Wambierzyce town is located at around 204th kilometre of the Main Sudetes Trail and Kudowa Zdrój at 232nd. It means that somewhere between these two, I should celebrate half-way of my adventure! I was looking forward to that day also because of another reason. The track leads through the scenic Table Mountains and from what I saw online, I had all the reasons to believe that it’s gonna be awesome!
Route: Wambierzyce to Kudowa Zdrój
The beginning of the day was quite miserable due to boring terrain, asphalt roads and light rain. It started to look better after 4th kilometre when I passed Studzienno and entered the Table Mountains National Park. The path was going up towards Rogacz (707 m a.s.l.). More and more weird rock formations looked at me from behind the trees. Exactly what I had been waiting for!
The terrain here is totally unbelievable and it looked even more unbelievable in cloudy and a bit foggy weather conditions. The shapes of some rocks resemble huge mushrooms, hence its name – Mushroom Rocks (Skalne Grzyby). They owe it to erosion progress of sandstone, which is way faster in the lower parts of the rocks. I admit I spent a lot of time photographing everything but it’s always a learning process to become a better photographer. Honestly, it doesn’t matter how much time I take for my shots, I am never fully satisfied with the end result. Maybe it’s lack of talent or maybe endless pursuit for perfection.
Anyway, from Rogacz it’s around 5,5 kilometres to the parking lot at Stormy Meadow (Burzowa Łąka). As always, parking lots mean that there could be more people around and the rule proved to be right also that time. I mean more people for the Main Sudetes Trail standards because usually, it was rather no people at all. Even here it wasn’t as busy as one could expect. Tourism in COVID-19 times hasn’t come back to shape yet.
The track continues of the mostly flat path called The Road Over The Cliff for further 5 kilometres. At some point, there is a small path going right (5 minutes detour). Walk it till the end and you will understand the meaning of that name. Then, the next major landmark is the Great Szczeliniec (Szczeliniec Wielki, 919m a.s.l.).
Even though the red track doesn’t lead to the top, it’s hard to resist a detour. It’s a tiring way up on the stony stairs but the place was definitely one of the biggest highlights of the day and should not be missed. There is a mountain hut at the top, in case you are in need of a hot meal or drink. The way down is even better and I recommend taking the paid alternative. It’s only 12 PLN and hiking through the amazing maze of rocks takes about 1 hour. The formations are incredible! Some parts may be very narrow and tricky with a big backpack, but it’s doable.
After the descent, I reached Karłów which is a midpoint of GSS. I felt big satisfaction of what I achieved so far and maybe it made me lose concentration and as a result, I took a wrong turn following red track but for ski runners, not hikers. Honestly, I find it very misleading to use the same colours and it took me a long time to realize that something is wrong. The signage could definitely be improved. Mapa-turystyczna.pl helped me to find my way but the whole situation cost me at least 1 hour and a few useless kilometres in my legs. Just pay attention here and don’t turn right too early. The track follows an asphalt road leading to the Errant Rocks (Błędne Skały) which is around 5 kilometres from Karłów. I had to speed up as the place was closing at 5 pm. The advantage of late arrival (4:10 pm) was that there were only a few other tourists.
The whole attraction is very similar to the Great Szczeliniec and doesn’t make such a big impression if you have already visited the other one. Crossing with the backpack was really difficult and I had to take it off in many places, struggling to push it through. I suggest to leave the luggage at the ticket office and simply come back to collect it afterwards. By doing that, your walkthrough should be much more enjoyable.
Last part of the day was made by a long (~7km) descent to Kudowa Zdrój. I was really, really tired and still had to walk to the other side of the town as I didn’t pay too much attention to the localization of my guesthouse when booking it. Don’t get me wrong, the localization was awesome, but at that moment every 100 meters mattered. In the end, the day was finished with 38 kilometres on my Endomondo training.
I can fully recommend Guest Rooms Under Lions (Pokoje Gościnne pod Lwami). Super friendly owner and very close to the main attractions of the towns in case you want to do some sightseeing. And obviously, you should do that!
What to see in Kudowa Zdrój?
The history of the spa town dates back to the beginning of the 17th century when information about the positive effects on the health of the mineral waters from Kudowa springs appeared for the first time. Only a hundred years later, bottles filled with them were regularly sent to the royal court in Berlin.
In the small building located in Czermna (one of the districts of Kudowa Zdrój) there are about 23 thousands of human skulls all over the walls and ceiling. Father Tomaszek, collected human remains that remained in the surrounding fields after the Thirty Years ‘War in 1618-1648, the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) and the great plague of 1680. As no one was able to provide the deceased with a proper burial, and the dogs were digging up bones from the ground, the priest decided to take care of them by moving to the chapel and crypt. It is believed that he got the idea during his trip to Rome, after visiting the local catacombs.
It was established in the 18th century on the model of English parks and significantly expanded in the 19th century. Nice place to walk around! There is a small lake, fountains as well as a forested hill for those looking for a more challenging stroll. Mineral waters are available in drinking room.
Trail of Vanishing Trades
A time spend here is like a journey back to the past, to learn about the jobs our ancestors did, such as blacksmithing, baking bread, pottery or knitting. There is also a mini ZOO which should entertain the children for a while. Overall it’s a pretty small open-air museum, so unless you have the time to kill or you are really interested in the topic, give it a miss.
Other less impressive sights in town include: Museum of Minerals, Museum of Toys or Museum of Folk Culture of the Sudety Foothills.