They let us into Poland! In fact there wasn’t really a border as such, more a cluster of petrol stations and supermarkets; we love Europe. We stopped off to buy a more useful map and fill up Trevor and then we were on our way. Our first Polish town to visit would be Jelenia Gora which is an old town perched on the edge of a National Park. It is popular for its town hall in the centre of a large square which is surrounded by baroque townhouses. Also in the town are two very large churches and the old town walls. We wandered around for a while and visited the tourist information centre to pick up plenty of leaflets about the county of Lower Silesian.
Jelenia Gora was really only a stopover on the way to our next campsite which was in Karpacz. Unfortunately, when we arrived into the very touristy Karpacz we found the hotel and campsite were up for sale and had to quickly make a plan B. Since we had seen signs to another campsite about 1km down the road we decided to take a look. We found ourselves at Camp66, a beautiful new campsite with mountain views and fantastic facilties. With a choice of parking places we carefully chose our spot and to our surprise we parked right next to some Swiss people who we had seen at Görlitz the night before. The campsite was swarming with children and the local fire brigade having a party but once the party was over and the mysterious animal had stopped trying to get into the van, it was very peaceful. We spent the evening drinking cold beer, having a barbeque and then reading all our leaflets.
With a plan made we set off the next morning to conquer Mount Sneczka (1603m), the highest peak in the Krkonose mountains and also the highest mountain in Czech Republic. We parked in Karpacz and wandered up a valley passing mountain huts on the way. The path was pretty steep in places and the incline only got more severe as we walked on. The route was well sign posted and much more quickly than we thought we met the path from the cable car and the hundreds of people who had cheated their way up the mountain. We still had another 20 minutes of steep walking before we reached the peak. Thankfully, it was worth it and we ate our lunch whilst admiring the views of Poland and the Czech Republic. Also quite luckily there was no snow or the arctic winds which we had read about online. We descended via another path passing a scenic lake, but unfortunately we were diverted by a path closure and had to walk most of the way on badly laid granite cobbles. Our feet are still recovering two days later.
At the start of Karpacz we stopped to visit the famous Wang church. Wang church is an entirely wooden church that was built in Norway and later moved to the town of Karpacz. It contains some ornate Norweigan wood carvings but we think the outside is probably the most impressive. We found it interesting that they have built a stone tower to block the cold winds from the peak of Snezka. On our way back to the camper we walked through the centre of Karpacz and did one of our favourite hobbys; eating. We tasted local goats cheese with cranberries but found it quite rubbery and mild for gosts cheese. With our tired legs we rested in a cafe for mocha and ice cream and watched the buses of German pensioners panic about not getting their ice cream before the bus left.
Back at camp we treated ourselves to a restuarant meal. We ordered polish beetroot and cabbage soup, polish sausage and sauerkraut stew and a schnitzle with potatoes and salad. It was all delicious and beetroot and cabbage heavy. Along with a czech beer each, dinner cost only 52 zloty (12 euros).
After two nights at our lovely campsite we felt it was time to move on and on the way to our next destination we decided to visit Chojnik castle. Chojnik was built as a defensive fortress and slowly converted to a more castle like dwelling which could be held against a seige for up to a year. Not surprisingly it is on top of a small hill at about 623m, something we hadn’t considered with our lead legs from the day before. The climb was through a lovely forest where we stopped to see two jays and two mice, and we picked up a beautiful woodpecker feather. Chojnik is more of a ruin nowadays but it was still interesting to walk through the courtyard and chapel and to climb the tower. The tower has brilliant views of the surrounding country side. The only downside was the dark spiral staricase built for dwarves that we had to use to get back down to the ground.
Later that day we headed in the direction of Waldbrych and wandered around an almost deserted town come building site. It seemed strange for a Saturday afternoon, so we didn’t hang around long. Tired from all the hiking, we drove to our next campsite at Swidnica, but unfortunatley the swimming pool doesnt open until 15th June :-(. Here we met our new dutch neighbour and his lovely dog Bobby. We made up for the lack of swimming by joining the party next door which was part of ‘Swidnica day’ to sample some beer with and without rasberry sirup. Since it was the main day the live music was quite loud but luckily stopped around half ten so we still had a good night sleep.