Zab is usually never on people’s travel maps but thanks to a random google search, I found the magical property named Ośrodek Usług Hotelarskich Redyk in this small village some 12 kms away from quite a popular tourist town named Zakopane and the 2 days we spent here were the most picturesque & memorable days of our 16-days trip!
Zab is 105 kms from Krakow located amidst the Tatra Mountain range in South Poland and very close to the Slovakian Border. You very well know my love & affection for the mountains so I booked a rental car for this journey from Krakow to enjoy this short drive.
Amongst all the properties I had booked for this trip I visited the Redyk website most number of times ogling at their property which is simply drop dead gorgeous. Usually we see such gorgeous photographs of hotels on their websites but the real image is completely different but Redyk is one of those special ones where the real life image matches the virtual one 100%! The booking process was very smooth too and I booked a Standard Room for 2 nights at 62 Euros including Breakfast. You can check it out at www.redyk.pl/en/home
Tuesday 14th July 2015 ||| Krakow to Zab
This was the day when we were finally going to visit Zab after all the waiting & ogling for the last few months. I reached the Joka Car Rental office at sharp 10 AM to pick up the car; it was some 20 minutes walking from our Krakow Hotel so was quite convenient. After finishing all the paperwork formalities I got an almost brand new Skoda Rapid Sedan which had been driven for just 500 kms before I got hold of it! I had got an International Driving License from here in Kuwait 2 months back which was the smoothest process I have experienced here in Kuwait till date; it took me just 5 minutes to get the IDL!
I reached our Hotel after some tense initial moments on the road thanks to my lack of experience of driving on a road with cars & trams on the same track! I almost had a mishap but thankfully no major damage was done. I parked the car, rushed to our room, picked up our (heavy) luggage, dumped everything in the boot and started our short drive to Zab! I was really tense on the city roads with all that traffic and the new car in my hands but once we hit the highway my nerves got over!
We were soon driving amidst lush green plains and soon hit the mountains when it started raining! It was a drive straight from a movie scene! We took no breaks and reached Zab within 90 minutes. Abhay as always was having a ball even when tied to his Car Seat.
I parked the car and then went to into a dream zone which lasted for the next 2 days! The property was so damn gorgeous with such a breathtaking view. Definitely one of the most picturesque Hotels I have ever stayed in!
We checked into our room and were wowed by the view we had! Words fail me in describing those moments. Abhay was finally free after 2 hours and he was having a ball too! Bandita simply got lost in the fresh air and the view! I made some hot coffee to complement the chilly & rainy weather.
After this surreal introduction to Zab we had a Haldiram Lunch in our room and had a relaxing 2 hours long siesta; we kept our Balcony door open to breathe fresh air of the Tatras. We woke up fresh & rejuvenated and decided to go for a short walk nearby.
We spotted a small kiosk nearby where a lady was selling a local sweet delicacies including one named “Gofry” which basically was freshly made waffle with a cream topping & a sauce of our choice. We ordered one as it looked pretty delicious and struck a conversation with that lady who was a native of Zab; she recommended us some nearby places to visit plus a local supermarket from where we could buy some groceries. It was fun talking to her as she was really very excited to know about India!
We came back to our hotel and drove to a place named Gubałówka, a mountain in the Gubałowskie Foothills, some 6 kms away. It is a popular tourist attraction, offering beautiful views of the Tatras and Zakopane. It is at a height of 1123 metres ASL and is quite a popular skiing site in the winter season. It also has a cable car which had very long queues so we gave it a miss! We sat down at a café and enjoyed our local favourite Zapiekanka which is an open-face sandwich made of half of a baguette or other long roll of bread, topped with sautéed white mushrooms, cheese and optionally other ingredients, and toasted until the cheese melts. Briefly put, sort of a Footlong!
Served hot with ketchup, it is a popular street food in Poland with its origin dating back to the 1970s and is associated with the austere times of Poland’s Communist regime, but it has enjoyed renewed demand in the recent times. Abhay played in the open while we enjoyed another round of coffee with a majestic view infront of us.
While coming back we spotted a vast grassland and could not resist stopping there as it was so damn beautiful with no people around! We walked in and spent almost 90 minutes doing nothing! Just admiring the beauty of that place while Abhay roamed around in the grass! We decided to come back here the next day too to have a long coffee session!
We reached our hotel where Bandita & Abhay enjoyed a long walk in the property while I talked to the lady at the reception to finalize the plan for the next day. We went to our room, sat down in the balcony, had another Haldiram dinner and for a change slept early that night! The weather was very chilly and perfect for a long night’s sleep!
Wednesday 15th July 2015 ||| Zab to Kasprowy Wierch
Thanks to the long night sleep we woke up quite fresh at 7:30 AM with the beautiful view from the balcony and moved to the restaurant area for the breakfast which was a mix of international and local dishes with lots of cheese options. We had a hearty & long breakfast sampling a lot of items on offer. We had a long walk after the breakfast while Abhay played with the plants & the flowers enjoying the nature which he doesn’t get to see in Kuwait.
