One of my friends texted me recently if I want to join her boyfriend and her on a trip to Slawinski National Park in Poland. Just by pure coincidence it’s the exact same friend who invited me to tag along for a trip to Bieszczady which I described here. I didn’t hesitate even for a second and immediately agreed.
The first thing I did was making sure I packed everything I could possibly need. I used my sports bag for clothes and cosmetics (I never really got mature enough to buy a suitcase) and the rest of things was packed like I robbed a store and just threw it inside a car.
My trip started at around 3 pm. I met my boyfriend Floret on a Wilson Square in Warsaw. Our car broke down recently and we don’t have air-conditioning, so in this temperature it was going to be a long ride. The place we were trying to reach is around 5-6 hours from Warsaw and believe it or not we travelled for almost 7!
As you can imagine we got to the city of Łeba at around 9 PM and after some short shopping we were all set. It got dark and all the living bugs around tried to eat us alive, but we managed to set our camp, eat dinner in a tent (like I said here saving money is a priority for me recently) and relax. Floret went to the shop to get some anti-bug spray so I was a big girl and I assembled the entire tent by myself. Here is the result:
As you can see I chose a secluded spot far away from all other campers. It was very quiet and all of our neighbours were really nice. The showers were very clean so I can highly recommend this camping – if you are by any chance interested its site is right here.
Afterwards, since our camp was just 200 meters away from the beach we headed there to check how it looks like. Most of the beaches in Poland are sandy so it was a soft relief to our feet to take a short walk with a great view. Unfortunately, it was a little windy, so soon we headed back. We went to sleep at around midnight and I have to say that sleeping to the sound of waves hitting the beach is amazingly soothing.
The camping doesn’t arrange breakfasts but they did give us directions to a nearby restaurant, where for a price of coffee in Warsaw, we ate delicious food with a great view.
After breakfast we decided to take a walk and finally visit the park. We packed towels, flip-flops, water and SPF-50 cream and headed towards the park.
Slowinski National Park is a part of Natura 2000 programme which is a network of nature protection areas in European Union – that means that it cannot be in any way altered nor anything can be built on these areas without special permissions. We had a variety of choices in terms of touristic routes, but we picked a green one (of middle-length) and after around 40 minutes we encountered a Museum of Missile Launcher. It was built in 1940 as an experimental German polygon for testing missiles and explosives during Second World War. Germans destroyed almost the entire facility while retreating, but all that got saved can be seen there, including glass walls (of 5 cm thickness) and other missiles.
Floret really enjoyed the place, especially that the Museum also provided quite a lot of information about a certain scientist whose work was a great contribution to Polish military (especially missiles during the 60s) Mr. Jacek Walczewski who also happened to graduate from Floret’s University in Cracow.
Later on we ventured further to the moving dunes. We encountered many interesting boards with information concerning nature, birds and snakes which live in the park. We also learned how Baltic sea was formed and how it used to be a lake. What is I think the most interesting information is that the salinity of the sea is of 0.5% to 0.8% which makes it a freshwater really. Apparently drinking it for survival reasons would hydrate the body and not dehydrate it as is the case with ocean water. So if you are lost on a deserted island somewhere on a Baltic Sea don’t hesitate to take a sip ;-)
The route in the woods ended abruptly and we finally saw the moving dunes, which turned out to be absolutely stunning!
The contrast between bright blue sky and whitish sand was truly captivating.
The rope limits the route so it was nice to take pictures of dunes without any sign of human existence.
Hypnotizing, isn’t it?
The dunes are, according to the Park’s website:
a real sandy desert which lies on a narrow spit between the Baltic Sea and Lebsko Lake. Wind causes the dunes to move and rise to several dozens of meters. The downside is that they cover with sand coastal forests, marshes, and even inhabited areas. The greatest changes in the landscape occurs in autumn and in spring, during storms on the Baltic Sea. The dunes and quicksands in its precincts from the most beautiful desert landscape, unique in Europe, often dubbed the Polish Sahara. The moving of dunes happens because of the lack of vegetation, which normally limits the influence of winds.
After we marvelled at how amazingly beautiful the dunes are we had to head back through around 3 kilometres of a beach with very loose sand and I don’t get why but I got blisters on my toes. Anyone care to explain? After the trip we went for lunch and finally met my friends (who were running very late, because one of them got sick the other night) and we could finally eat. I was so hungry I didn’t even bother taking a picture to show you guys, but what I can say is that my fish was very tasty. After lunch, we went shopping for food and we bought all the things we needed for making a bonfire. I wanted to make one (ah the smell!) for a long time now, especially that Floret is very much in love with grilling and he suffers each minute of us living in the big city where we can only use electronic grill.
When we were packing for a trip it was so hot that Floret didn’t even think to take something to protect against blasts of cold wind. It got quite cold in the evening and he had to rescue himself with a work-jacket that we get to work on a construction site. He looked like a security guy, but hey, at least he was warm!
The bonfire was a great success and we had a lot of fun. Many people from the camp joined us and it was a nice time for all of us.
Since the trip was full of events I decided to split this post into two, so stay tuned!