Winter Wonderland

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Welcome back in 2015 readers and fellow bloggers. Hope you all had a brilliant winter break and an easy welcome back into reality.

Early in the morning of the 26th of December I headed to the airport to go on my last adventure of 2014- my destination was Poland. I moved to Scotland when I was twelve and have not spent Christmas or New Year’s Eve there since then, but I wanted and needed to do it differently this time. One of the reasons was that Dom and I couldn’t imagine not spending New Years together and so one day I spontaneously checked tickets and decided to book them without telling anyone at first; I wanted it to be a surprise. I will never regret and be forever grateful for my decision because this visit to my home country has been even more special than usual. I guess it’s just that time of the year right? There is something magical in the air which makes you feel a little more romantic and dreamy than the rest of the year when it’s all about work, studying and going about your daily business. From the very first day it was turning out to be a great trip; I was to stay in Gdansk (my hometown) for a few days before heading to Zakopane with my Dad and Dom. Zakopane is a town in the extreme south of Poland. It lies in the southern part of the Podhale region at the foot of the Tatra Mountains and the views it offers are absolutely stunning.

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On the 31st we suddenly changed our mind about leaving a few days later and left that same day at 7pm- this of course meant we would be spending New Years on a train. Dom and I had no special plans planned in Gdansk so decided to give my Dad’s plan a green light and just pack our bags and go. We talked and laughed for a few hours before I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore and fell asleep about an joiDSC_8217hour before the bells. They woke me up (before taking a series of embarrassing photos of me sleeping) to see the date changing and to watch fireworks; we stopped for a short break in Warsaw so we had a chance to enjoy them. I felt extremely lucky to be spending this night with two of the most important men in my life. We popped open the cheap champagne and breathed in the atmosphere. It was a moment I will never forget, it was for sure different and nothing like what I experienced in my previous years on this night and I wouldn’t change it for the world and yes I did go back to sleep shortly after.

1Wild child in the making! Our journey was like a crossing between Harry Potter and the Polar Express so you can imagine how amazing it felt to be there that night. Now when I think about it the whole trip had that vibe to it, it was as if we were transported to a fairy tale world.

When we got to Zakopane the next morning we decided to take it easy as we were all feeling more than a little tired after our twelve hour journey. We had some rest, unpacked and eventually went for a stroll around the town. The town is centered at the junction of Krupówki and Kociuszko Streets and is not particularly impressive and I don’t think I took a single photo of it. I found it to be tacky, there are loads of restaurants, cafes and places to hide from the freezing cold, but the amount of people walking up and down made it too crowded and it was hard to relax. My Dad and Dom don’t particularly enjoy walking with big groups of people so we sought peace and quiet. Our views made up for all this, because whenever we looked up beyond the main street we could see snowy mountains tops.

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14Zakopane is visited by over 250,000 tourists a year and is a lot more accessible now than it used to be. There are trains and buses that can get you there from almost any part of Poland. During the winter tourists are drawn to Zakopane for its excellent conditions for winter sports: alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and ski jumping. It is especially popular at that time of the year which is still celebrated in a traditional style, with dances, decorated horse-pulled sleighs called kuligs and roast lamb. However in summer, tourists come to enjoy hiking, climbing, and spelunking. Many people come to experience góral culture, which is rich in its unique styles of food, speech, architecture, music, and costume.

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joiiDSC_8304This trip meant so much to me mostly because I finally had a chance to spend some proper quality time with my Dad and Dom. Since I started travelling alone and with someone I realised how much you can learn about yourself and others when you’re away in a fairly unknown place. It was important to me to see how Dom and I would work in this type of environment and it was great. I can’t wait for us to travel more together.

9My Dad is a guy who likes extreme sports, walking and getting tired-I am not that kind of girl. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy sports but not to extremes. I warned him a million times before we left about not putting me under too much pressure and I can honestly say he didn’t.

joiiDSC_8309Our trips to the mountains were planned usually so that we would get tired and climb up quite high, but it wasn’t too bad, we could really enjoy what was surrounding ujoiDSC_8513s without rushing anywhere and take breaks whenever we felt like it. It still involved a lot of moaning on my behalf, but I guess that was just written in the cards. Dom and my Dad headed out one day alone so they could experience a little more without me there and I enjoyed staying in our hotel. On this trip we have seen so much and had a chance to disappear and cut ourselves away from our everydayness. It was a beautiful time which will stay with me forever. For seven days I had no internet and wasn’t checking my phone every two minutes, my mind and soul felt clear and at peace, I wasn’t thinking and dreaming of all the places I wasn’t seeing but just enjoying the moment I had at hand. It doesn’t happen often with me; when I get somewhere I usually start planning another trip pretty quickly without giving myself fully to the experience; something to work on in 2015. I won’t write too much about our trip itself because I want it to stay between Dom, my Dad and myself. We came up with so many inside jokes and stories that it feels too precious to give away. However I will add quite a lot of photographs so I hope you enjoy!

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2015 is looking good already and I am very much looking forward to all of my planned and unplanned adventures that I will be sharing with you! What are your plans guys? Any exciting destination you are planning to visit? Please feel free to get in touch with me. I am always available and up for answering any of your questions. My posts are sometimes not as informative as I would like due to the lack of time but I’m always happy to help best I can!

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Joanna x

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