Tag Archives: Mountains

Poland Part 3!

In this blog post, I’ll wrap up my tour of Poland. After Warsaw, I proceeded north to the port city of Gdansk. Gdansk is famous for having started the Solidarity movement with Lech Walesa at the helm. I highly recommend taking a half day and visiting the Gdansk Solidarity Center. A very well done exhibit that helps tell the story of Poland’s break from Communism.

Gdansk

The Gdansk Solidarity Center with the Fallen Shipyard Workers Monument in the Foreground.

 

Following a couple of days absorbing the sights of Gdansk, I headed eastword with a quick stop at Malbork Castle, a very serene location normally but the day I went was an annual festival that was a bit too commercial for me. I did this find this pleasing scene off from the crowds though.

Malbork Castle

A tower reflecting in the pond at Malbork Castle.

From there, it was on to a historical location called the Wolf’s Lair. This was Hitler’s Headquarters for almost 3 years during the war with Russia on the Eastern Front. Really an amazing place with concrete walls 8 meters (26 feet) thick for protection from possible bombing raids. Walking the paths and seeing the buildings where so much history was made was interesting. The Germans did demolish as much as they could when they left and now nature is taking over and reclaiming this place.

Wolf's Lair

Bunker 13, the personal quarters of Hitler, had 8 meter thick concrete ceilings.

After all the cities and historical visits, it was time to catch some nature. I headed off to an area called Masurian Lakes, a beautiful part of Poland in the northeast with rolling hills and beautiful lakes. It was really some nice driving and looking at the bucolic landscapes and pretty flower fields.

Masurian Lakes

A peaceful morning dockside at one of the Masurian Lakes

Yellow Daisies

A field of yellow Daisies with bees a buzzing!

 

As you drive around Poland, one animal that you see plenty of is the Stork. Poland has 25% of the world’s storks and you see them nesting in almost every village. They stick around in Poland until August at which time they all head down to Africa! Nothing wrong with going where the sun is!

Storks Nesting

Storks nesting on an abandoned building in the Masurian Lakes region

A huge nest built by a stork in the countryside of Poland

A huge nest built by a stork in the countryside of Poland.

 

I wrapped up my visit to Poland by visiting the mountains in southern Poland near the town of Zakopane. These mountains have gorgeous hiking trails and border the country of Poland and Slovakia. It’s highly recommended that you wear sturdy soled hiking boots and the trails were very rocky and caused for some sore feet.

Zakopane

Hiking in the beautiful mountains of Zakopane, on the border of Poland and Slovakia

 

Nearing the top of my hike after 4 hours (hiking from my campground) I was within 100 meters of the cross. However it was here that there was a traffic jam requiring a one hour wait to get to the top. Most of the people took a cable car up and did a one hour hike and were not really in shape to make this last section. I didn’t really feel like waiting around so continued on.

Mt Giewont

The cross on top of Mt Giewont is a very popular destination for Polish visitors.

 

In the final blog post of the Poland Tour, I work my way home with an unexpected stopover in Austria. Please come on back and enjoy the next update! Thanks!

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Les Alpes and more!

Well, it’s been a busy Spring…as many of you know, finally graduated from Academy of Art University in May. Took 5 years chipping away at it but was well worth the effort and a great school. Glad I had the opportunity to this with the GI Bill. Following that, I took off to the Alps (about 5 hours away) to shoot my friend Bob Thompson’s bike company Far and Away Cycling (http://www.farandawaycycling.com/) tour of the French Alps. Great fun and great people, hats off to these hard core riders, day after day on those hills

 

 

 

After we finished up Bob, Chantal and I went up for a couple of days in Chamonix, at the base of Mont Blanc. Gorgeous area. We had to wait a day for the weather to clear but when it did, we took the cable car up to Aiguille Du Midi and saw some incredible mountain scenery. Really was worth the visit up.

 

Aiguille Du Midi above Chamonix France with sun ring caused by ice crystals

 

High icicles

Icicles on the side of the Aiguille Du Midi station above the clouds near Chamonix France

Panorama

A panorama view of the French Alps from the Aiguille Du Midi station near Chamonix France

Chamonix mountains

Cloud cover on the mountains above Chamonix France.

 

 

After that, I had a couple of separate visitors for a total 2 weeks and now I’ve started the planning for my big Scandinavia trip. I’ll be taking off this Friday for a little over 2 months visiting Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland with an on the way stop in Amsterdam to have some parking sensors put in the rear bumper of the VW. Really looking forward to taking off and seeing this part of the world I have yet to visit. More frequent blog updates will be happening from the trip. Cheers! Laurent

 

 

 

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Aconcagua-the Queen of the South

So there I was….ready to conquer  the second base camp of Mt Aconcagua (highest mountain in the Western and Southern Hemisphere at 22,841ft, located in the Andes about 70 miles northwest of Mendoza). Thought it would be simple, hike to the first base camp at approximately 11,000 ft, camp overnight and get acclimated. Then the next day, do a quick hike to the second base camp at 13,500 and back to base camp one in the same day. Well…a couple factors I didn’t consider into this equation. One, I’m now officially a flatlander. No more of this acclimatized Colorado lifestyle which makes small peak summits way easier. Carrying the backpack with tent, food, water, and camera gear got my attention.  Two, snowstorm during early summer Argentina (December for us but June down south here). I got there, started setting up camp and it started snowing. It didn’t stop all night, even in my tent.

Frosty Night

Sitting out the snowstorm, waiting for the morning

Three season tent, no fleece, and some interesting intestinal problems and I’ll leave it at that. So, I woke up to 3 inches of snow, spoke to the ranger who said more snow on the way and made the command decision to GTFO (acronym for boogie on back down the hill). Was able to knock out some pictures (including some panoramas which I’ll work when I getback. Here are a few pictures just to show the beauty. If you haven’t been down here, Argentina has the some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the world. And some incredible wine which will be the subject of the next post. Salud!

Sunset-at-Confluencia.jpgAconcagua-Valley-View.jpgArgentine-Mule-herders.jpg

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