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Natural Born Vagabond™ is a bilingual (English and Polish) site devoted to travel photography and journalism. Here you can find images and articles from our remote travels. The ambition of the creators is to share the best stories with those who crave wilderness and adventure. If you would like to share your opinions or travel stories please contact us via e-mail.

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Tatra Mountains in watercolours.

Kasprowy-Tatry-Zachodnie-001 

Lesser Poland is a southern region of Poland rich in history and culture. My favorite part of this area are the Tatra Mountains, which are the highest of the Carpathian Mountain range. A romanticized vision of the Podhalan region, near the Tatra Mountains and its inhabitants, is a significant part of the Polish national ethos. The beloved mountains are featured in art, poetry, theater and countless folklore tales.

One of my childhood dreams, influenced by the modernist painters of the “Young Poland”, was to hike the Orla Perc (“Eagle’s Path”), an alpine trekking route in Poland that rises above 2,000 meters. The beauty of the Tatra Mountains have also been featured in the works of Leon Wyczółkowski and Stanistław Ignacy Witkiewicz (“Witkacy”). Thus was born in me since my youth a desire to live among the clouds. So when the opportunity came to do a week-long  trek in the Tatra Mountains I pounced on the chance. The Tatra Mountains did not disappoint! The trip was absolutely magical and lived up to the images of the artists that I so admired.

Tatry-Kasprowy-Wierch

Cascades of clouds
trundle billow over the mountain slope
autumn sun
slowly coming to a dawn
to finally disappear
in a blink of an eye
behind a sharp mountain range
and leave you in a shivering cold…
Keep moving
deep down
on the narrow path
via stream
next to the bear’s den
deep in the darkness
need to pass it before reaching the single light
of the mountain hut.
Halny.

Rysy-Tatry-Morskie-Oko

Fast facts:


Famous high-altitude climbers (Wanda RutkiewiczJerzy Kukuczka) trained in Tatra mountains before heading for Himalayan summits.

Zakopane – commonly known as a winter capital of Poland, currently overrun by tourists of all sorts, used to be a bohemian hangout of Polish intelligentsia.

Head to the Tatra Museum to learn more about unique wooden architecture of the Podhale region.

The national park that covers the mountainous area is called Tatrzański Park Narodowy.

TOPR (Tatra Volunteer Search and Rescue) is a volunteer mountain rescue service. Make sure to check current weather and avalanche conditions before heading for a mountain trek.

Witkacy is an avantgarde theater based in Zakopane, named after Witkacy (Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz) artist, poet, philosopher and art critic, who was a significant figure of the modernist Young Poland period.

“Namysłowski z Góralami”  is one of the finest pieces of the collaboration between Podhalan musicians and a contemporary jazz band – Jazz Jamboree 1994

Janosik – legendary mountain figure was featured in a popular TV series: “Janosik” – a Polish version of the Robin Hood ethos,

Oscypek is a traditional, smoked sheep milk cheese moulded in characteristic spindle shape.

Kierpce – embossed leather shoes are a great souvenir from this region.

Accommodation in the mountains:
– Schronisko Morskie Oko 
– Pięć Stawów (EN)
– Murowaniec 

Kasprowy-Tatry-Zachodnie

Originals of all featured watercolours from the Tatra Mountains series are currently with a fellow mountain aficionado. Art prints are available for purchase via our ART SHOP.

Tatra-Mountains

© Natural Born Vagabond, 2016
Check also our short guide: Poland for beginners — 51 things to see and do

 

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