Thursday, August 14, 2008

Some rest day (the times and distances above are the riding portion)

Day: 322
Zakopane to Kunize
Time: 1.18.55
Distance: 15.55 km
Avg Speed: 11.8 kph
Terrain: Hills the whole time

We decided to spend an early rest day in Zakopane so we could take the tram to the top of the mountain and straddle the border of Poland and Slovakia. We got up early for a rest day and got ourselves together to go for a little ride to the gondola. The little ride turned out to be a little more than we had bargained for. By the time we got up to the tram we found ourselves in a line of people 150 meters long and 5 people wide. With the car able to carry around 200 people an hour we figured we were in for a wait. Frustrated, we decided to hike to the top rather than wait for the car. We soon found ourselves on a well worn track with just as many people who were in line for the tram. After dodging and diving around people for 15 minutes or so we were able to get in a stride and head to the top. The hike turned out to be not as easy I had thought, but we covered 5 kilometers with 950 meters of elevation in just under two hours. Once on top, at the summit of Kasprowy Wierch, we snapped a few photos of the truly awesome Tatras Mountains and went down to the gondola building for a ride down. No sense in pushing ourselves too far. We timed our departure perfectly and caught a half full car down just as we stepped into the building. We made it back to the bottom of the hill in 2.5 hours and figured if we had stayed in line we would still be standing there. After a little lunch in the village we had to run some errands, hit the internet and go food shopping.
The language barrier has been the hardest thing to overcome for us here. The only thing that is going for us is the letters and numbers are just like our language so we can at least read. Other than that there really is little verbal communication going on. Lots of pointing, gesturing and furiously looking up words in our phrase book. We are starting to get the hang of Polish, but tomorrow we enter Slovakia, so we will start all over again.
I may sound like I am griping, but I really do have a good time being a local at the grocery store, or post office or restaurant, only to have my cover blown by giving them a blank stare when I am spoken to.


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