Happy New Year!

Spent Christmas in Zakopane.

The first thing you see coming in by train are the Tatra Mountains. Breathtaking sight. Sets the mood. Not in Kansas anymore!

Stepping off the train, I immediately noticed people walking around in high fashion skinny jeans (many ripped with skin showing), sneakers, and even high heels(!!)… while its -5c and snowing. Tried my best not to stare or laugh, but I’ve never seen anything like it. For all that frost bite I hope somebody got laid. One family was even carrying their crying, screaming daughter into a hotel because they made her wear a summer dress and her legs were freezing.

My Polish friend later referred to them as “polacos”. I couldn’t find a definition of this word on Google... there is a wikipedia article on “polaco” from Spain, but he specifically used the “s” variant multiple times. Regional slang?

The main road krupówki has a lot of clothing stores, providing high brands for the polacos to spend some of that money. And one of the nicer hotels, the Aries, looked more like a luxury dealership than a hotel. They could put up a sign “TATRA PORSCHE & BMW” and the polacos would get lost in a snowbank trying to find the sales guy.

So Zakopane is a very hip place I guess. I wonder if a lot of rich people live there year-round, or they just flood in from Warszawa and Kraków for Christmas (and the locals deeply despise them, dreaming of pitchforks and death!) There are a lot of beautiful log cabins, so probably a mix. I expected it to be a poorer town, like where I grew up in the Sierra Nevadas. No Porsches in Twain Harte!

Had amazing food at U Wnuka. Their żurek was some of the best I’ve had. I could eat żurek every day.

Went to Mass at 12am at Sanktuarium Najświętszej Rodziny hoping there would be lots of singing and music like I’d seen on YouTube in other Polish churches during Christmas. They did sing one or two short songs which included a big screen with the lyrics, so I did my best to follow along. Good way to practice pronunciation. After mass everyone left unfortunately.