We all know the saying “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”. In Poland, we suffered from undervaluing our homeland’s nature for a while. Fortunately, the trend has been quite opposite for a couple of years and more and more Poles appreciate the landscapes of the country we live in.
SOWA TRANSLATIONS HOUSE decided to go with the flow and to visit the Sowie [Owls’] Mountains. SOWA means OWL, so the choice of destination is pretty clear. The Sowie Mountains is a picturesque cordillera in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, a province of Poland located in the Southern West of Poland.
The most convenient way to get to the Sowie Mountains from Opole is by car. After a two-and-a-half hour drive, you literally dive into the green, because it is nothing but exuberant, straggly, untamed greenness that you can see. Like a wading boat, into the green dives my barouche.
Through waves of soughing meadow, as Mickiewicz, a Polish poet, wrote.
During our weekend excursion, we had a pleasure to be guests of Sokolec Guesthouse, an Alfa Tour’s agency, that has stolen our hearts with delicious, home meals and kindness of a host. The Sokolec Guesthouse lies on a green trail to the highest mountain in the cordillera – the Wielka Sowa [Great Owl] (1015 m n.p.m.).
It took us around one and a half hour to climb the Wielka Sowa mountain from the Sokolec Guesthouse doors. During the hike, you will notice how diverse the landscape of the Sowie Mountains is. It is so because of varied terrain sculpture. Rural sceneries of this exceptional cordillera can be admired on the trail as well as on top of the mountain. The Wielka Sowa cannot be mistaken with any other pitch as there is a beautiful, white observation tower with magnificent view. If the weather is good, you will see the Broumovské stěny, the Trzebnickie Hills and the highest Karkonosze’s mountain – Śnieżka, as well as the Śnieżnik massif.
It is up to us how long do we want to go down the mountain to the guesthouse as there are so many opportunities to continue our hike in the Sowie Mountains from the top of Wielka Sowa. We can choose the path to the Przełęcz Sokoła [Falcon’s Pass], the Mała Sowa [Small Owl] or the Kozie Siodło [Goat’s Saddle]. Depending on the chosen way, we would come across multiple shelters where we can get some rest of have a snack.
The Sowie Mountains are not all about hiking trails; also, there are multiple biking routes at the Sudety MTB Zone, as well as some ski slopes for winter sports’ enthusiasts.
Most of all, the Sowie Mountains are silent keepers of numerous secrets. Inside them, the German Nazis started drilling Riese – Giant that happened to be the baldest mining enterprise in the history of the Third Reich. The aim was to build an enormous complex of buildings both under and on the surface of the Sowie Mountains. The purpose of those facilities is still unknown. We also do not know the scale of the Riese Project as it has not been fully discovered yet. The Riese Mystery still lies in the Sowie Mountains, waiting for someone to solve the puzzle.