Day 14 - Karkonoscz National Park

Due to my usual sluggish starts we had to march very quickly from Nerrille's to the bus station. For this post and the next, keep in mind I have 17kgs in my backpack and 8kg in the pack on the front. Awaiting us was a mob of people (not an orderly queue) waiting to catch the bus to Kapacz. Nerrille was organized and had previously bought tickets, which made sure that we were on before the people without tickets. We got a seat, but about 20 unfortunate Poles missed out and had to wait for the next one. Some even had to unload their luggage they had put in the luggage area underneath the bus before we could leave.

It was quite a nice trip and it took us through a number of small towns. Not too much different to other European towns but the buildings were nearly always in pretty bad shape (concrete rendering peeling, some half demolished). On the way I ate what we termed 'vomit rolls' due to their appearance. They are actually called Bułka and are a sweetish bread, the only other distinguishable ingredient was rhubarb. Not too bad. Also on the way we saw old US military trucks and radar equipment (10m tall or more) from WWII for sale. We lost count at about 13 gravestone sellers. Flowers are big in Poland too, all cemetaries are filled with flowers always and it's not uncommon to see someone walking around with a bunch. Some girls carry around Sunflowers which are usually a gift from a guy.

Got to Kapacz and walked up the hill to the Wang (pronounced Vang) which is a Norweigan church donated to the Polish and moved piece by piece in the 1500s. Not an easy feat on the side of a mountain.

From there we walked to a chair lift which took us up a further 800m above sea level. I was shitting myself because I hadn't been on a chair lift before. I had to watch my big pack dangle on it's own seat and not strapped in all the way up (about 15 minutes). It got a lot of attention from locals passing on their way down. I also had a moment of 'why the fuck am I sitting on a chairlift in the middle of nowhere in Poland?'

We both made it ok up to Kopa (1300m above) where the view was pretty amazing. Had some special orange juice to celebrate survival (hint: includes vodka).

Walked up more to the first Schronisko (means refuge but is usually a hotel, pub and restaurant in one. Looked from the ridge into the next valley which is in Czech Republic. We left our big packs in the Schronisko and walked up another 300m above sea level (took about 45mins). The paths in the National Park were just rock and not all that easy to walk on, but not dangerous at all.

Had lunch on the top of the mountain called Šnieżka and drank a well deserved beer. Walked down the hard way, which had even better views into Czech Republic. We picked up our packs and began to walk to where we were staying the night. My feet were pretty wasted by this point and really sore so the last 3-4km were pretty hard. Not to mention the heat and hills (up & down) with both packs. Both of us were struggling but a few strategically placed rest points made sure we got there ok, not too tired but very worn out. We made it to the Schronisko named Samotnia about 6:30ish (sun goes down about 10) and had a beer outside on the lake before dinner. I had Grochowe (barley soup) and another beer.

We were both pretty beat so we were in bed by about 10:30. We had walked about 12km and most of it was uphill. Was a good day though with plenty of things to look at.