Name: Nicolette Orlemans
Occupation: Communications Strategist
Current Location: NYC
“Near and Dear to my Heart..”
Welcome to the long awaited (at least for us) first installment of the ZakopaneGO Travelbloggers quickfire Q&A sessions, giving the lowdown on the best the city of Zakopane and Tatra Mountain region have to offer in the words of real jet-setters we all love and trust. We kick off the section with Nicolette, joining us for a chat all the way from the Big Apple.
Hi Nicolette! Thank you so much for taking part in our first ever ZakopaneGO Travelbloggers chat. Tell us a bit about yourself first.
Hi! I’m Nicolette Orlemans. Growing up in The Netherlands (in a small town called Oss in Brabant), I was exposed to travel from a very young age. My parents were avid travelers, and I was raised in a bilingual household with a Polish mom and a Dutch dad. I would often visit Poland to see my grandparents and other relatives, and travel throughout Europe. I currently live in NYC where I work as a communications strategist. I’m lucky to have traveled in Europe, seen much of the United States, visited the Caribbean and traveled to Egypt.
What would you say is the main factor which motivated you to start travelling?
My curiosity and encouragement from parents to explore and see our world!
As a travelblogger, you know how globetrotting can change a person’s life and open them up to new cultures, perspectives and experiences. What made you choose Zakopane as one of your pit-stops?
Zakopane is a place near and dear to my heart because of the times I spent there with my Polish grandparents. I vividly remember hiking and taking in the beautiful nature with them, and have great memories from summers together with them exploring.
What time of the year did you visit and why?
I’ve visited at different times of the year, because Zakopane lends itself to different activities all year long! The summer is great for hiking, while the winter can be great for sledding/skiing, and enjoying a brisk walk!
Brisk indeed – temperatures have been known to plunge way below -20 degrees Celsius which for people using the Fahrenheit scale is just below zero, meaning get indoors! Now, Zakopane has seen a boom in property development during recent years with countless new hotels and apartments being built. Where did you stay and how would you rate the facilities?
We stayed mostly with family friends. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the specific locations, because I was pretty young.
What would you say was the highlight of your trip?
One of my favorite spots in the Tatra Mountains is Morskie Oko (“Eye of the Sea”), the most beautiful lake in the mountains. Seeing it made a lasting impression on me. I also enjoyed spotting the Gorals, dressed in traditional clothing and celebrating their heritage.
What activities would you have liked to see made available to travellers visiting the region?
I think Zakopane offers a lot to people year-round, whether you enjoy hiking, or skiing in the winter. It’s a matter of taking advantage of the natural beauty, no matter which activity you prefer, and planning your trip accordingly! I would also recommend asking locals for their input on favorite activities. I find that locals can steer you into the right direction, whether you’re looking for good hiking recommendations, delicious food, or to explore the culture.
Food’s always good! My stomach tells me I should explore that side of tourism more often. Your favourite regional dish?
I love dumplings with sauerkraut and mushrooms! I grew up with them (enjoying them for every Christmas Eve in Polish tradition) and nothing can beat my grandma’s recipe!
I drank a lot of Blackcurrant juice when I was little, and it reminds me of the great memories with my family from Poland!
Ok, putting the cutlery aside for a moment, what else could the city improve on to enhance the experience of tourism in the area?
I think this Q&A is a great step! Word of mouth is a reliable way to entice people to visit an area, as you get direct feedback from others. When it comes to travel, I always turn to friends or bloggers for their input (the good and the bad)! Honest feedback goes a long way!
You’re one of the most capturing bloggers I’ve seen. What would be your top travel tips for people visiting the city/region?
I loved taking a ride on the Kasprowy Wierch cable car. My family enjoys remembering the time that I spotted a mountain goat while on the cable car from afar when I was little (and thinking it was a small dog)! Other great sites: Gubalowka, Morskie Oko. I would love to return and climb Rysy. My mom climbed it, and it was such a rewarding, empowering experience.
Aside from Rysy, which indeed is a spectacular spot, where’s next on your bucket-list?
This list continuously grows based on stories I hear from fellow travelers, and their lasting impressions of destinations. I would say Croatia and South Africa remain high on the list for the near future, though. But, the list changes almost weekly when I hear about new places, or read about particular countries!
Words of wisdom for the readers at ZakopaneGO.com?
When visiting Zakopane, be sure to capture the beauty of Zakopane through your photos and videos! You won’t regret it, and it’ll show others the stunning scenery that Zakopane has to offer. I would go back to explore Zakopane again now that I’m a bit older. It would be fun to relive the childhood memories!
Before we finish, we’d like your nomination for the next ZakopaneGO Travebloggers chat?
I would nominate Pola from JettingAround!
Nicolette, a massive thank you for joining us for this, very first, ZakopaneGO Travelbloggers chat, it’s a real pleasure chatting with you and sincerely hope you visit Zakopane again and get to conquer Rysy. In fact, for being such a great sport, we’d like to reward you with unlimited free accomodation on your next trip to Zakopane as well as a meal for two at the restaurant of your choice and a professionally guided trip to the Rysy summit. In other words, you can stay over, we’ll go eat something and I’ll show you the best way to reach the summit without getting eaten by a mountain bear. Fabulous! 😉 Hope to see you soon!
You can follow Nicolette’s adventures on her blog nicoletteorlemans.com or tune into the #CultureTrav chats on Twitter, every week on Thursdays at 14:30 ET. Alternatively, check out the CultureTrav Facebook group or follow the photoblogs.
Nicolette on Twitter
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Nicolette on Instagram
Nicolette on Zenfolio