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I love mountains for the peace and pure sense of freedom you can feel there. Mountains can make you feel alive, or kill you if you are reckless. They fully express the power of nature and teach us to be more humble.
I don’t treat mountains as a goal I need to achieve. I don’t treat them either as a huge open air gym where I could exercise my muscles and get more fit. I’m not one of those who see ‘fun’ in reaching the top as fast as they can, to later take a smiling selfie there, and go down chatting with my friends. No, it’s not what I like.
I choose to hike alone in a complete silence, because I consider mountains as the best place to meditate. My time in the mountains like something really precious and intimate. Getting to the top through the forests and hills feels like entering a sanctuary.
After a few hours of walking, there is nothing better than lay down somewhere on top, on a field, and then just enjoy the relief in your exhausted body and watch the world from a higher perspective than usual; inhale fresh air, and listen to the silence. Almost a complete silence – it’s so rare nowadays! Almost complete, because there is always some wind playing around with its peaceful, calming melody.
Below are some pictures from my walks in Bieszczady mountains this summer. What can be better than focus on enjoying this all with your fully focused mind?
What to visit in Bieszczady mountains?
Bieszczady mountains are my latest travel destination and the place I want to come back as soon as possible. In most of parts pristine, green place. Easy to access (the trails takes only around 3-4 hours) , with spectacular views and low prices attract more and more people.
This time I visited Mała and Wielka Rawka (1,304 m), walked the stunning way to Wetlina village and hiked two times Połonina Caryńska (1,297 metres) – first in the sun, and the next day in a complete fog. I recommend all the places. From the local people I’ve heard that Tarnica mountain (1,346 metres, the highest one, with a steep rocky access), has the most spectacular view.
I came back from Bieszczady with my head full of ideas what I could do there within 2 weeks, next year when I come back there! Next time, except for mountain treks, I would love to visit the San Valley with the villages where the time seems to stopped many years ago, where the people cultivate typical ways of agriculture, dressing up in an old-fashion way and maintain tradition way of living.
How to get to Bieszczady?
For transport in the area, you can check multiply connections browser, polish railway and the local bus service. There are numerous buses from the major cities in Southern Poland, including Kraków, the most beautiful one.
The main ‘tourist hub’ in Bieszczady is a village called Ustrzyki Górne. Currently people complain about the ‘rapid development’ of the area, which in fact means 3 restaurants, 2 shops and one bus stop combined in the whole place! Doesn’t seem charming? I wish it such underdevelopment of the tourist infrastructure was a standard in other places.
I started my trip from Przemyśl – a nice multicultural city with the strong Ukrainian influences. If you have a lof of time you can combine your trip to Bieszczady with visiting Lviv, Ukraina – one of the nicest and safest Ukrainian cities, relatively easy accessible from the described area. There are many local buses to Medyka – the Polish-Ukrainian boarder from where you can easy get to Lviv. I planned doing trip to Lviv for one day, but Bieszczady made such a great impression on me, that I stayed there as long as I could.
Where to stay?
In my opinion when you go to nature, you should also sleep as close to the nature as possible. It’s the whole point to be able to enjoy the starry nights and to experience some full silence, which is so hard to get nowadays.
I recommend camping or staying in “Schroniska PTTK” (mountain shelters). Check the list of PTTK shelters in Bieszczady and in high season (July/August) reserve your spot in advance. It is possible to have a bed in shared room, sleep on the floor or to camp. One night stay costs around 5 euro (20 polish zloty).
Most of the PTTK shelters are located on the trekking ways, which enable you to enjoy sunrise and sunset while actually being in the mountains, not somewhere in a town. They are run by young mountain enthusiasts and gather nice type of travelers. As soon as you enter one of the shelters people around make you feel really cosy.
I stayed in the shelter on the way to Rawka Mała mountain. If you have a chance to stay in this great place I recommend trying their blueberry (pl. jagody) pancakes, with fruits picked in the nearby forest – simply amazing!
If you like calmness, green places, and the weather forecast is favorable, you can easily plan on staying there a whole week. I have only spent there three days at that time but it was enough to completely felt in love with Bieszczady…
Photos were taken on Mała and Wielka Rawka, on the way to Wetlina and on Połonina Caryńska.
Author: Marzena Bielecka, camera: HTC One mobile phone.