Sunday, October 13, 2013

How approximately 10 minutes in Zakopane turned into 15 hours.

Despite all the recommendations, we didn't intend to spend any time in Zakopane ("Zack-o-pa-nay") - we wanted to head through this touristy area of Poland straight to the quiet town of Zdiar in Slovakia, just across the border.

We also didn't intend for the direct Zakopane-Zdiar bus service to be discontinued (until ski season) three days before we arrived in Zakopane. But it was, and we didn't really find this out until 5pm, and a taxi to Zdiar would've cost us about $30, and other options weren't available until the next morning, so we were stuck there for a night while we figured out Plan B.

there are far worse places to be "stuck"

far worse places

far, far worse places

Food notes - none, other than:
  • there is a small grocery store about 10 minutes west of the bus stop on the main strip
  • and also a Biedronka about 10 minutes southwest of the visitor's information center

Lodging notes:
  • we stayed at Stara Polana Hostel because it was easy to find and the other easy to find place, Target Hostel, was closed until the next day - Stara Polana was definitely a youth hostel, as evidenced by the huge kitchen/dining area and giant soup pots, but since it was off season we got a private double room with a bathroom pretty cheap and we had a lovely view of the mountains from our window

the digital old-school radio was a nice touch

The woman at the Zakopane tourist office was incredibly helpful and told us exactly which buses to take. She forgot to mention that we'd need euros for the Slovakian bus, and we forgot to think about that too. We got off the bus at Lysa Polana as instructed, walked across the Poland/Slovakia border as instructed, found no "bankomat" (ATM) and in fact no town at Lysa Polana...

woohoo, walking across the border!
um... now what?

... and hoped the nice man who spoke English and offered to taxi us to Zdiar wasn't an axe murderer. He wasn't, and after a pricey but appreciated 15 euro ride during which we peppered him with tourist-related questions to ensure we got our money's worth out of that 15 euro, we arrived at the Zdiar bankomat and then our hostel destination.

And immediately extended our stay until Wednesday. Ahhhh... mountains. How we've missed you.


  1. does the bankomat serve beer also?

    1. No!!! (It would've been crappy beer if it did, though.)