Archive for the 'Slovakia' Category

random babble

1. its difficult to revive a long-dead blog because I feel the urge/responsibility to fill-in the gap between posts in past… when wanting to write about now, I just automatically start thinking about those I should do, and I dont have time/feel for them, so I dont do shit… but lets see, maybe this time I can make it :)

2. Location update: I am in Slovakia. I came from Ghana in August, in August went to Cairo/Egypt for a week to see the wedding of Gannat Akef and use the chance to see Cairo and the White and Black Desert (www.picasaweb.google.com/klepo.egypt), in September I went for a week to Krakow/Poland and Lvov/Ukraine just to see Mia/Ania/chatbuddy and now I am again home in Vrutky/Martin/Slovakia looking for job or a suitable TN in HR in Europe

3. Today I walked through fog and wind on the top of a mountain above my town, it was so windy that even the deers could hear me :D I have faced a 2m tall male from like 10m and actually came as close as 4m to a pair of females! In both cases I just came from behind a fog covered curve and stood there staring at these beautiful animals. Sadly they always run away before I could take a picture :( But I took pictures of the foggy hill, will post tomorrow.

My travels in Slovakia

This map is here to show You an up-to-date status of my fooling around in Slovakia in the few weeks I have here between coming from Pakistan and before leaving again, this time to Ghana :)

Thus between 1.8.2008 and 20.9.2008…

To explain – orange lines are those trips I made hitchhiking and black are those that I walked/hiked.

See my pictures from these trips and their position on map here:
http://www.picasaweb.google.com/klepo.slovakia

DONE! I walked 185 km across Slovakia! (see pics)

See the map of the route I took.

Photos ARE AVAILABLE (like all my Slovakia pics) on my picasa at http://picasaweb.google.com/klepo.slovakia/WalkAcrossSlovakia.

Read details about the trip in the daily updates below…

Day 6: Sunday, Vysne Zahorany – Teply Vrch – Rimavska Sec – Lenartovce

Wake up time is 6 am… At 6.30 am I start heading for the village of Padarovce, screw all advices I stick to the official marked path. At the beginning its fine, but soon I run into dewberry bushes… First its annoying but rather easy to get through with the help of a stick and a little stomping, second time its little worse, the third is absurd… It takes me like 15 minutes to clear the path for me and still I have the dewberry thorns pulling on my shirt, trousers and bag and my trousers get a pattern of black and red juice on them.

Remember the “things are the way they are supposed to be…” part? I can no way imagine going this way at/after sunset, NO way. I am so glad I got lost :P The way to Padarovce doesnt take me 1h 15m as its written, but over 2 hours. And when I finally get there I realize that I have an old map and the path has been changed and doesnt go to Velky Blh but Teply Vrch… which means additional 5 km walk on the road to North (when all I want is to go South) :P

No other choice left but to start properly walk, I want to be in Lenartovce (a village on the Hungarian border) at 5 pm so I can get a train home. Well easy to say but its more than 30 km away… In Teply Vrch there is a dam where I went once during a summer holiday for a swim, I try to get closer to water but its all fenced out and “only for hotel guests entry” marked, so I give up and keep on going.

Now comes the final reckoning. Soon my feet start hurting, lots (thats more than just “a lot”).

I stop every few minutes / 100s of meters to get a breath and give my shoulders and feet a moment of relief. The road is unending, unchanging – little bit up, little bit down, straight into nowhere, leading from nowhere, trees lining it on left, also on left, enter small village, leave small village, sun, no clouds, feet hurt, need to stop again.

its so hot I can write my name in asphalt on the road

After what feels like ages (4 hours) I get to a bigger village where for a while I am two “Slovak” boys who dont know anything in Slovak language except of “wallet” and “fifty” – they asked me for money… Damn, they would not even know how much the money is worth if it didnt have the value also in numbers :P I think they finished up on the wrong side of the border…

Last 9 km is slow but the goal is in sight. And I get to Lenartovce. A lost village with only one pub that opens at 5 pm. I arrive there at 4 pm. My train is at 5 pm. Train station is like 1 km out of the village. It. Takes. Ages. To. Get. There. My feet are have found their limit.