We got ready and left for a town named Kuznice which was some 15 kms away from where we had to take the cable car to Kasprowy Wierch. There was a lot of traffic on the road plus it was raining quite steadily so we reached Kuznice at 11:30 AM. Our first PoA was to buy raincoats as the rain was in no mood to relent and we had to walk a lot that day. We bought Made in China raincoats for the 3 of us in assorted colours keeping in the mind the lovely hues of that mountain town. Abhay had the best one though! He looked absolutely awesome!
We parked our car and started our 3 kms hike to the cable car point but it started raining very heavily so we had to take refuge while we waited for the rain to get a bit lighter. Luckily it got a bit steady after a 20 minutes wait and we started our uphill hike which was quite steep and thanks to the drizzle it became a comfortable hike with 4-5 breaks in between!
We reached the area from where the cable car journey begins but had atleast 2 spare hours before our 2:30 PM booking. And the rain got heavier and heavier giving us ample opportunity to utilize our raincoats completely! Abhay was most fascinated with both his new attire plus the rains and was in no mood to remain stationery! It was quite a task holding him tight.
We explored the nearby riverside which was a beautiful sight plus the ever so relaxing sound of the flowing river was so inviting. It was still constantly drizzling which meant our small investment in the raingear was a superb decision! We sat down by the riverside soaking the scene and then Abhay had his lunch at the riverside too! He was enjoying his feed and the gurgling water so close to him!
After spending this rain infested 2 hours and a long wait at the cable car entrance thanks to the large queue we finally got into the CC trolley at 4 PM ready to enjoy the panoramic views of the Tatra Mountain range! And what a view it was; majestic is the word. I have taken many cable car trips so far in the Himalayas at Gulmarg, Mussoorie and Shillong but this was the first time I was going “up” internationally! Our car was full of local tourists who were enjoying a rainy summer day.
We changed our car once before reaching the topmost point of the Kasprowy Wierch where we were treated to a gorgeous and cloudy view overlooking the valley. We had to walk for almost a kilometer before reaching the spot where we could get the best view and that walk wasn’t easy especially with Abhay’s pram which I had to hoist on my shoulders!
We spent almost 2 hours on the mountain top just relaxing and getting lost in the views before walking back to the CC departure point. There were so many beautiful flowers at that place with such beautiful & different colours that I went on a Macro Photography spree while Abhay enjoyed his first mountain experience! He was not in a mood to sit down and kept falling on that bumpy surface but he never cried or complained! And I clicked away to glory! Amidst all this Bandita was as always the sane one!
We started our way back to the Kuznice parking lot but before we bid farewell to this beautiful little town there was one more stop we had to make! We had spotted a nice spot right beside a vigorously flowing water stream while walking up and had decided to stop by while on our way back and that is exactly what we did! It was such a quiet and beautiful place where we spent almost an hour just chilling while Abhay played around. Some real special moments.
We finally started our drive back to the hotel at 6:30 PM but were in no mood to be camped up in our room and it was the perfect time to enjoy a cup of hot coffee so we decided to go for a small picnic at the same spot which we discovered a day back. We reached the hotel and I went straight to our room to get some hot water in our flask; I always carry ready to make Coffee sachets with me during our trips and they always come very handy especially at times like these!
Soon we were sitting in the grassland overlooking the Kuznice town (yes we could see that town from this very same spot) and enjoyed the coffee and a Cinnamon Trdelník which we had picked up from Gubałówka a day back; it is a traditional Slovak cake and sweet pastry which is made from rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick, then grilled and topped with sugar and assorted flavours. Being so close to the Slovakian border we were treated to an authentic flavour too! Abhay once again was busy discovering some tiny flowers in that grass and was busy playing with them. He just loves the outdoors and has a ball whenever he is out somewhere. We always feel so good watching him play with such gay abandon when he is outside somewhere! A lot to do with his ever wandering parents!
We came back to the hotel at around 8 PM after our picnic session and I once again got into the Macro Shooting mood; our hotel grounds & garden was full of such beautiful flowers I just could not resist myself. I clicked & clicked till I ran out of options and then went back to the room. We had another Haldiram dinner and sat down at the balcony with another cup of coffee to enjoy our last night in this magical town.
The 2 days we spent here were by far the 2 most beautiful days of our trip and we would never forget the view from our hotel balcony which was spectacular to say the least! Abhay was in his best mood too being so close to Mother Nature in such perfect weather! And then the rains we experienced; we miss them so much living in Kuwait!
We woke up the next day, had our breakfast and then started our short drive back to Krakow. We were in quite a hurry that day as we had to give the car back at 10 AM! And thankfully we reached before time.
So till the time we meet again…
Cheers to life…
Till then ride safe and have safe sex…
Hasta la Victoria Siempre…