I decided to take a bus to Zakopane - it's cheaper and quicker than the train believe it or not and they give you little receipts with the mileage on. I nearly didn't make the 107km for less than 2 quid with Bob. With my amazing Polish vocab i wasn't aware that the driver was going to set off as he was late, and that you should have removed your bag 5 minutes before if you hadn't already paid. Phew close call.
I had high expectations for Zakopane I'd be told by more than one Pole (as in the people, just incase it wasn't clear) that it was their favourite place. Well i can say i like the mountains but I'm not too impressed by the town - toooooo many tourists. I check into a hostel and just as i think i will have this super size 5 bed room to myself a fellow Englishman (Matt) gets checked in - "blimey your English", i think for me i had saved 2 weeks of conversation as we talked our way around the mountains, enjoying the equivalent to a piano bar and the rowdy-ness of live music with super-size indoor BBQ food and having the p taken out of us (in a nice way) by waiters.
My first day of trekking was supposed to be a light introductory day of walking but turned into 9 hours, walking through the forest in the dark and nearly missing the last bus. i bet Matt was glad he went with an experienced trekker like me! The walk was more difficult than i expected, with chains and hand rails to help it was still tiring and difficult and dangerous with the damp conditions. (two climbers fell the next day). My shoes had no grip and the mountain mist was condensing onto our hair and clothes and meaning I slipped rather than walked down the mountain. Still there were beautiful lakes, high dramatic cliffs and some not too bad scenery.
I've spent these last two days trekking on my own through different parts of the Tatras. Last night was spent in a mountain hut by a fantastically serene lake called Morskie Oko. It was so still there were there were reflections all over the water and so i took a walk around it in the dusk to capture the sky and the water as they were turning orange. Later i sat by the lake in the pitch black and tried looking for satellites but all i could see was 3 meteors and the milky way. Dinner was interesting though, I met a Pole called Thomas who told me all about Siberia, told me there are too many Neils here and helped me order dinner - i had the very Polish dish of chicken and chips! It was 5 minutes before i realised he meant needles (pine).
Today has been a long walk back to Zakopane, it's been cold and windy but the skies have been clear, so there have been great views of crystal clear lakes and alpine forests and i even saw a brown bear - I've got to get these photos uploaded somehow.
I've enjoyed the Polish Tatras although the paths are too well layed out and up for commercialism. Zakopane is OK, with its wooden houses and mountain surroundings - just too many tourists.