The station is a monument… Its big as a station in a proper town. It also was for years the border station between Slovakia and Hungary, but now with EU and Shengen its just a useless big, empty building with only one guy who checks on the trains and even nobody to sell tickets. The guy was upset when I asked for the keys from the toilet said something about bushes all around the station and that he wont bother with everybody who goes around. Actually there was only one more passenger so it would not be that much work :)

I take of my boots and put on sandals. My feet look like Your hands after a few hours of swimming. They hurt and will for quite a while longer.

I have not used the stupid 4 kg tent a single time. I still have food left. Stupid.

I am glad its over. I did it.

Day 5: Trstie – Polom – Klinove – Vysne Zahorany – ? – Vysne Zahorany

So I am officially changing the route, I am taking the shortest path to the border. Most of the day I will spend walking the Route of Maria Czeczi – gravel roads across or on the edge of forests.

Couple of times I get lost, loosing the path despite very good marking, but I am always back on track within few minutes. The road is more or less the same the whole day – through leaf forests, following edges of forests where it meets with fields, nothing really demanding, a very easy day it looks like, but still nice views – good for getting back into shape. Also one part of walking the road, but pretty acceptable.

Before Vysne Zahorany I run out of water and with a dry mouth ask locals for some. This is the village where I am supposed to part with the Route of Maria Czeczi and head for the village of Velky Blh. I meet some local guys at the pub and get into a talk over beer. They promise to show me a shortcut if I have a few smokes (fun stuff) with them. When we finally move its nearly 7 pm. After a while I find out that their “shortcut” is actually the same length as the normal road thus at least another 1,5 hrs await me! I skip the smokes, let them explain me (couple of times) the road and go… and get lost immediately. You know if You meet a “visual” (learning style) guy like me, it doesnt really help him to explain the road, he needs markings and directions and stuff, not just words :P

But they have shown me the direction I am heading (“You have to go that way!”), so as I try to keep walking that way, first on the road in forest, than on the path in the forest, than between the trees in the forest. No markings, sun is starting to set and I have only a vague idea of which way to go. After like half an hour of walking (I think I can see road down there, it must be the one they talked about…. walk walk walk, crap its not road), part even steeply down the hill, I again realize that I am lost. Nearly dark, no clue where am I, its time for the good old – lets go back where You came from! Well the difficult part is that there are dozens of smaller or bigger paths crossing in the forest, so what do I do? Well follow the light :) So heading for the flickering of the setting sun I go. On the way I even bump into a hunters post that I saw on the way before and even climb up and think if to stay there for the night. But the idea of walking-by bears doesnt make me feel too comfortable, caution wins over feeling of “lets have an adventure” and I keep on staggering to the edge of the woods.

At the end I am in a half gallop, tripping on fallen branches, but I do get out of the trees… to find myself close to a lonely house with random cows and an electrically charged fence to keep the cows in. After a little walking around to avoid an uninvited shot of energy I pass by the house with barking dogs and go to the field above it. From there I see that I am less than 1 km away from the village I started from more than an hour ago – Vysne Zahorany… but first I need to get through a wheat field, muddy spring, grass and a corn field. So I start going… sadly I find out that it was not a normal grass, but sting-grass and with my arms itching and in pitch dark I arrive to the village. A surprised local meets me (he saw me leaving more than hour ago) and suggests that I sleep in the hay storage few meters away. The guy is very helpful (brings me water and offers help), too helpful, so I rather put my money in my sleeping bag :)

To finish up the day I suddenly wake up because I can hear some strange noises close to me… Dog? Too small. Cat? Still too small. Rat? Crap, might be. I make a random go-away sound and take a flashlight… to find out its a hedgehog who decided to sleep less than 2 meters away from me. After I made him twice blind with my photocamera he got pissed off and left :)

Day 4: Friday, Nizna Klakova – Sitarovo (?) – Nizna Klakova – Muran – Trstie

Well today was clearly a punishment for bragging about bad marking of paths and getting lost. It fully proves the theory that “everything is the way it is supposed to be… its just us, humans, who think it should be different” – fate changes my plans but at the same time takes care of me.

