Slovakia 2007

What did we do

We went to Slovakia for 2 weeks in July 2007

10 of us went, flying to Poprad and Krakow and we were joined by 3 members of a Czech cycling club. It was planned around staying 2 or 3 nights at one location, exploring the local area before moving on. Distances averaged 40 miles a day giving plenty of time to take in all the sights.

We started in Poprad at the foot of the High Tatras mountains and visited the ski resort of Strabske Pleso, with it's ski jumps and ski runs. The views were extensive due in part to a hurricane that had torn down thousands of acres of pine forest a few years before.

Moving to Levoca, we sampled the thermal pools at Vrbov, where the sediment occluded the bottom of the swimming pools. A track to Levoca with fabulous views of the Spis town finished the day. From Levoca the rain fell in torrents and we sought refuge in a local pub with soup and coffee. Spisske Hrad is the most photographed view in Slovakia and we toured this crumbling castle before returning.

Onto Stara Lubovna, deserted roads and wooden villages in areas that few tourists visit. The city itself offered an interesting castle with a guide that spoke better English that we did and a museum full of houses from all over the country.

At Spisska Stara Ves we stayed at the hotel Eland with it's massive assortment of stuffed African animals. A day trip to Poland was noted for an excellent tea stop and a beautiful cycle along the river watching the rafts full of tourists. Myself, Daffyd and Lyn had time to join them, and very memorable it was too.

Onto Spisska Nova Ves and one of those happy coincidences as we caught the Kesmarock town fair. Filled with stalls, musicians and lots of sharp pointy objects, we all had an interesting 3 hours soaking up the culture. Close to Spisska Nova Ves is the Slovakian Raj National Park and we took a day walk through the ravines with the aid of ladders, bridges and footways.

We spent 3 days at Dedinky by the lake. Cycling south we tried to reach Hungary to bag another country but stopped at Roznava after a 14 mile descent. The climb back was unwooded and brought lovely views. Another day walk took us up a ski lift and through the hills.

Back to Poprad via Dobsinka Ice Caves, one of Europes few.

To summarise, a pretty area, we selected the best bits with 5 national parks. Roads were quiet and views were good, though a bit too wooded in places especially towards the south. If you avoid dumplings and stodge, the standard of food was good and yes the beer and wine were plentiful and cheap and most pubs offered latte's. There were plenty of things to see and everyone enjoyed these. Try it, it's an interesting place.

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