10 sty 2011

Bieszczady – my first trip this year

For a few days I went to the end of Poland – the part of the Carpathians near the border with Slovakia and Ukraine. Bieszczady is a picturesque land with beautiful views and still wild nature. Only in the forests of Baligród where I stayed there are 30 bears, 90 wolves and 118 bisons (żubr – check the picture on Żubrówka;). They are fully protected and live freely. So good I haven’t met any representative;)

In the winter the landscapes are more severe and it’s more difficult to reach the mountains but you can also ski. Don’t expect the Western style infrastructure but the slopes and chairlifts are ok.

Bieszczady are also considered as a magic land. The population was always mixed – different nationalities and groups lived there for many centuries, had their own religions and beliefs. After the WW II the new Polish part of Bieszczady has been transformed artificially in only Polish.

If you would like to come to Bieszczady, the easiest way is to fly to Rzeszów and rent a car. I wouldn’t count on the buses if you want to venture deeper. You can also concentrate on the cities: Sanok, Krosno and Przemyśl and travel by trains. A few years ago I spent a night in a slow train from Warsaw to Sanok.

Now I’d spent two days skiing and the snow suddenly melted. So we decided to climb Połonina Wetlińska. Check the map here. I had no chance to see the great view because the fog was very dense. But climbing wasn’t meaningless! The schronisko* on the top is for sure the worst in Poland! It was colder inside than outside. The information I found there was amazing:) You have a translation below.

The only thing you can eat there is bigos domowy (home made) – quite expensive in this fancy bar – 15 PLN! You can also sleep there for as much as 18 PLN. But with your own sleeping bag (śpiwór) in the collective room. Opłata klimatyczna (“climate fee” = resort tax) is always obligatory. If you have your own mug and for example tea – 0,5 litre of boiling water (wrzątek) costs only 1 PLN. Wonderful.

“We serve cool drinks from the cellar, approx. 4 degrees Celsius. Schronisko* has no water and electricity. Don’t ask for a refrigerator”. Very nice, don’t you think? To make it more absurd, this place is called “Chatka Puchatka” which is “Winnie the Pooh’s hut”. Believe me – in Poland other schroniska have better conditions. So I drank a tea with honey and lemon, checked the toilet where the snow didn’t melt (see below) and went down.

If you want to drink or eat in a unique atmosphere I also recommend Siekierezada** in Cisna. From outside this place looks very unwelcoming but don’t be afraid. You will find there gloomy local art – many many images of the devil and literature about the life in the village and different paranormal phenomena. In the dark and pagan interior you can eat traditional pierogi or kwaśnica (sour cabbage soup). Even the barman matches perfectly this place.

For more fine art I recommend to visit the Historical Museum in Sanok with the beautiful Orthodox icons, Catholic sacral art and the paintings of Zdzisław Beksiński – a modern painter who was tragically murdered a few years ago. He had come from Sanok and donated his precious works to the museum. I really admire his works and recommend also his website.

This post is getting long but I must write also about Solina – the artificial lake and a dam created in 1968. You can swim, sail or relax in a spa. In the summer looks of course better than in the winter.

It’s not possible to describe Bieszczady in a few words, to be continued in the future...

* translated as a hostel or shelter – is something between, for tourists in the mountains
** the name refers to the title of the novel by Edward Stachura (1971). Siekiera is in Polish an axe, it's a mix with Scheherazade

5 komentarzy:

  1. Great blog - some good info on Poland. Bieszczady is really beautiful...also in Spring: http://www.pbase.com/yellerbelly/bieszczady


  2. Thank you! Very nice photos and a warm blog!

  3. Try Beskid Niski - it's like Bieszczady but with 1/10 the turists, and without this commercialization. You can walk for a day without meeting anybody on the way.

  4. I will! I was on summer holidays in Iwonicz-Zdrój and I would like to see more.

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