Through the eyes of a foreigner: Zakopane, Javorina and the Tatras in an account by an English 19th-century traveller
Fragment of a book by Alexander Hadden Hutchinson (1833–1903), Try Cracow and The Carpathians, Chapman and Hall, London 1872, pp. 84–137. The author, known also for his other travels and guides, wrote down his impressions from his holiday tour of Europe. He began it in July 1871. His and his wife’s itinerary included Wrocław, Kraków, the Tatras, Prague, Dresden, Leipzig, Düsseldorf and Antwerp. The book, illustrated with interesting prints, includes appendixes with, e.g. basic Polish words and expressions as well as hints as to their pronunciation. The entire text covers 256 pages. In the translated fragment the author provides an account of his stay in the Tatra mountains. First, he stayed on the Polish side near Zakopane: he provided a detailed description of the first inn, the food, problems with communicating with the guide, peculiarities of the local landscape, the local fauna and flora, characteristic features of highlanders’ dress. He explained the work of the charcoal burners and the operation of the ironworks in Zakopane. He devoted quite a lot of attention to a description of a double highlander wedding to which he was invited. In addition, he reported on his expeditions to the Kościelisko Valley and Zakopane Magura. The next stage of the Englishman’s journey was Javorina on the Hungarian side. Hutchinson described the difficulties of the journey, taking place shortly after a flood, and a dirty inn; he concluded that the highlanders there were more handsome than their Polish counterparts. He also described the story of a mysterious thief who had stolen fruit from the uplaz several years earlier. This part of his tale focuses on the story of a night trip to Morskie Oko (famous in England for its abundance of trout), during which the guide lost his way several times. However, for the author the mountain landscapes made up for all the inconvenience and fatigue.