Well, what a year! Coming to Spain for the winter has been one of the best decisions we've ever made. We've really enjoyed exploring the area and the weather has been amazing, other than some storms while Andrzej was in Africa. To cap the year off we did trips to Casares and Tarifa.

Casares is one of the famous white villages of Andalusia, in the hills inland from the coast. The views of the town from the road are absolutely amazing and you can easily spend a few hours walking up and down the narrow streets. Casares is not for anyone lacking mobility, though, as the streets are very steep. Then, Tarifa, which is a small town which lies where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. The area is very popular with kite surfers and they're so much fun to watch. The beaches are incredible with nice, soft golden sand and the old town is quite nice to see as well.



5k Santa Run/Walk in Sotogrande. Lots of people and dogs. Our very social doggy Felix made new friends and we also had great time. The weather was spectacular and the turkey dinner served after the run was delicious.



I just got back from another trip to Africa. This time I went to East Africa and circled the magnificent  Victoria Lake. Highlights of the trip: visiting spectacular botanical gardens in Uganda, hiking Mount Bisoke (3711m) in the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda, swimming in Lake Tanganyika in Burundi, and drinking a lot of delicious Kilimanjaro beer in Arusha, Tanzania.

More pictures in East Africa gallery.



After settling in to our little rental on the beach, we decided to do our first sightseeing trip in the area. We chose to visit Estepona which is a small city about 30 minutes away from where we're staying. The city is an absolute rabbit warren of narrow streets (which is not so much fun when you drive a big van!), with an absolutely gorgeous old town, and there's a really nice promenade along the beach, as well. The old town, though, it was amazing to wander around and see all the colourful flower pots on the whitewashed walls, each street having a different colour scheme. The city seems to have the best of both worlds, all the modern conveniences and the lovely character of the old town.



Well, we made it! We found a great campground to stay in for a few days, near Manilva, while we searched for a place to rent for the winter. Surprisingly that was not as easy as it sounds! But, a lovely Dutch couple offered us a small place literally on the beach, in a little village called Torreguadiaro, which is a short walk from the port of Sotogrande. When I say literally on the beach, I mean it. Not a whole lot of privacy, and no balcony, but to open those huge windows and stare out at the sea ...wow, words simply cannot express how amazing it is. Felix is probably loving it the most. He's already found a friend to play with and he is having an absolute riot running around in the sand. And to be able to just walk a few steps before taking off the flip flops and digging my toes in the sand and the surf ...just awesome. We are so happy to be here.



So, having decided to spend the winter in Spain, we eagerly embarked on the 3000+ km journey with a packed car and light hearts.
A very generous friend offered us her villa in Moraira, Spain, to break up the trip and get in some relaxation before driving on to our final destination.

Moraira is a small town on the Spanish coast, just north of Alicante. The villa was absolutely incredible with views of the sea, a beautiful pool to enjoy, and from there it was a lovely walk into the heart of the town. We all thoroughly enjoyed the break after so long in the car, and it was rather hard to leave!



Another year, another Mountain Festival in Lądek. Unfortunately this year, due to a lack of time, I only went for a day and a half, mostly just to participate in the second annual mountain run, The Everest Run. After my spectacular success last year (third place in age category) my performance was a little bit disappointing. Oh well, the beer after the run tasted awesome, hahaha.



Grossclockner, elevation 3700 m, is the highest mountain in Austria and the highest mountain in the Alps, east of the Brenner Pass. It’s a very popular summit for Austrians and foreigners alike, but even the classic route to the summit is long and challenging.

Janek Mikita and I managed to reach the summit a week ago, after two days of climbing and with an overnight stay in the Erzherzog Johann hut, elevation 3454 meters.

The weather was mostly miserable, with sunny breaks at the top (lucky us), so the summit ridge and the summit wasn’t very crowded. Apparently on the weekends, in high season, there could be as many as 500 people trying to climb the mountain. Crazy!!!



Jezioro Pilchowickie (Pilchowickie Lake), only a short drive from Jelenia Góra, is an excellent spot for various water sports. Surrounded by rolling hills, forests, and meadows, this surprisingly big man-made reservoir is a perfect destination for hot summer days.



In May, my sister planned a big party for my mom's 75th birthday, and I decided to fly there to surprise her. It was such a great trip, I got to see all the family at one time, which is not that easy to do! I managed to spend some time in the mountains, I went on a photography shoot with my dad, my friend took me on a day trip to Drumheller (the dinosaur town) and even went to a small town parade. Needless to say, the camera got quite a workout.

