Everywhere you turn in zakopane there are cheese stalls called Oscypiki. Oscypiki is a smoked sheep’s cheese and is produced exclusively in the Tatra mountain area of Poland. The stalls that sell it are found all over in Zakopane and along side the roads in the area. The cheese comes in bread roll shapes with patterns around it, or small individual pieces. I did try a piece, but I didn't like it.
Strange things they sell everywhere
Right after arriving in Zakopane, you will notice that old people sell strange little "things". These things look very nice, to me they appeared like big sweets or candies. It seems like their shape has been carved. I once bought such thing and started eating it, while I thought it would be something sweet, filled with cream or jam. Surprisingly it was salty. The first bite was horrible, because I expected something totally different. Since I knew that the strange "thing" is smoked cheese, I started liking it: I can definitely recommend this Zakopane-cheese!
Gotta try the cheese
All along Krupowki Street, you'll see people selling cheese. I didn't even know what it was when I first saw it and when I asked the seller what it was, she didn't speak any English. I thought it was something sweet, maybe a cookie or something and finally I asked a passerby who spoke a little English and he laughed at me and told me it was cheese. He recommended a try the smoked sheep's milk cheese called oscypki, which is the most traditional here in Zakopane. It was good and combined with some beer, would make a great and cheap lunch.
If you like yogurt and you like fruit, then it's a pretty safe bet that you'll like these fruit and yogurt shakes that they sell in Zakopane. I'm not sure if they are exclusive to Zakopane, but I didn't notice them elsewhere in Poland. I tried one from a place on Kuprowki and it was good, although I prefer a regular milk shake or a fruit smoothie.
Old Cemetery Mystery
In the Old Cemetery most of the tree trunk tomb markers had carved niches. Within were individually styled Christ figures but all had a few common features. The figure is in a seated position, holding his head in his hand. They all seemed inexplicably sad. I tried to discover their meaning or history to no avail. If anyone knows I'd love to hear from you.
Thanks to my VT friend Ewa (evaanna) the mystery has been solved. She writes:
The wooden sculpture you write about represents Christ the Sorrowful and is a typical folk motif in the area. In it Christ grieves at the wickedness of the people and the world in general.
- Arts and Culture
Respect and enjoy
Some locals are trying to earn extra money by entertaining tourists. This one is playing violin on Krupowki Street and very often you really should listen to them as it's the real folk music. Well, as real as it can be.
Quite often there are local musicians playing in restaurants too. Proud of their culture they want to share it with everybody.
Zakopane is a place where people preserve and pursue the tradition and culture: songs, dancing, speaking in dialect and mountaineer craft.