Slovakian ways .:. Travelling during the times of corona (1)

Slovakian ways .:. Travelling during the times of corona (1)

The year 2020 has brought a lot of changes to my life. My plans crashed and I ended up staying in Slovakia, my home country, longer than I had expected. It’s not bad at all. A big plus is that I can explore Slovakia. I do it regularly, but there is more time for it now. It’s also safer than travelling abroad and I can support the local economy which was hit by a crisis.

As soon as some of the restrictions were lifted, I started travelling. I love travelling by train and so the idea of the first trips was to go around the country by train and perhaps stop at places I’d find interesting. No fixed plan. Let me outline some of the highlights of my first two trips.

This was the first train I took
Waiting for a third train
Another type of train, definitely not my favorite

Hiking in the Pieniny National Park

My original plan was to go to a different national park but after talking to my friend Janka I changed my mind. The Pieniny National Park is one of nine national parks in Slovakia and I hadn’t been there before. It’s located in the north of the country at the border with Poland and normally it’s packed with tourists. Janka advised me to take advantage of the situation and go there while the borders were still closed. And so I did. It proved to be a smart decision as there was virtually no one. Just a few bikers and perhaps two or three people walking.

Apart from hiking one can take a trip on a wooden raft through the Dunajec river gorge. I only went for hiking. The first part of the hike was the best. I hiked along the river through the gorge where I could enjoy some really amazing views. After that I hiked to the nearest village and up the hills only to continue downhill to make a loop and finish where I started. This part of the hike was far less interesting.

The face has to be covered on public transport

Practical information:

Place: Pieniny National Park

Village: Červený Kláštor

Transportation route I: A bus from Poprad (the largest city around) to Spišská Stará Ves and another bus to Červený Kláštor

Transportation route II: A train or bus from Poprad to Stará Ľubovňa and then a bus to Červený Kláštor

Dunajec river (Pieniny National Park)
Dunajec river (Pieniny National Park)
Pieniny National Park
Pieniny National Park
Pieniny National Park
My lunch: Potato dumplings filled with sheep cheese and topped with sour cream; Vegetarian, traditional and delicious

Hiking from the Horehronie region to the Gemer region

One of the main reasons why I wanted to go on this particular hike was to see the Chmaroš viaduct which a masterpiece of railway architecture in Slovakia. I had passed the viaduct while on a train and I wanted to see it from the outside.

The weather wasn’t very good that day, it was drizzling but I still did the entire hike. I took a train to Telgárt which is the closest town to the viaduct and started walking. There were a couple of nice spots along the trail.

First was the Chmaroš viaduct. Just a kilometre further up the road there was the source of the river Hron, Slovakia’s second longest river. The source of the river is at the foot of the Kráľova Hoľa mountain, a beautiful place, one can go hiking to.

I love watching the scenery from an open window of a train
Chmaroš viaduct near Telgárt
Hron is barely a river at this place
The source of the river Hron
The scenery is just stunning
The Kráľova Hoľa mountain is hiding in the clouds

Another place worth visiting is the Unesco listed Dobšiná Ice Cave, which I had been to before and so I didn’t go there while on this trip. It’s one of Slovakia’s two ice caves and it’s simply stunning.

After that I hiked through the Stratená canyon, which I found out about while doing this hike. Funny, right? It’s a kilometre long gorge along the Hnilec river and one can bike along, too.

At the end of the hike you reach the southern border of the Slovak Paradise national park which is full of gorges where hiking is an adventure of its own. In addition, there is the Palcmanská Maša dam and the scenery around the dam is gorgeous. This includes the Dedinky village, situated at the other end of the dam, which is one of the most picturesque villages in Slovakia. One can start exploring the national park from this very village.

Practical information:

Place: Regions of Horehronie and Gemer

Headtrail: Telgárt village

Destination: Dedinky village

Transportation route: A train or bus from Brezno (the largest city around) to Telgárt

Palcmanská Maša dam
A railway tunnel near the Palcmanská Maša dam
Palcmanská Maša dam
The village of Dedinky and Palcmanská Maša dam

A trip to the Herľany geyser

After the hike I was super tired and the weather wasn’t good so I decided it didn’t make any sense to stay in the area for another day and go on a another hike. Not having fixed plans, I ended up in Košice, the second largest city in Slovakia and decided I would finally go and see the Herľany geyser. I had wanted to go there back in 2012 but my timing wasn’t right.

Herľany geyser is the only cold geyser in Slovakia and one of eight in the world. The eruption takes place every 34 to 36 hours and so you cannot see it any time you want. The website of the village Herľany informs its visitors about the next eruption. It was going to work out for me this time although I did have to wait for a bit. And it was worth it.

Practical information:

Place: Herľany geyser

Village: Herľany

Transportation: A bus from Košice (the second largest city in Slovakia) to Herľany

The geyser before the eruption

Along the way

I am a keen fan of travelling by train and so I usually take trains while travelling. Here are a couple of photos I took while on a train or while killing time before taking one.

The city of Brezno
Kráľova Hoľa mountain
Baroque houses in Spiššská Sobota
Church of St. Juraj in Spišská Sobota
The Strečno castle
Taking a train to Poprad
Taking a fast train to Trenčín

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