We are enjoying the Warsaw school holidays (ferie zimowy) in the mountain village of Zieleniec, which lies on the border with Czech roughly halfway between Wrocław and Prague (see the red A lollipop on the map below).
The journey from Warsaw was uneventful and took 8 hours including one long and one short stop. Roads were clear and easy until the very last few kilometers up the mountain to the village where it got a little slippy. We had to wind our way around a bigish accident on the road caused by people who thought their BMW’s were better in snow than they actually were. The Passat handles snow pretty well although it is a little low to the ground so when you have larger drifts it can get bogged down if you’re not careful.
Zieleniec had heavy snowfall the day before we arrived and the hotel parking area definitely warranted a “Holy Snowplough, Batman!” exclamation. When I finally found a space I had to get my handy car-shovel out and dig a car shaped hole to park in, igloo style parking. As we are planning a trip to the spa town of Duszniki-Zdrój tomorrow I suppose I’ll have to go through it all again.
I hear a lot of complaints about skiing in the Polish mountains. Most Poles I know are very disparaging about Polish ski resorts and prefer to go to other countries but this place seems fine to me. Perhaps because I don’t ski and none of the family are expert skiers we can’t see what’s missing here, like black James-Bond style runs or fashionable après-ski stuff. It’s a mystery. We have mountains, we have plenty of snow, our own language and currency, good food, comfortable rooms, ski lessons and green runs literally across the street….what’s not to like?
We’ve found quite a gathering of people we know, or half know, also staying at or near the same place. Brother-in-law with nephews just down the road, friends also close by, colleague from work in the same hotel as well as a friend of Zosia’s from her school. Quite amazing really given the remoteness.
The picture below is a view from our balcony. It is a lot whiter than the picture shows, the Blackberry camera wants to turn everything a mid-grey shade. The building in the left in front of the church is a cafe upstairs and a ski-school downstairs. Marta and Zosia have now had two days of lessons and are improving all the time, Marta is a natural, Zosia is not so excited by the whole thing. I just walk around in the -10C plus windchill giving support and providing video and photo services.
The clobber you need to go skiing is pretty mad. Even as a walker I was sporting my rubber leggings and waterproof trousers plus nuclear-bionic vest, polar explorer top, thermo-dynamic anorak, wooly hat, gloves…………
For those interested in costs. The hotel is almost exactly 100 GBP per night for a family room including breakfast. Ski lessons are 1 zloty per minute, about 12 GBP per hour and it’s roughly the same price to hire the equipment (boots and skis). The cost of meals varies but a decent sized pizza costs 4.30 GBP and a meal of meat or fish with spuds and veg is not much more than that. They are making decent money on drinks though.
Anyway, must go now. More later for sure!