Then, as a treat to myself, I stopped in Norway for a week, on the way back to Poland, and visited Bergen and Balestrand, with a tour of the famous Sognefjorden. Norway is a spectacular country, to be sure, but when you come from Canada ...well, I think there are a lot of similarities, so perhaps for me it was a wee bit of a letdown, at least from a nature perspective. Having said that, Bergen was lovely, and the town of Balestrand was absolutely gorgeous. I'm definitely glad I stopped there and I'm sure the country has a lot more to offer.



It's been a while since we've done any camping so we decided to go to Otmuchów Lake, near Nysa, which is about 2 1/2 hours from Jelenia Góra. While the facilities were decidedly lacking, the lake (which is a reservoir) was quite nice and we had some beautiful weather.

We also managed to do some sightseeing in the area; we visited the city of Nysa, and a few historic sites, included Moszna Castle. Funny story about Moszna Castle ...the name means "scrotum". Lol, how would you like to live in the village of Scrotum?!



It’s been a busy summer. Below are a few pictures from the places in Czechia we’ve visited so far this year.

Hradek nad Nisou - a small town in the Liberec Region, with a beautiful and very well-preserved centre; Sychrov Castle - a unique example of Neo-Gothic castle architecture surrounded by a large, beautiful park; Vrchlabi - a town in the Hradec Kralove District with interesting architecture and a castle complex that was built in 1546–1548.



Góry Izerskie are becoming a center of mountain biking in Dolny Śląsk (Lower Silesia), Poland. Hundreds of kilometres of biking trails, in spectacular, wild scenery and with a decent infrastructure. There are even quite a few places where you can stop for a snack and some Czech beer ...what else do you need?!



Not my best running season, this year. Only completed two half-marathons, and the results were far from great. In Miękinia (a small town west of Wrocław) my time was: 02h 00m 09s. At home, in Jelenia Góra, probably due to the high temperature and a very demanding, hilly route, the time was even worse: 02h 01m 40s.

Hopefully the next run will be better.



We decided to take advantage of a lovely spring day, and do a little sightseeing. We drove about an hour and a 1/2 from Jelenia Góra to visit Grodno Castle. This beautiful castle's origins date back to the late 12th century and, though it had fallen into ruins, it's been nicely restored. Well worth the drive and the walk to reach the site.



A few more pictures from hiking in the Karkonosze Mountains. This time from the western part of the range, in the Mount Szrenica area, near the town of Szklarska Poręba.

More pictures in Karkonosze gallery.



To end the very exciting, and relatively busy, winter climbing season, we (again, Maciek, Konrad and I) spent a couple of days in the club hut in Karkonosze, climbing in nearby Śnieżne Kotły (Snow Cirques).

Śnieżne Kotły used to be a major rock climbing center in the Karkonosze Mountains, but these days, due to very fragile and unstable rock formations, and unique flora, only winter climbing is allowed, and only when  the rock is properly covered with snow and ice (a special permit from Karkonosze Natonal Park office is required).



We are having a wonderful winter so far. Lots of snow but not too cold, so perfect weather for hiking. Below, a few pictures from my recent outings in the Karkonosze Mountains, in the Mount Śnieżka area, near the town of Karpacz.

More pictures in Karkonosze gallery.



My second 10k Iceman Run in Przesieka. The temperature was not too bad but the trail was very icy and slippery. The biggest challenge of the day was a dip in the insanely cold waters of the Podgórna River Waterfall, famously used by Wim Hof for polar bear plunges.



What's the first thing that comes to your mind when it's cold and snowy outside? Ice climbing, of course, hahaha.

It was a very busy week. Afraid that the perfect conditions wouldn't last, we (Maciek, Konrad and I) managed to visit three ice climbing areas; Głuszyca Górna, Mały Staw in Karkonosze and Olbrychovsky Lom in Czechia. The weather was mostly good, and the food and beer at Hausmanka u Kozy (a bar in a middle of nowhere in north-west Czechia), where we finished our adventure, was delicious.



For my 48th birthday, we decided to celebrate by going somewhere we've never been. We chose Dresden as it's relatively close to home, only a 2-hour drive, and though it was quite cold, it was a fun trip. Unfortunately the famous Christmas market was already shut down but there was still a very festive atmosphere. It's an absolutely beautiful city and, despite the cold, we enjoyed wandering around taking pictures.

We stayed at the luxurious Kempinski hotel, which Felix thoroughly enjoyed (he does love fluffy hotel pillows!), and where I was greeted with birthday cake, he got some doggie cookies!