Week #5: Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains

Work was kind of a blur this past week, because I got back from Gdansk on Tuesday and then took the train to Zakopane on Friday. My supervisors were extremely understanding, as they’ve told me they want me to have the best experience abroad possible by seeing the sights. The train ride was 5 hours; pretty grueling, but with music, books and napping Julia and I made it through.

We stayed in a hostel pretty far from the city center of Zakopane, but near the entrance to some beautiful hiking trails. The views from the hostel were incredible, with many of the nearby Tatra mountain peaks surrounding us. I’d never stayed in a hostel before, but I really enjoyed the community feel! Julia and I didn’t hang out with anyone extensively, but it was nice to talk to other hostel-stayers over breakfast.

The first day we walked around the town, had some traditional mountain cheese and some traditional meat stew plus pierogies. The food was really heavy, but delicious nonetheless. Anyway, after all that food, I was ready to do some walking the next day. We walked to this lake in between two mountains called Morskie Oko (Eye of the Sea), which took around 5 hours there and back. It was gorgeous, though, and we walked around the entire lake so we saw its beauty in all possible angles. The day after that, my feet were a little sore but the sun had finally out so we decided to do a real hike and climb up Wielki Kopienec. The hike up was not easy, but the view made it all worth it, and I rewarded myself with some potato pancakes after.

We ended our trip with a tram ride up to Kasprowy Wierch, one of the tallest mountain peaks among the Tatras in Poland. Sadly, we didn’t have enough time to hike it, plus the weather was awful. So, we tram-ed up, enjoyed what remained of the view through all the fog, and took the train back to Warsaw.

This trip made me remember how much I’ve missed hiking. I used to do it more in camp, and since leaving I forgot how fulfilling it is. The feeling after you’ve completed a challenging hike is so satisfying. When I get back to Michigan in September, I want to do more backpacking trips!

At work, I now have multiple assignments I’m excited about. I’m working on an article comparing American and Polish universities, and conducted interviews with three Polish students to ask about their experiences. My boss approved the tape I chose for the alchemist podcast episode, so I will now start to write the script. A modern-day alchemist responded to my request for an interview, so I’ll also get to plan that in the coming days!

This weekend I’m traveling to Berlin with Maryellen, a UMich student coming to Warsaw to intern. I’m super excited, and will share my travels on next week’s blog post!

Eating mountain cheese
Welcome to our crib
We tried to improve our selfie game
View from Wielki Kopienec
Morksie Oko

3 thoughts on “Week #5: Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains

  • July 17, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    Looks like a great experience.

  • July 17, 2018 at 10:40 pm

    Great hiking, scenery and food! What could be better? Best to Julia!

  • July 18, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    Hi Elizabeth,

    It sounds like you had a wonderful trip full of great food and amazing views! It’s so awesome that your internship is supportive of your desire to explore the area and get to know your way around Poland!

    It’s exciting that your work is progressing too, and that you heard back from the modern day alchemist. Do you think you’ll be able to offer some insights for the podcast about the differences between Polish and American universities? That could be a great way for you to share your perspective with the rest of your coworkers and supervisor. It also seems like that project would be a cool opportunity to build up your cultural competencies by chatting with university student’s from other cultures.

    Wishing you the best of luck in your work and in your trip to Berlin soon! I can’t wait to hear about the Michigan connections you are able to make with Maryellen!

    – Danielle


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