Acting Together We Can Do More: A Few Words About INTENSE Integration in Zakopane
For us, the beginning of September was an unique time - INTENSE Group's annual team-building trip.
Covering the route from Cracow to Zakopane, we arrived just before the radiant face of the Koscieliska Valley. There our hike began, culminating in a team cave race. On that day the sun did not relent. It was really hot.
After walking for hours in the relentless heat, we finally reached the mysterious cave openings hollowed in the rock, where our challenging race began.
Crawling in narrow, water-lined passages we had already mastered to perfection. Some groups enjoyed it so much that, despite many strenuous attempts to save themselves with a map, they decided to postpone reaching the finish line in favor of entangling themselves in numerous side corridors.
Practical elements of the cave chase included a quick course in helping an injured person and a lesson in navigating steep slopes. These training sessions enriched our knowledge of the principles of first aid in extreme conditions and the proper technique for navigating difficult trails. We are prepared to traverse these most demanding Tatra trails now.
After emerging from the depths, our eyes were greeted by the Koscieliska Valley once again. However, this time it was not the same sun-drenched panorama we had struggled through earlier. Now, it presented the unique landscape which attracts crowds from all over the world, perfect in all its splendor.
After descending and reaching the next stop on our hike, we had the privilege of meeting a remarkable individual who embodies all the qualities of Highland culture – the guardian of the mountain peaks, a person of extraordinary character and sheep grazing supervisor - Baca Janicek.
He conducted a quiz that exposed our limited knowledge of the Podhale Region world. However, some participants excelled in this competition by providing correct answers, earning crucial extra points for their teams in the quest to win the entire tournament. It's worth noting that the cave race was just one of the events included in the competition.
Another memorable part of the program was an outdoor picnic: a bonfire accompanied by a taste of local cuisine. It provided a pleasant moment of relaxation not far from the wooden restaurant, set in a lush meadow just below the forest.
For the exhausted mountain hikers, members of the INTENSE team awaited with meals at the uniquely designed Hotel Crocus. This modern Tatra-style hotel incorporates elements inspired by Japanese architecture, making it a truly interesting and refreshing place.
In the hotel's basement, guests had the opportunity to take a dip in a small pool, providing a refreshing break and a chance to relax tense muscles in the hot Jacuzzi, ensuring complete relaxation before the evening's main event – the grand feast.
The festivities commenced at 8:00 pm with an energetic performance by a highland band, featuring carefree contests and social games. The musicians showcased a wide range of instruments, including introducing us to the electrifying sound of the so-called 'goat,' an instrument that has gained popularity in Poland in recent years thanks to the Zakopower band.
The food served was full of local delicacies, of which the title of "silver platter" could easily have been won by: delicious, spicy braised mutton and tender, refreshing trout stewed with herbs.
Shortly after the concert, a series of games began.
The main competition was the Grand Competition for the title of Witch and Robber of the Evening. Such a high rank had to be earnestly earned, as each of us knew. No one lacked motivation and energy, and the competition challenges required advanced coordination, cunning and fitness.
The most exciting and at the same time demanding challenge was the Cossack dance endurance competition. This was the final clash, determining the true Robber of the Evening. The determination of the participants overcame pain and fatigue, and their struggles produced a spectacular show, bringing the audience to its feet.
The competition ended with the ceremonial presentation of titles and prizes. Moments later, the DJ played his energetic compilation of recent years hits, to which almost everyone responded by rhythmically storming the dancefloor. The marathon of office-competitive dancing lasted until 2 am....
The final highlight of the evening was a very successful karaoke concert, where the entire INTENSE team was able to prove that anyone can sing.
But this was not the end of the attractions.
During the second day of our integration, we played the role of detectives straight out of Dan Brown's books and deciphered the mystery of the design of Leonardo Da Vinci's legendary war machine. Despite the fact that it was a tournament organized on the following day, after these most exhausting activities, the participants were mobilized and ready for an INTENSive mental struggle.
Here our corporate escapade ended, leaving us with a lot of good memories.
We will eagerly await information about the next INTENSE Group trip, and we hope it will be as much fun as the integration in Zakopane, if not more
INTENSE Group team