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Freedom in the land of enchanted rocks – Maciek’s story

Freedom in the land of enchanted rocks – Maciek’s story

He comes from the seaside, but chose the mountains.

Maciek is a man-institution in the Kłodzko Land. For many years he has run shelters on Mount Szczeliniec and in the village of Pasterka in the Stołowe Mountains. He is also the person behind the Mountain Festival in Ladek-Zdroj. He recently bought and restored to splendor an old, post-German guesthouse in Pasterka.

Where does his passion for the "land of enchanted rocks" come from?

Carte Blanche

Maciek was born and grew up in Gdańsk, but never felt fancy for the Polish sea. “In summer it is too cold, in winter there is no snow and it is windy all the time,” he says with a smile. He first sought his place on earth in the Bieszczady Mountains, then in the rocky valleys of Poland’s Jura.

He first came to the Kłodzko region for the mountain festival, held in the old spa town of Lądek-Zdrój. He fell in love first and foremost with the people.

In this corner of Poland after the post-war resettlements, everyone is somewhat new – so everyone can feel welcome. “Everyone who comes here has carte blanche, a bit like in the Wild West,” Maciek tells us. There was a time 15 years ago when it was possible to do business here in practically every field.


In the Stołowe Mountains

Maciek’s passion – a computer scientist by training – is running mountain refuges.

He rented the shelter on Szczeliniec Wielki, majestically suspended over a rocky precipice on the highest peak of the Stołowe Mountains, following an advertisement from a tourist organization. Around the same time, he also took over the shelter in the tiny village of Pasterka, located at the foot of the mountain.

Before the war, 2,000 people lived in Pasterka.

Today 12 live permanently. It is an ideal base for hiking in the area. In front of the shelter stands a symbolic tombstone driven into the ground. It commemorates the hearts of all those who left them here after long evenings by the fireplace and songs on the guitar.

Maciek's last major venture so far was buying a ruined family guesthouse in Szczeliniec.

Adapting it into an intimate hotel with original furnishings from the village, excellent food and acres of somewhat wild but charming garden all around.

The road to what Szczelinka is today was long and adventurous, and the cost of adaptation was enormous. Temporarily there was even… a Santa Claus office, using the name of the place, which in Poland is associated with Christmas (“Pasterka” in Polish is a traditional Christmas mass held at midnight on the night of December 24-25). However, the narrow road leading to Pasterka proved to be unsuitable for coaches with children.

Today, Pensjonat Szczelinka has 16 rooms of a high standard, a spacious common area with a huge bookcase full of books, and a restaurant with delicious in-house breakfasts and custom-made dinners.


Mountain community

The Andrzej Zawada Mountain Festival, organized by Maciek, is an annual event, attracting mountaineers, climbers and broadly defined “mountain people” from all over the world to nearby Lądek-Zdrój.

In this tiny town in the Kłodzko Land, Maciej hosted Alex Honnold (the hero of the famous film Free Solo), the winners of “golden checks” or four-time world champion in sport climbing Adam Ondra. From faraway Bolivia came the Cholitas – unusual rural women in colorful dresses who climb the Andes, putting the lie to patriarchal prejudices.



“I am still waiting for Reinhold Messner to accept the invitation," Maciek laughs.

Mountains - a state of mind?

Maciek has been betting on people from the beginning.

“If someone in town comes into a pub and asks strangers where you are from, they are considered crazy. In the mountains, this is an accepted custom,” he says.

The places run by Maciek attract people from different parts of the country who value freedom and independence the most in life. They form a close team, in which guests who feel the mountain bug themselves instantly find themselves. In the fairy-tale setting of the rocks that became the setting of the film The Chronicles of Narnia , you will find out for yourself whether mountains are a state of mind. Maciek, the crew and guests of Szczelinka have no doubt about it.

Read more about Pensjonat Szczelinka

Related Region: Glatzer Land