on December 4, 2009
The mountain lake of Morskie Oko (The Eye of the Sea) is widely known for its supreme beauty, boosted by being accessible to even least athletically inclined. The lake lies at the elevation of 1,395m and reaches depth of over 50m and is located at the base of Mieguszowieckie Szczyty massif.The nearest bus stop is at Polana Palenica, or there is a car park slightly further up. You can then walk the 6 miles to the lake on foot (it's an easy stretch with only a gentle ascent on a pleasantly wooded road) or take a horse and cart run by local Gorale population all the way to the end of the road and the lake itself. The lake is very beautiful, surrounded by rocky mountain faces and coniferous woods, its waters a s shimmering green, changing from emerald to aquamarine and back again into the deeper green. It's best seen in the summer, on the sunny day, though the winter views have their charms too. There is a mountain hostel at the lake, the oldest in Polish Tatras, and with an incredibly crowded restaurant in season. The further from the road and the hostel you get, the smaller the crowds. And as the area is cult with paths all around the lake, it's not that difficult to get a little bit away from other people - though it's never exactly a spot filled with solitude. One way to reduce the other tourists' density around you is to walk along the side of the lake and then up a steep path mixed with steps to Czarny Staw pod Rysami (literally, Black Loch under Rysy). In addition to a decent dose of exercise , needed especially if you took the cart , this short climb rewards with the most marvellous views of Morskie Oko from above, set like a precious gem among the wooded shores and rocky cliffs below. Czarny Staw, less than 200 metres higher than Morskie Oko at 1,580m, is surprisingly different: a seriously alpine lake, the land around it noticeably more austere, wilder, harsher, the water dark and cold, the boulders rather more forbidding. Above, rises the highest peak of the Polish Tatras, Rysy, whose ascent starts from here, but should not be taken lightly. Morskie Oko is the most popular trip destination from Zakopane together with the cable car to Kasprowy Wierch, and consequently can get extremely crowded in the high season, but despite that it's still such a gem that it's eminently worth visiting, especially if you are coming outside the Polish school holiday period (July - August) and on a weekday.
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