Day 225, Zakopane, Tatras Mountains, Poland.

I’m back on the blog again, after passing it over to Howard last night. There is something truly miserable about coming down with a cold / virus in 33 degrees heat. Thankfully, now that we are in the stunning Tatras Mountains, once the sun goes down, the temperature plummets at this altitude. Last night, remarkably, we were the only camper van on our site. There was one solitary pop-up tent in the far corner of the field, but other than that, we had the place to ourselves. After our recent string of over-crowded sites, it was a real treat. The view out of the van is just delightful too – looking across the mountain peaks. The lady who runs the site is also very pleasant, and when we asked her this morning as to whether there was a washing machine on site, she let us use hers. Since it was so hot, we decided to do all the bedding as well – so we now feel very clean indeed!

Whilst waiting for the washing to dry, we took a wander down into the nearby town, a satellite of Zakopane, and enjoyed a coffee, before walking back to the site. This afternoon, we took a trip up into the mountains, using the nearby ski-lift to get us up to the top of the mountain. The scenery was superb, but there was such a heat haze, that the definition of the mountains on camera was poor. At the top, there was a string of attractive wooden built chalets, all with isosceles triangle shaped roofs, often covered in wooden tiles. We couldn’t be sure if they were lived in all year round, or just used for the skiing season. There were plenty of families out walking, and some crazy downhill mountain-bikers, but for us, the heat just got too much. We turned tail, and enjoyed a cool drink, before heading back down on the ski-lift to the village.

En route back, we stopped off for an ice-cream in the shade. When we arrived back at our campsite, three ‘Big Whites’ had appeared, one inevitably, right next to us. It turns out that they are from the UK – really the first Brits we have come across on a campsite since Norway. I’m quite sure they heard Howard bemoaning the fact that they were right next to us, but nevertheless, came over to chat.

Yet again, Howard has become camp buffoon, by inflating the ‘Lazy Bag’ – it really is such an ingenious affair. I wonder why they haven’t used the same sort of design for lilos, and the like? It would certainly save having to pump the air mattresses up – but then again, there would be campsites full of men running around like idiots trying to inflate them. Maybe not!

We are sat trying to decide our plans for the next week or two. The Carpathian Mountains run along the entire border between Poland and Slovakia, and the Tatras Mountains, which form part of this range, extend into Slovakia too. We are feeling pretty weary of large cities in this heat, and so will probably opt to give Bratislava a miss, maybe even Budapest – depending on the weather. It is undoubtedly more pleasant to be in the countryside when it is this hot.

The sun is just going down now, so appropriately, Howard is pouring the gin. I’m not sure how well it mixes with cold relief capsules – but at least I should sleep well tonight!

Tomorrow, all being well, we head for Slovakia.

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