Olsztyn Travel Blog› entry 60 of 88 › view all entries
We decided to head south this weekend. No specific plan other than to perhaps visit Auschwitz, not a pleasant visit, and one that I have been putting off, but a place that I will see before leaving for wherever life takes me next.
Our first stop was a fortunate coincidence • I saw a sign for some castle ruins while on the road between Częstochowa and Katowice which turned out to be Olsztyn Castle. It is one of a chain of castles built by Kaziemierz Wielki (the Great) along what is now called (at least by my book about Poland) the Eagles’ Nest Trail in the Cracow- Czêstochowa upland which is a limestone mountain range formed in the Jurassic period. A number of castles were built on the rocky outcrops and now are picturesque ruins since they were destroyed by the Swedes in the 1650s.
Visiting these ruins was a nice way to stretch my legs after 2 1/2 hours in the car. The scenery is beautiful with fantastic shaped limestone formations, gorges, grass-covered hills and valleys. We were lucky to have a fantastic sunny day as well. This is definitely off the beaten path and isn’t set up for tourists at all. We just parked in a wide spot in the road below and walked up the hill to the ruins.
I saw that one of the castle ruins is presently closed but when open you can go inside and walk up a spiral staircase to the top, although it doesn’t look like that would add a whole lot more to the fantastic views you already have from the surrounding hills. This was neat for me as I’m not used to seeing much of anything in Poland that isn’t flat! I also like the way you’re allowed to walk around and explore at your own pace without a lot of restrictions. I saw a lot of cyclers - it looks like this is a popular area for bike trips.
After some hiking around the ruins we walked back to where I had parked and found a café. A lot of bikers were there having something to drink and enjoying the sun. We did the same for a while before continuing on our way to Katowice.