Are you interested in seeing a great view of “old Poland” along with some of the new? Well, you can. The Trail (route) of Eagles’ Nests (in Polish, Szlak Orlich Gniazd) is a marked hiking/bike trail in southwestern Poland generally running from Kraków to Częstochowa. It is a chain of about 25 castles built in the 14th century by King Kazimierz the Great and marked and protect what was then the southern border of Poland. Most of the Castles (along with some other defensive watchtowers) were built high atop tall rocks and cliffs, hence the name “eagles’ nests.” The trail is about 161 kilometers (101 miles) long and is the most popular trail in Poland.
Would you like to visit it? Well, you can, from the comfort of your own home. A great video of the trail and its environ is posted you YouTube here: http://youtu.be/CQDx7yvI0IY.
Some of the castles are but ruins today, some restored, some in between. Some have activities, some just silently stand guard these hundreds of years later. The commentary in the 13-minute is in Polish, but that does not matter. Just sit back, enjoy the music, tune out the dialogue, and get a wonderful glimpse into the past and the present. Many of these places are not directly accessible by car and are definitely “off the beaten path.” Or, if you’d like, see some of the photos of these and learn a bit more in this Wikipedia article. However you do it, you owe it to yourself to take a few minutes to enjoy this wonderful footage, a glimpse into the 14th century, life in Poland, as well as a bit of today’s modern Poland. You will not regret the time spent.