From the heart of Europe: Tour de Slovaquie (2)

From the heart of Europe: Tour de Slovaquie (2)

After a short break I set out to explore Slovakia again. The second part of my touring around my homeland was twice as long as the first part. Was it worth it? Absolutely

Day 8

I wanted to take a bus to the High Tatras but ended up hitchhiking.

My jaw dropped when I got the first lift within seconds! No sooner had I got into the hitchhiking position than the very first car stopped. Amazing.

Six rides with interesting people and a stop at one of the Slovak caves. All rides within 15-20 minutes!

Days 9 & 10

I went hiking with one of my close friends. Even though the weather wasn’t ideal it was so totally worth it.

The following day however. the weather was too bad to do pretty much anything outside.

Reaching the first checkpoint with my friend Milan
We made it to the Green Tarn
A reward? Or medicine to treat bad weather?
Day 11

After two days of not so good and plain bad weather finally a good day for hiking.

I loved being at the top where a foggy valley met clear sky slopes. And the sea of clouds was amazing.

How to sum up my hike? 1335 m up, 1445 m down, 24.7 km.

Rocky tarn with the view of Lomnicky Peak
The valley of Green Tarn
When a foggy valley meets a foggy free valley. At the top of Great Svišťovka
A beautiful tarn I don’t know the name of
Back at the Green Tarn with much better weather and views
Another beautiful tarn along the way back
Day 12

After the long hike previous day I wanted to have an easy day. I went to check out the castle and the ethnographic open air museum in Stará Ľubovňa.

The funny thing about these ethnographic museums is that some artifacts are all too familiar. My family and I used to have and use them not so long ago in our village. And now they are in a museum. In fact some might still be in use.

Open-air ethnographic museum in Stará Ľubovňa
Open-air ethnographic museum in Stará Ľubovňa
Open-air ethnographic museum in Stará Ľubovňa
Open-air ethnographic museum in Stará Ľubovňa
Open-air ethnographic museum in Stará Ľubovňa
Open-air ethnographic museum and the castle in Stará Ľubovňa
The stunning view from the castle in Stará Ľubovňa
Day 13

I hiked to Rysy (2503 m asl), loosely translated as the Lynx Peak. I had wanted to go there for two years at least. I finally did it.

It was the fifth peak in Slovakia and also the highest one I hiked to that month.

8 hours and 8 minutes round trip. Net hiking time 5 hours 8 minutes (2:50 to the top).

The weather was great for hiking but no so good for the views. Still amazing but for the crowds. Never before had I seen that many people at the top of a mountain solely accessible on foot.

It’s high time I started looking for those off the beaten places in my home country.

Hiking up to the Rysy Peak
Hiking up to the Rysy Peak
You can definitely take a bus up there instead of hiking. Biking down is also highly recommended.
There is no other mountain hut at a higher altitude than this one
At the top of the Rysy Peak looking at Poland
Hiking down from the Rysy Peak
Days 14 and 15

Another easy day after having hiked the previous day. I visited the Strážky mansion with a beautiful English style park.

On the following day I took a train to the city of Prešov and checked out one of the two largest cities in Eastern Slovakia.

Strážky Mansion
The city of Prešov
Day 16

The lack of backpacker accommodation in Slovakia made me change plans and look for different ideas. And so I ended up in the town of Humenné the previous night and decided to take a trip to nearby places.

Places which I wanted to see anyway but perhaps not while on this trip.

I hitchhiked to Ruská Bystrá first. There is one of the UNESCO listed wooden churches built in mid 18th century. Beautiful.

I hiked to Morské oko then, the only volcanic lake in Slovakia. The hike was in the Vihorlat hills. But it was so NOT worth my while. I will know better next time.

I hitchhiked in the morning. A Slovak, a Ukrainian and a Polish driver took turns to give me a ride. The Ukrainian one played some Ukrainian hits and the atmosphere made me long for a new adventure in Eastern Europe. Next time. And the Polish one took a detour to take me all the way to the church. How nice.

Going back I didn’t try stopping the first car because I knew it was full. However, they (a group of four Slovak youngsters) stopped by themselves and offered me a ride. I was like Whaaaat? For the first time in Slovakia. Being offered help when you don’t ask is the best. And the last 10 km was again with a Polish driver.

An unexpected day it was.

The UNESCO listed wooden church in Ruská Bystrá
Day 17

St Nicolas Church is a wooden Greek catholic church built in 1658. It sometimes feels like going to the end of the world.

My afternoon hitchhiking session was a bit of a nightmare but I made it.

The beautiful UNESCO listed wooden church in Bodružal
The interior of the church in Bodružal
Days 18 and 19

Košice. The second largest city in Slovakia. It was my third time there and I still liked it. My mom decided to join me and so she got to see this beautiful city for the first time.

Day 20 – The last one (or is it?)

I love Slovakia for her nature but if there are beautiful towns and cities, Bardejov is certainly one of them. One of the few that are UNESCO listed.

And I went to visit yet another wooden church. Hervartov, built in the second half of the 15 century.

In those 20 days I hitchhiked a lot. 51 rides in total. It was a good run, for the most part.

The stunning town of Bardejov, also UNESCO listed
The beautiful UNESCO listed wooden church in Hervartov
The interior of the church in Hervartov

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