In the morning I got out of the tourist shelter on Nizna Klakova at around 8.30 am. I have asked the horse herdsmen¬† which way to go to Sivakova (my next stop), they showed me so I started that way. But after like 20 meters without a single marking confirming the direction I came back to confirm, they have again repeated their claim so I thought “they work here, so there surely know”. Also in the notes from other tourists in the shelter it was written that there were fallen trees and the path was not clear… Well there were no trees here but path was surely unclear. So I walk, and walk… After half an hour down the hill I find myself on a crossroad and still no marking… crap. Left? Right? Crap*2! I might be on Sivakova and am supposed to go left now, or I am on a completely different place and any route except of going back is a way to get lost even more. So I finally decide to turn back – the only thing that gives me energy while climbing up the hill back to the meadow is designing the exact swearing I will tell the herdsmen who advised me so well, I even consider that if they are not around to listen to me I will write a nice message for them on the door of their hut next to the fence where the horses sleep. It takes me more than an hour to get back to Nizna Klakova.

There is nobody on the meadow, I try every possible direction to look for the beginning of the path I am supposed to take but no marking at all are to be found. I can hear the bells that some of the horses have mounted to their necks, take a map and decide to look for the herdsmen and get some proper information. When I finally locate them, “surprisingly” they actually have no clue – never been to the place where I was going, its just that some tourists have told them its that direction (#$%* !). Frustrated I skip the swearing plan and decide that instead of risking the route again I will take a different path – going around Tisovec to the village of Muran, thus loosing 2 hours compared to original track plan. And again “surprisingly” even here the marking is so bad that I get off the path and take a route to Muran which is half an hour longer.

When I finally get to the village of Muran its already 1 pm. I find a place where I can have a hot soup and sit down to replan my next steps so that I can join the planned route -¬† to the hill of Trstie. I take delight of two cold Kofolas (www.kofola.sk) and start the 4 hours walk of dusty/stony roads across forests to Trstie. I find signs informing me that its actually a tourist path following a 16th century road between the towns/castles of Muran and Filakova called the Route of Maria Czeczi. VERY well marked I have to say. There is hundreds of places where You could possibly go off the path but there is always a well place mark pointing the right direction. When I finally get to Trstie and feel like giving up I see a sign saying “Tourist shelter – 10 m” – things are the way they are supposed to be :)

I get ther and its not actually a shelter but a proper big cottage with ironcovered closed windows, but that doesnt matter, I can sleep on the veranda and there is a spring with drink water.  When I am nearly ready to lay down the owners arrive РI am feeling pretty awkward, but I ask if I can stay. They say that I can even sleep inside РI still feel awkward. Only after a while I realize that these guys are actually members of the Slovak tourist club and the cottage is not private as I thought but belongs to the club and is just in reconstruction. They actually offer accommodation there for 50 SK (2 USD) per night! But because its in reconstruction I can sleep for free :)

I sit down again, take the map and realize that I am late compared to plan by more than 5 hours (I was to be on Trstie at noon time). So I decide to change the route and take the closest way to the border – finishing in the village of Lenartovce on the Slovakia-Hungary border. That means some 3 dozens of kilometers of walking on the road, yack! But I dont see any other way to finish on time (On Tuesday I have to be in Prague because of my Ghana visas).

As “bed time stories” the guys share their stories of encounters with bears. Looks like there is too many of them now and they are less and less afraid of people. When I finally go to sleep I realize I am happy that I dont have to sleep outside :D