Zakopane has the most amazing handcrafted wooden good for sale, and the prices are amazing. From kitchenware (breadboards, spoons, salad servers etc) to the most intricately carved wooden toys you can imagine. The toys look like the old wooden toys you would expect your grandfather to have played with.
We bought ourself a chopping board (my sister got one as well for her birthday), and lots of spoons; yeah I know, spoons, but they are great spoons.
Much as I was temped to, we didn’t buy any of the wooden toys. Partly because we don’t have any children (ok I admit that was hardly an issue), but because they were far too big to bring all the way back to Cape Town. The toys that is – I wasn’t going to bring back any children.
The big toys for does bring up another aspect of Zakopane. There are many tourists and holiday-makers that visit the town, but they are mostly Polish visitors. There are very few tourists from other countries. A refreshing change (and yeah I am completely aware that by visiting Zakopane I am changing that).
This is the high street in Zakopane – Krupówki Street – this is where all the restaurants, cafes, bars, shops and most important…cheese shops are in Zakopane. These covered wagons are where you buy the famous (and delicious) smoked cheese from Zakopane. And you if you walk in any direction for just 20m, you will find another cheese stall. I have no idea how much cheese I ate while we where there, but it is amazing, and nothing quite like any other cheese you will ever eat.
We also brought some of the cheese home with us, but when we opened our bags everything smelt like smoked cheese – a lovely smell on cheese…but not that great on your clothes!
This ski lift operates throughout the year, so even when it is not snowing you can use it to ride to the top or the bottom of one of the many ski slopes in Zakopane, Poland. Of course if you are feeling active you are welcome to walk up or down on the grass, but it is a very long way down, and since I had already down a crazy run in the mountains, I decided that the ski lift would be a far more civilized route to take.
When walking through the forest I saw these mushrooms growing happily on an old and decaying tree trunk. I know that you can gather mushrooms in the forest (my inlaws in Poland and their neighbours do it all the time), but my knowledge is dangerous. Actually my knowledge is not even dangerous. It is nonexistent. I know nothing about what mushrooms are safe to eat, so I though it best to just look, take a photograph and leave my breakfast until I got back to the house.
The memory of the Warsaw Ghetto is very much alive in Warsaw, and it is something we should remember. Hopefully to prevent a repeat of it in the future. While there is only 1 small piece of the ghetto wall still standing, there are plenty of reminders of the ghetto. In particular you keep coming across these brass plaques commemorating where the walls used to stand. A sad reminder of our history, and hoping it will not happen again.