In May 2015, I had a long weekend getaway to Poland. May is the best month in France, probably in the whole Europe too? Because when I was in France, almost every weekend in May was long weekend: The first of May, World War II Victory Day, and Ascension Day. That’s three weekends! Three!
I remember correctly that I did spend every single long weekend to explore, but not in particular order. One weekend I explored and camped at the Island of Ouessant (or some may call Ushant), the others were spent in Italy and Poland. I honestly had no idea what I wanted to see in Poland. All I know was that Krakow is quite a nice place and, of course, Poland has Auschwitz.
While I was browsing about what I wanted to do there, I realized that, I actually have a friend who spent a month of voluntary project in Poland! I contacted her, told her that I have bought a return ticket to Krakow, and in no time she replied “Morskie Oko!”
Morskie Oko, translated as the “Eye of the Ocean” is apparently one of the deepest lakes in the Tatra Mountains. The easiest way to reach it is by taking a bus to a town called Zakopane. I used Polskibus, they are really cheap but the tickets must be bought online, and the prices may vary depending on your departure time. This makes perfect sense because there were a lot of people in the bus. I didn’t think it would be that crowded.
I didn’t find a cheap place to stay in Zakopane so I only did a day trip from Krakow. Yes, it is possible! Just make sure you take the earliest bus possible, I think I went with the one leaving at 05:00 AM or so. Once you get to the bus station in Zakopane, just ask around and tell people that you are willing to see Morskie Oko. It was quite confusing at first, but once you’re in the right track, you’ll find minibuses with “Morskie Oko” writing in their front windows. Just stop them and if they have a space, you’ll get a ride with no more than 10 zloty.
The minibus will take you to the base of Tatra National Park where you need to pay for the 5 zloty entrance fee. If you were a student, it’s cheaper. I think I only payed 3 zloty or something. Then from the start, you can choose your transportation mode to the lake: a 30-minute ride by horse carriage or an approximately 2-hour walk by foot!
As I had quite some time, of course I chose by foot… and money-wise, it’s better, lol. It was quite a strange hike because almost in the entire 2 hours I was walking on asphalt. There were some walking routes cutting through the forests, but not that much. But because of this “easiness,” you will totally find little kids and even grandparents walking happily to the lake!
Once I arrived, I realized that it was pretty early. Not many people were there. The lake made me stunned. It was so beautiful. And peaceful. Oh, you’ll see the picture by the end of this post, believe me lol.
As the weather was nice, I decided to continue my way to another hour hike to the next lake called the “Czarny Staw pod Rysami” or sometimes it is shortened as “Czarny Staw.” According to the travel blogs I have read before this journey, you will have the best view of Morskie Oko from this point. And of course, if you’re in for a real hike, you should check this other lake out.
May in Morskie Oko was amazing. It’s a mix between spring, summer, and even winter! I firstly did the hike with my sweater on because it was quite chilly, but in the middle of the Morskie Oko-Czarny Staw hike, I took it of. Not only that it was getting hotter, the route was quite challenging!
You will first need to go around the lake, choosing the left or the right path (me I chose the right one). This is quite easy. You will mostly find rocks on the way and the inclination is quite low. Small waterfalls can be found on the way, but mind your step as you will still find slippery snow everywhere!
After going around the lake, you will find a steeper path with more blocky rocks. This is where the real adventure started.
The hike was real! As I am more used to walking on soil, rocks are pretty challenging. I sometimes even needed to put my camera inside my backpack as I needed both hands to scramble. I wanted the route to finish soon, but every time I took a breath and sit down, I saw this..
I didn’t want it to end! The overall view was spectacular! And I was totally blessed by the weather. I can’t tell people enough how much I love blue sky.
Just before I reached Czarny Staw, I saw a cross. It was somehow majestic as the sun was shining from behind the cross. After some other 20-30 steps, I reached it..
Czarny staw is quite different from Morskie Oko. When I was there, the lake was frozen. While Morskie Oko gave me a calming sensation, Czarny Staw is more mystical. This side I am showing you is the ‘green’ side, but on the other side or I might call it the ‘grey’ side, it was like winter.
I took a rest and had my lunch in Czarny Staw. Looking to Morskie Oko. So this is how they ‘sell’ Morskie Oko to public. By taking a picture of it from this very point, lol.
After I finished my lunch and quite satisfied spending around 45 minutes (or even an hour?) there, I walked down to Morskie Oko to the other side of the lake. I thought it would be easier than climbing up but… it wasn’t. I sometimes needed to slide down sitting on the snow (believe me it burnsss!!) as it was to slippery to be walked on! As I arrived, people were coming..
I stared at the lake once again, smiled, and thank God for this amazing opportunity. I still owe big time to my friend, Viona, for giving me such beautiful destination!