Zakopane, 27th July 2018.
My friend Karolina has given me a lot of ideas for things to do in and around Zakopane. It’s crystal clear that visiting a city as a tourist is not the same as doing it with someone who knows the area well. For example, some of the typical activities here are traditional Polish rafting or a day trip to Niedzica Castle. We wanted to do one of them today but the weather was not very good, it is far away (one hour by car) and besides it was late, so we have left it for another day.
However, we took advantage of the day to walk around Zakopane city centre and have lunch in a restaurant where they serve typical Polish dishes. When we took the motorbike to go it started raining but luckily we arrived at our destination just in time.
U Słonia: the Polish food restaurant
U Słonia is a small Polish food restaurant, typical of the town of Zakopane. Unlike the other places on Krupówki Street, this is a local establishment. You could tell because all the customers were Polish and there were no foreigners (apart from me), so you can imagine the atmosphere! It was a total immersion in Polish culture although I obviously didn’t understand anything they were saying.
I let myself be guided by Karolina’s knowledge and recommendations to choose the menu. We ordered four typical dishes… of which I don’t remember the names. I remember the pierogi, which is a stuffed pasta that is usually accompanied by some kind of sauce. The other dishes were like soups or broths of different ingredients: meat, vegetables, with spices, etc. Everything was super tasty and the quality/price ratio was excellent. We got the four dishes for two people for only 29 PLN (6,75€). 5/5 rate for U Słonia!
Regionalne Alkohole: a drunkard’s paradise
After lunch we went to Regionalne Alkohole, a store that, as its name suggests, sells all kinds of regional alcohol. We bought beers of various flavors and a typical Polish honey wine (which is like mead, if not the same). The amount and variety of alcoholic drinks they had in the store was quite impressive. And, moreover, at cheaper prices than we usually find in Spain.
Back at the hostel we started the tasting. I must admit that I loved the honey wine. It is very good and has a sweet touch that makes it different from the rest. There are three types of this wine: normal, sweet and very sweet. We chose the sweet one (which is the dry one) and it was an excellent choice. Then, we continued with the beers, and so on until the night came.
Apart from that, we didn’t do much more besides chatting and catching up, because we hadn’t seen each other for a long time.
The lunar eclipse
At night, around 10pm, my colleagues Karl and Leah made a bonfire in the garden of our apartment to watch the lunar eclipse of July 2018. It was great because you could see the moon in a red-orange color and how it was passing through the shadow of the Earth. No wonder they nicknamed it the “Blood Moon”. The sky was super clear and we could see the moon and stars perfectly. A few minutes later, the clouds began to appear, as the tradition dictates at Zakopane. The day that it doesn’t rain or is not cloudy, is a day of celebration!
In any case, I’ve been looking forward to this lunar eclipse because it’s been the longest in the 21st century. Also, with the light and heat of the bonfire the atmosphere was very special.