Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Rafting on Dunajec - sounds rough? Well, it's not ;)

I’m in my mountain-mood. What to write about next? Poland? Germany? Well, I think we have the winner! Poland it is! And Polish mountains, of course. The mountain-mood determines that, you know. So let’s continue the story about Pieniny Mountains, or Pieniny in short. I’ve already described where we stayed and what specialties you can taste  in Pieniny (well, not only in Pieniny, but in Polish mountains for sure).

Now then. We’re not going to be climbing today. We’ll leave that for later. Today we’re going to be rafting on Dunajec (River). I dreamed about that for a long time and finally my dreams came true. I assure you, it was totally worth waiting. But let’s start from beginning.

Rafting on Dunajec starts either in Sromowce Wyżne – Kąty or in Sromowce Niżne (a stop on the way). It’s better to start from the start ;) of course. And you can take off either in Szczawnica (then the route is about 18 km long) or in Krościenko (then 23 km). They take group pictures at the beginning which you can buy at the end of the rafting. Didn’t cost much.

We chose the route Sromowce Wyżne – Szczawnica. We decided not to take a bus to Sromowce, but to take a walk instead. Being on holidays, in the mountains, you simply have to walk a lot. And about eight kilometers is not that long, right? Or is it? Well, it’s not really. Were we tired after that? Just a bit. Were we excited? Definitely. Would I be eager to do that again? Of course. The views on the way, the mountains, the fields, the meadows make up for all the effort you have to put in order to get to your destination. And I don’t just mean this one walk to the rafting take-off station. I mean walking in the mountains in general. Well, walking, trekking, climbing, whatever you call it, it’s worth it anyhow.

I can’t remember how long it took us to get to Sromowce. I know we had to wait in line to get our tickets. And we waited a bit for our raft to begin. But it wasn’t too long altogether. Finally we got on the raft.

The “captain” or flisak (in Polish) is always dressed in a similar way, in quite traditional clothes, I think. He is using a giant stick to navigate the raft. And there’s another guy, in our case he was much, much younger than the main one, using another stick to navigate in the rear part. The whole trip takes plus two hours. It is quite slow, but gives you a chance to look around. And there’s a lot to look at. The Slovak and the Polish bank. The mountains, the forests, the rocks. The birds. The landscape…

And in some safer places on the way, flisak gives one of the persons from the raft his huge stick to try and navigate the raft. Not easy, I must say! Takes a lot of energy and weird body positions. Or maybe that was just me, inexperienced and having fun during holidays ;)

Rafting on Dunajec is a great fun for the whole family. Children would definitely have a lot of fun. But you have to keep sitting for the whole time, so that might be a problem for very vivid ones. And during the raft you can spot all the main attractions of the region mountain-wise – the Three Crowns (Trzy Korony) and Sokolica. And you get to Szczawnica or Krościenko (up to you), both of which are very traditional and picturesque villages. So that’s worth it as well. 
 One of the fields on the way to Sromowce
 Our flisak and his traditional, regional vest
 The Three Crowns (Trzy Korony) as seen from Dunajec
 Is that a black swan on the rock? No, it's not a man-made painting ;)

 Me - not that great a flisak

 Sokolica as seen from Dunajec

 The Slovak bank of Dunajec
 Peaceful and quiet, ain't it? Yup, there's a pedestrian route on the side of Dunajec. At least in some places ;)

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