The Souvenirs of Tatra Tour - discovery of Polish & Slovak Mountains*
*French Version Below (Lire l'article en francais en bas)
Dear readers & cycling friends, Let me tell you the story from "good ol'times" - we will travel back in time a bit !
We're September 2019, well before the appearance of COVID. I was freshly back home in Warsaw, after a long period of my internship I did in the South, I still had a lot of sun energy in my veins, but I already was starting to miss my French Riviera cycling "troop". Without any further hesitation I invited them over to our South - Tatras !
Why am I telling you all this NOW you might wonder ?
Well, the reason behind is simple - I want you to join me there this year too! August and early September are really "perfect timing" to visit Poland on two-wheels.
We spent almost a week together in Krakow and in the mountainous region of Podhale, to be more precise - in the small village of Trybsz, full of cycling, tasting Polish cuisine specialities, eye-to-eye meetings with the nature, moments of joy, good humor and, of course, sweat !
Let's start off with a short presentation of our accomodation - little guesthouse, run by Polish couple Jadwiga and Maciej. They've been working in hospitality industry for many years before they've decided to have something of their own. Their house, built in the traditional mountain style is located in the heart of the Tatra region, in the village of Trybsz - true paradise for road and mountain cycling, trekking or climbing. For years, they have been welcoming active travel enthusiasts from all over the world. The recent addition of a small traditional wooden sauna, offers a touch of well-being to all the athletes (and not only) wishing to relax after a long day of effort.
Speaking about food - Jadwiga's cooking actually deserves a separate article. She does such a fantastic job, had a hard time starting our days after breakfast, which was very generous and delicious, served as an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Special thanks to my dear cycling friend and photographer, Ivan Blanco Vilar, for these magnificent photos, that immortalized so beautifully all the memories of our cycling escapade.
Day 1 - Arrival to Krakow
Due to pretty late arrival of my cycling pals we moved the Krakow sightseeing to the last day (possibility to add one extra night in Krakow after the tour - send me a direct inquiry)
Day 2 - Local Warm Up Loop
As we arrived not that late, after quick coffee and a cake, we quickly changed and off went for the very first warm up discovery loop of the surroundings - namely Lake Czorsztynskie & its' famous, postcard- like castle. The red bitume (almost like red carpet) cycling path from the pictures is a part of European Eurovelo Cycling Network. The road is almost brand new and feels very comfortable - I find cycling infrastructure is always a good investment when it comes to European fonds distribution ;).
Day 3 - Pieniny Natural Park
This day we planned a very nice loop of 120 km with 1,680 m of elevation and a passage through the Polish-Slovak border. Podhale region has this unquestionable advantage of being close to the border, which makes it possible to visit another country - in this case Slovakia.
We passed through the National Park of Pieniny and the very charming town of Szczawnica known as spa resort, where the raft descent through the Dunajec river gorges ends.
After all day in the saddle, we couldn't miss a traditional restaurant serving pierogis and cold beer without stopping there for a gourmet break.
Day 4 - a taste of The Tatra Tour Road Race
At the third day, the fatigue started to slowly introduce itself, but this is exactly when you shouldn't let go! Despite the slightly cloudy weather, we managed to make a nice loop with around 1,700 m of elevation. I think the clouds even added some charm to it!
Just before the main climb we discovered the Pumptrack of Spišská Belá, where we could relax a little while having fun on site with the locals. It was really day in the saddle as we like it, with a lot of pleasure taken, but with good work too. We took time to walk around and we got back to the lodge quite late.
You can surely imagine the appetite we all had at dinner ;-)
Day 5 - a taste of Tour de Pologne
Authentic & local experience is what we are all about - this is how we can sum up our half-day ride on the roads of the Tour of Poland. Even though it was only the short version, it was all packed up in elevation. We even had a chance to get a sneak peak of traditional highlander wedding as we've crossed a married couple in one of the villages crossed and saw horse-drawn carriages, all in their finest decorations. We ended our walk with the famous climb of the Col de Gliczarów, with a slope of 16%, included in each edition of the Tour of Poland.
On the last evening, we were able to make up for the calories lost during our short, but very intense week of cycling in a typical mountain restaurant in Zakopane, the capital of the Tatra region.
Day 6 - Bye bye Podhale, hello Krakow !
On the last day, shortly before leaving to the Krakow airport, we visited an authentic shepherd's hut to buy the last souvenirs - smoked sheep cheese called "oscypek" and some sheep skins. After a last quick lunch, my dear friends left for the French Riviera and I, in my deepest sadness, returned to Warsaw.
*To read the full article in French and book the tour directly - CLICK HERE
(La version francaise et l'offre complete avec des dates et des prix accessible sous ce-lien)
Got more questions ? Drop me an e-mail !