Exploring Ojcow National Park

Trip Start Sep 04, 2010
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Trip End Sep 24, 2010


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Flag of Poland  , Southern Poland,
Saturday, October 2, 2010



After a very lazy morning, we made up for it by going to the National Park at Ojcow and climbing mountains. We followed the GPS as normal and when it said we were there we got out, found a walking track and started hiking. It was supposed to be very pretty. We walked all the way to the end of the track – all the way down the mountain. Yes, the forest was pretty but there was no one else there and didn't seem to be particularly spectacular in any way. Except, we did hear and finally see a woodpecker. Tried to take a photo but it took even some imagination from us to identify a tiny shadow in the top of a tree as being a bird! Of course, after walking down to the bottom of the mountain we then had to walk back up again to the car. It was hard work! Then we drive down the road, turn the corner and realise we were in the wrong place after all!

There were people everywhere walking along the road which ran along a gorge. The mountains on either side had some amazing rock formations. There was a little fast flowing brook, beautiful green trees and some quaint little houses. Along the road we stopped to buy some fresh raspberries. We know they were fresh because we could see the lady pick them in her field and then bring them to the edge of the road to sell. She was selling them as fast as she was picking them! They were absolutely delicious – must have been because John had quite a few and I’ve never known him to eat even one before this!

Eventually we found another walking path. This one went up lots of steep stairs to the top of the mountain. There was a little bridge which went across a gully connecting two mountain peaks and a cave at the back with cavemen figures in it. A guide on the bridge gave a very detailed description of the area. Well, we assumed so as it was all in Polish and we couldn’t understand a word. We just enjoyed the view. As we were leaving, he took his group to the low entrance of a cave and asked, through one of the people in the group, if we would like to come with them to see the cave. Naturally we agreed and, to our surprise, were issued with candles. We then went inside the most amazing cave system, all by candlelight. From such a small hole it opened out into a large cavern which we followed back into the depths. It dripped water and was somewhat muddy (evidenced by the slipperiness underfoot and the state of our clothes at the end!) and there were bats. The guide has a torch which he only used to spotlight occasional highlights, otherwise it was very dark and a bit spooky, especially as my candle didn’t quite last until I got back to the entrance! We were in there for quite a while and the guide was very informative telling us lots about the cave and its history. Again, it was a bit of a shame that the whole lot was in Polish and we didn’t understand even one word of it! We has to look around and use imagination!!

Afterwards we continued up the mountain further and then walked along the ridge. After awhile we started to worry about how far we should go as we didn’t know how long it would take us to find a path going down the mountain again at the other end. We certainly had nothing to help us find a path in the dark or enough warm weather gear to be out on the mountain at night in these temperatures. Eventually we met someone going the other way. After lots of gestures and back and forth they told us one hour. Only trouble is we really had no idea what the 1 hour meant. Anyway we kept going and were really glad to finally get down off the mountain. We were then a long way from our car so had a long walk back along the road. It was getting dark by the time we got there!

So, we spent most of the afternoon climbing up and down two mountains today. Surely that means we can have ice-cream for dessert tonight with a clear conscience!! (By the way – yes John did manage to get his ration of chips today! There’s always somewhere that sells chips!! This time it was a little outdoor stall in a picnic area in the gorge.)
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