We spent the end of this year's holiday in the south of Poland in the neighbourhood of Tarnów. It was not our first time in this region, but it was the first time spent in such an active way. We visited three castles - each one in a different style but worth seeing for different reasons. The most traditional castle with regard to the building and the way of visiting was Nowy Wiśnicz castle. It was particularly remarkable for my son due to the trip using virtual reality goggles. The second castle in Dębno with its unique and tasteful architectural interiors looks very magnificent. According to the legend, in the castle tower next to the ballroom the owner of the castle's daughter was walled up together with her dowry. Apparently, the girl used to have uniquely beautiful golden plaits. In the XX century a skeleton and golden plaits were in fact found, but the treasure had disappeared.

The third castle we saw was Tropszyn, uniquely and picturesquely placed on a rock by the Danube river. The name of the village Wytrzyszczka, which you should look for on the map, may cause a problem not only for foreigners. The castle is actually a reconstruction of a defence fortress from the XII century. The red lines on the walls show the real status of this castle before the renovation was done. Similarly, like in many different such cases at the time, the atmospheric conditions and easily accessible building materials meant that the castle practically ceased to exist. The reconstruction started back in 1993 and is actually still going on. The castle has been accessible for tourists since 2005.

We started the visit from the dungeons and cellars, going through some dark stony corridors. Later we passed a few floors of castle rooms where you can find some exhibitions. In one of them my son found some treasure, which was for him more attractive than the Inka one.


We were in the Góry Sowie (Owl Mountains) for the first time. We tried to book our accommodation quite late, and it turned out that it is difficult to find a room during the holiday weekend. There were a few rooms on offer, but we would have had to put up with a noisy party in the same place. It could be difficult not being at the party but only hearing the noise behind the wall.

When one door closes, another opens. We found a guesthouse called Mała Sowa (Small Owl) in Rzeczka. It was a success. We actively spent three days making use of the nearby attractions in the picturesque setting of Góry Sowie and rested in a friendly and clean guesthouse. Our first impression was excellent because this place pays attention to cleanliness and a nice-looking environment. Manicured grass, various plants, big barbecue area, fireplace, playground and ¬- best of all – calm, which we always need in a place like this.

The rooms and apartments are big, with enough space for baggage. They are arranged with great attention to detail: Old clocks, radios, huge old beds and wooden cupboards like in grandma's home make a nice and cosy impression.


We only get the chance to find out about some interesting places when by coincidence we are in the neighborhood. It was exactly this way, when visiting my daughter at the holiday camp, that we had an opportunity to see the Fossilized City Reserve.

This amazing cluster of geological formations lies close to Ciężkowice in the vicinity of Tarnów and spreads from the Biała River Valley up to the top of Skała Hill. Until the XIX century, the beauty of this place was known only to its residents. The Reserve was created in the 1970s, thanks to which this place was rescued from destruction by tourists wanting to leave behind dubious signs that they were there, and also from stone robbery for industrial purposes. Nowadays, the Fossilized City Reserve is a more and more popular tourist destination. To make this place more accessible for tourists the main path was upgraded, stairs and handrails were built in the most difficult places, the trail was marked, an educational path was created with information about the various rocks, and the most interesting places were illuminated. A nice surprise was the fact that entrance to this place is free.

Wandering the picturesque slope of Skała Hill, every minute we noticed stony formations that completely didn't fit in with the surrounding nature. Every one of them got its name from its unique shape and colour. We passed by the Witch with a hooked nose, the stately Town Hall consisting of five vertical walls, huge Grunwald with a commemorative plaque and entrance to Grunwald Cave, Hell with an abnormal red colour and many other interesting places. Many of these huge rocks were overgrown by a pine forest. It is difficult to believe that these durable trees have found enough space and soil to grow roots in the rocky rifts.


Every employer knows how important loyal and committed workers are. Few of them remember that it depends on their attitude as well. To his cost, the owner of the picturesque Predjama Castle in Slovenia found out just how important it is.

During this year's holiday we visited Postojna Cave again. Less than 10km from the Cave there is another amazing Slovenian place – Predjama Castle. Somehow we had never got round to visiting it before. This time we decided to catch up, and we regret the fact that we didn't do it years before.

Built into the rock, the four-storey castle emerges from the corner in a surprising and breath-taking manner. Originally, in the twelfth century, the castle was built in an extensive cave in the rocks. Traces of this can be found in the depths of the cave, and even though today it only looks like a cave, there exist details which indicate that there were at least a couple of rooms. Later in the XVI century the castle was developed into its current shape.

The structure is built on a 123-metre-high cliff, and it is beautiful and gloomy at the same time. The only entrance is via a narrow path and archway, and from the stony balconies an amazing view of the valley stretches out. On the one hand the fortress was an inhospitable and cold place. Only one or two rooms were heated, and the rock, which was an integral part of castle, didn't get any heat. It is difficult to imagine that there was ever warmth here. The high, steep and slippery stairs to the other parts of the castle make it difficult to get into the building. On the other hand this location – like few other castles – gave almost total security. The only way to the castle was clearly visible. The trees which now beautifully surround the castle and the valley didn't exist before, so the residents had the whole vicinity under control.


We have visited the picturesque Slovenian Postojna Cave a few times now. Every time however we have discovered something new for us in this Pivka river creation.

When you travel with kids, this trip may be uniquely interesting, as apart from the beautiful chambers an additional attraction is the pretty fast journey by underground railway, thanks to which the visit is not so bothersome. You have to remember to take warm jackets or sweaters for the kids. It is rather cold in the cave (around 8 C) and the fast ride intensifies this feeling. Travelers who remember warm clothes will not tremble with cold. For a small amount of money they can rent warm long coats similar to those worn by Polish Podhalański Shooters (Polish Infantry Units). The guides speak Slovenian and basic foreign languages. It is worth renting audio guides, which are available in a lot of languages. It makes visiting this place much easier, and you may concentrate on its beauty without missing any details. The guides' information is short, straightforward and interesting enough that my little traveler listened to it with great attention. Using the guides is trouble-free as well.

The cave was opened for tourists at the beginning of the XIX century. The tourist path is 5 km long, but we only managed 1.7 km on foot - the rest of the so-called Old Passage we travelled by train. The passages have low ceilings and the walls are often very close to the sides of the carriage, so the guides asked us many times not to stand up, lean out or take selfies.

Equipped with audio guides we wandered, marvelling at the unique and beautiful creations formed by water. Around us there were plenty of surprising rocky formations, dripstones, stalactites, stalagmites and rocky curtains. Some of them so thick and huge that it is difficult to imagine how long it took for something like that to form; others were so narrow that they were like icicle-noodles hanging from the ceiling like wrinkled material. We passed by the Ballroom and climbed the Big Mountain to enter the deeper parts of the cave via the Russian Bridge. The most visible colors in the cave are orange and red. You may see some black or white forms as well. The colors depend on the minerals which are washed out by the water flowing over the rocks. The white is visible due to pure calcite, which does not contain any other elements. The white dripstones are strikingly similar to glittery ice.

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