OK, so this year we decided to visit Białowieża - small village in the center of the Białowieża Forest, on the border of the National Park. The Forest is what is left of an ancient forest that covered most of the Europe before it was cut down to make place for agriculture. Unfortunately - for most of the time weather was not cooperating. We had only two days with sunny spells, other then that it was either snowing or not, but the sky was a lead sheet hanging just above the tree tops. Bad light, which means it was hard to take good pictures, especially when the subject is high contrast - dark trees and white snow. * This is part of the tourist path through the forest - on the platform raised about half meter to meter above the ground. We are close to small river (Narewka) that now and again floods the area. Still no Sun, but at least sky is no longer flat. This is a large group of oaks, if memory serves me well some of them are over 400 years old. If memory serves me wrong - those old ones are 10 minutes on legs from here. After three days of walking in the fog - Sun at last! First only traces through the trees but later it was bright and nice: * Open air museum of old architecture typical for the area: * And small orthodox shrine in the museum: Speaking of old buildings - this one is probably one of the oldest exisiting in Białowieża. Wiki calls it a Hunters Mansion, but from what I remember it was a head office of the Russian administration, before the Tsar Palace was build. Possibly no contradiction here, as it could serve both purposes at different times. Tsar Palace was destroyed during and after WWII and after, only some buildings of the complex are left, one of them is the Palace Gate that I posted in a landmark thread few days ago. As usual we take pictures of everything that moves or flies. One of those two has a red belly, the other one has a correct beak: Lots of traces on the snow, small, large, old and new: but none large enough. Let's face it - we came here not to look at old buildings or small birds. We came here for a large animal. If you are lucky, if you have a lot patience and time, you can walk the forest till you find them - several herds, several hundreds of animals together, are walking in the wild. They were almost extinct after WWI, only about 50 animals in ZOOs were left, now they have been moved from Endangered to Vulnerable category. They may look familiar - but they are not American bisons, they are European bisons or wisents (żubr in Polish). We had no time to walk the forest long enough (about 100 square kilometers, that's not a task to be treated lightly), so we went to see them in Show Reserve. Female posing for a picture: We could not take a good picture of male, he was too busy wrestling a birch trunk to pose: * And finally evening came and I took another picture of Sun close to the horizon - I think it is third in the last six months. As usual, Marzena's pictures marked with the asterisk.