Wednesday, 20 August 2008

The Beskid Wyspowy

Like islands sticking out of a misty sea, the peaks of this small range of mountains (900-1,200m above sea level) are less well known to tourists than the Tatras or Sudety, but absolutely worth a visit. The Beskid Wyspowy ("Island Beskids") Eddie and I climbed three of the highest ten peaks in two days - Łopień (951m) , Ćwiliń (1,074m) and Śnieżyca (1,006m).

Above: Pet cow on one's lawn; a reminder that this is very much an agricultural community. Nearby is the home of Tymbark, one of Poland's top fruit juice producers. Just up the road from this house was a punkt skupu (lit. 'purchase point') where farmers sell tonnes of 'industrial apples' to the juice manufactures. These apples, seen growing everywhere around here, are too small and unstandardised to make it to supermarket stalls, but are juicy nevertheless.

Above: Coming down from Łopień, we encountered the local firemen taking their six-wheel drive STAR 266 firetruck for a spin. Today was the day of the voluntary fire service's annual fete, so the picnic was being carried up by truck. The voluntary fire service (OSP) has a significant social role in rural Poland; you can wear a uniform without fear of ending up in Iraq or Afganistan; you can play in the brass band, you can get married in the local OSP hall (they are legendary for their wedding feasts!)

Above: Descending from Łopień (sloping up to the right of this pic). In the distance are Ćwiliń (left) and Śnieżyca (right). A four-seater chairlift runs to the top of Śnieżyca from Kasina Dolna railway station (now sadly only used for steam train excursions - no regular passenger service). Below: In winter this long, sloping meadow is a ski run. The chairlift is behind the trees to the left.


Aphelion said...

Again, lovely photos - the last one looks very familiar to me as well, it could have been taken over here! It was very interesting to read about your steam train experience, I'm glad you had the chance and enjoyed it so much!

Anonymous said...

Mr Dembinski, d'ya have anything in common with this gentleman? ;)

"...Migrant workers may also have been dissuaded from working here by the fall in the pound's value. Michael Dembinski, head of policy at the British Polish Chamber of Commerce, says migrants typically needed to send home £500 a month to justify working in the UK. Four years ago this would have bought 3,565 zlotys. Now it is worth just over 2,100 zlotys, a fall of 40 per cent."

Michael Dembinski said...

The one and the same gentleman indeed - though speaking on my own behalf here.