “big city” and travelled all the way to Bieszczady mountains AGAIN. It took me around 5 hours to drive there and I have truly and passionately enjoyed every single moment there.

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Bieszczady is a mountain range running from Poland through Ukraine and Slovakia and is a part of Outer Eastern Carpathians. I have many times heard of beauties of that particular place, but up until last year I never had a chance to visit. I have described my last trip in details here.

An area of no light pollution

From what I’ve learned only Bieszczady Mountains out of all the mountain ranges in Poland maintain the original darkness of night, all the other areas are light polluted to varying degrees. This is probably one of very few places in which you can experience true darkness of the night. The night sky is absolutely stunning, I can’t even begin to describe how many stars can be seen there. Unfortunately, I don’t own any camera that could catch that picture and give it justice.

Winnie-the-Pooh house shelter

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Winnie-the-Pooh house is a shelter located on the top of the mountain in Bieszczady. It is the highest located shelter in this mountain range. The place has no electricity, nor running water and only sells tea (also with a little bit of additives like… cherry vodka) and other assortment for tired hikers.  You can also sleep there, for a symbolic price, if you ventured too late into the mountains and want to have some rest there.

I was quite interested about the history of this place. I have learned that it was build just after the war to check the borders. Later on, when the borders shifted a little bit, it was given to the Polish Tourist Association which runs it until now.

The road leading to the Pooh-house leads through the Carpathian mountain pasture of Wetlina, which is quite an easy route really. When we ventured there we’ve seen such little kids on the way, we were pretty ashamed we got so flustered after each peak.

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A great place to practice hiking

I am not used to hiking. For my entire life I lived in the place that was flat as a bottom of my shoe. The first time I tried hiking I didn’t really like it that much – I was sweating, tired and simply hated looking so terrible. After some time though, I got used to it and now, except that I whine all the time anyway, I really like it. Especially the feeling of accomplishment when I reach a great, great place and can finally rest.

Bieszczady mountains can be demanding. Can take a lot out of you and leave you exhausted. But each time you finish a hike you already want to go back. The mountains have undeniable charm that draws people back. I met a nice man while climbing to the Winnie-the-Pooh house, who told me he visits Bieszczady for the fifth time and already plans to come back for more.

Although getting tired is not so difficult here, you can also find various routes which are not as demanding. That way, the range is perfect both for experienced, and inexperienced hikers.

A great hotel base

Bieszczady was quite a popular touristic spot in the 90s and now it goes back to its full glory. Both Floret and I enjoyed nearly every single one of the accommodation spots we stayed in. Many of these places offered a lot more than we expected and we loved the owners, who were extremely nice.

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We ate dinner with such a view in one of the places and I totally loved it. The owner was so sweet she even drove us to the mechanic who worked on our car. Oh yeah, my car broke – again. Fortunately, they fixed it in time and we could continue our journey.

We also got friendly with other owners who even treated us with some delicious fruit infusion, let us play with their cute cat and adorable dog and made us a bonfire. I really loved staying there and if you get a chance you should definitely go and stay in the village of Precisne. It is a little remote from the more popular places, but I really enjoyed staying there.

How did we spend our time?

When we booked our holidays we were expecting some beautiful weather and great hiking conditions. It was a little rainy, and the sky was usually cloudy, but we didn’t let it destroy our holidays. Actually, we loved it even more.

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For a couple of days we were simply hiking and making a BBQ in the evening (we walked through more than 65 km) and we needed some rest, hence we decided to spend one full day on the beach at the Solina Lake, relax and try some kayaking. We also checked several other places, such as Arłamów SPA Center. We loved every single second of this trip and we can’t wait to go for another one already.

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Let me know what do you think of this place? Where did you go for a holidays?

Dorota

 

A trip to Bieszczady Mountains – for the spirits!

Hello world!

Let me take you along on my last year’s trip to Bieszczady Mountains in Poland, just to show off some of the most amazing places in my country and maybe convince you to visit.

It started off with my best friend M. calling me to ask if I want to tag along with her boyfirend, two other friends and her on a trip for a long weekend. It was in August and my boyfriend Floret and I didn’t have any plans except playing PlayStation all day long (ah, the almighty Uncharted 4).

I immediately agreed and after consulting Floret we packed our stuff and I think the same day (or was it the next day after work, can’t remeber…) we went on a trip. The region of Bieszczady is 7 hours away from where I live in Warsaw, and when we got there it was already around 2 am!

The first thing we did was setting up our tents. At the time it was pitch black and we didn’t see any view nor the surrounding and when we woke up we saw how perfectly we chose a place to stay.

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The tent we chose for this trip, or maybe Floret did, was great. It didn’t let through any moisture, it was rather big for two people, and most importantly easy to assemble. We bought it especially for camping trips since a year earlier we had doubtful pleasure of staying in a tent that was so tiny I had to sleep with my back against the “side”, with moisture all over me. Not to mention we slept in it in the middle of a storm, under olive trees on some Godforsaken Island in Croatia – but that might be a topic for another story.

During the first day we took some time to enjoy Solina Lake.

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It was the first time I ever swam in a like. I know… sounds pathetic, I am 27 years old and I ever swam in a like once almost a year ago. Unfortunately, before… I simply couldn’t swim. Floret tought me how two years ago and it was my first chance to ever try in non-pool conditions.

Later on we went for a campsite, which was one of the most amazing places I’ve seen so far. Full of people, young, very laidback – kind of like a comune.

That day Floret and I decided to skip hiking trip (I didn’t have appropriate shoes so we went to a nearby town Sanok to get some). Fortunately for me, Sanok is a city in which my absolute favourite painter was born – Zdzisław Beksiński – and where his museum is located. After his death – which I might describe along with his work in one of the next posts – he gave all of his paintings to the city and the museum. There I had a pleasure to see my absolute favourite painting of his:

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Which ironically makes me realize I can’t take pictures straight!

When we got back to our camping site we arranged a little celebration. It was the first time I ever was in Bieszczady mountains and Floret (who originally comes from a city nearby) ordered us drinks that nearly killed me. It honestly burnt my throat!

It’s called Bieszczadki Pies (Bieszczady’s dog). It is very similar to a drink called “Mad dog shot” which consists solely of vodka, concentrated raspbetty syrup and tabasco sauce drops. Except in this particular case there is no vodka – because that’s barbarric. There is pure 95% alcohol spirits.

Of course the guys (Floret and Ms boyfriend) did not warn us. Vodka looks exactly the same as spirits so I went for it normally, like a good Polish girl should, and… I lost my breath. I caughted, cried, drank a whole bottle of coke and still had a taste in my mouth. And boy how drunk I got! After one shot I already felt tipsy.

The next day, after my “initiation to Bieszczady Mountains” we went for a 26 km, 9 hour long trip around the Mountains. We chose a trail to Bukowe Berdo and as you can see on pictures below, it was stunning!

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At the end of a trip we reached a road where we waited for a bus that took us back to our camping site. We travelled for many hours and were exhausted. When we reach our tents we took a shower and went for dinner. Let me tell you, everything hurt me. And then, by miracle, I ordered hot wine and the pain just immediately disappeared 🙂 Magic 😉

Sidenote: the main photo of this blog is from there as well:

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Thank you for sharing this trip with me. I hope you feel at least a little bit inspired to visit Bieszczady Mountains and Poland.

Have a great Tuesday!

Dorota