Eastern Europe Trip // A Scary Journey From Krakow – Zakopane – Poprad-Tatry – It was a crazy night, which I would say began with curiosity, later terrifying and ended with relieving. As this part of journey from Zakopane to Poprad was not well-planned beforehand, or it couldn’t be planned because there’s no prebook transport available from Zakopane, a skiing town south of Poland to Poprad, a mountain town north of Slovakia.
We never thought of the difficulty in crossing the border to reach Poprad. I found a clear way on how to get from Zakopane to Poprad, but then it was really late when we arrived at Zakopane, about 7pm. Zakopane was already a dead town at night, only a few avid skier just arrived and heading to their accommodation. As for us, looking for transport to go to the border – Lysa Polana, then from Lysa Polana, walk to the nearest village and catch a public Slovak bus to Poprad. Direct bus is available, only during daytime, taxi charges 500Zloty if were to drive directly to Poprad, there’s no other way to go to Poprad except from Lysa Polana.
To save as much cost as possible, we bargained with a cab driver, and he agreed on taking us to Lysa Polana for 73 Zloty, he wanted 90 at first. There’s still much excitement by that time, only when we reached the border of Poland and Slovakia, and alighted from the cab, the fear came upon us. It was a bridge that connects both country, with no street lamp. The cab left, and it was just 4 of us, in the middle of nobody, nowhere, and pitch dark, the only light was from the reflection of the moon. I think, that night had the brightest moon ever.
It was weird, it was quiet and it was cold at about -7 degree celcius, on the Tatra mountain. The Internet asked us to walk about 15-30 minutes to the nearest village to catch a local bus, so do the cab also told us the same thing. We walked, walked and walked, 15 minutes passed and there’s still no sign of any village. We started to get worried and scared. “Will we survive the freezing cold in the middle of nowhere?” “Can I call 112 Emergency?”, that’s what raises in my mind.
Hungry, and we had freezing McDonald’s that was bought from Krakow while walking. 3 vehicle passed by us, we jumped, we hailed, yet they did not stop for us. Suddenly out of no where, another vehicle was approaching us, we jumped and waved again and it stopped. It was a bus. Without any hesitation, we quickly boarded and asked if the bus could bring us to Poprad. “4.5Euro per person”, the bus driver said. That’s fine, in fact that’s the bus we were looking for! Thank god, and thank you bus. Just the question was, “Where did the bus came from?”. We passed by a village, which I think it could take us another 30 minutes of walk to reach there. The information on the Internet was so wrong.
The bus journey took about 45 minutes to reach Poprad, then we felt so relieved when we found the train station. Waited until 11pm and boarded the night sleeper train. Excitement arises as it was my first time on a night sleeper train. Although there’s no view out there, but I could see a sheet of white snow on the track, lovely.
One more thing, please do not do Zakopane – Lysa Polana – Poprad at night. Only do it in day time.