Vysoké Tatry (Slovakia) 2016

After a long time I visited Slovakia again. Since my husband was from Slovakia, I used to spend a lot of time there in the past but since we got divorced I haven’t been there for a long time. So when my friend Jana offered me to go there with her and some other friends, I happily agreed.

As the departure was early in the morning on Wednesday, September 7th from Blansko, which is a small town near Brno, Jana offered me that we could sleep at her mom’s place in Brno. So on Tuesday, right after work,  I traveled from Prague to Brno.

Jana picked me up at the station and one of the first things she told me was not to touch anything as in Brno there is huge epidemic of  hepatitis. Awesome! Especially for someone with transplanted kidney. I was trying not to touch anything but in a overcrowded public transport it was pretty much impossible.

Therefore when I first met Jana’s mom in her flat I apologized not to shake her hand as I had to wash my hands first. I met her for the first time despite we have been friend with Jana for ages. It was very nice meeting and her mom was very friendly. So we talked and talked, had dinner and talked, then had some green tea and talked and then went to bed as we had to wake up early the following day.

Day 1 – Wednesday, September 7th

On Wednesday we had to travel by train from Brno to Blansko which took around half an hour and then I met the first of Jana’s friends Renata, who picked us up at the train station. When we arrived to the bus that was supposed to take us to the mountains, we met many (for me) new people.

At 9 am we officially started our journey to the mountains. I must say that despite we were traveling around 9 hours with few stops for toilet and lunch, it was passing by very fast. Maybe the fact that I was most of the way playing my favorite games and listening to music on my ipod helped it a lot 😀 I actually got addicted to for me new game Plants vs. Zombies, if you don’t know it yet, you should try it.
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Around 6 pm we finally arrived to Tatranská Lomnica where our  Hotel Titris was. Me and Jana were supposed to share the hotel room so we picked up the key and went there. I liked the hotel from the beginning, it looked nice, the room was big enough for two people, it had it’s own bathroom and toilet and very nice view. What else do you need?

Well, in my case it’s food. I need good food and lots of food (unfortunately). When we came to the restaurant where our dinner was being served, I was surprised, there was lots of various kinds of meals, soups, fruits, vegetables, salads, sauces, pastry, name it…And everything was delicious. I was happy.

During the first dinner I met people who decided they will make a group and will be going hiking together. “The leaders” were a couple of mountain veterans Vlasta and Jiří, who were both 70+ and were very nice. Then there was Renata and others, together we were group of 10 people

Day 2 – Thursday, September 8th

In the morning I woke up at 6:30 and it surprised me how fresh and rested I felt. Well, probably mountain air. I loved it. So me and Jana prepared, went for a (huge) delicious breakfast and joined the rest of the group.

We started our first trip with taking the cable-railway from Tatranská Lomnica to Skalnaté pleso. The view was just amazing. It took around 15 minutes and then finally the proper hiking started. Jiří and Vlasta had great idea that the first day we will do just gentle trip as we don’t know each other’s condition so just to prevent someone not being able to finish it.

As I said, we started at Skalnaté pleso and went to Hrebienok. The nature, the view, everything was just amazing.

As I had to buy lots of stuff for hiking right before the trip, I was afraid if everything will be ok. I also had shoes which looked good and were pretty expensive (Salomon) but I had them on just twice before and so was a bit afraid if they will fit even in these conditions. But I must say it really surprised me how comfy they were and together with the new trousers, bag, cap, jacket it made this trip even better.

I was also very happy for the group. We were from 16 to 78 of age but none of us saw a problem in it during the whole stay in Vysoké Tatry. I would say the very opposite. We always had million things to discuss, always had fun, and were laughing a lot.

When we came to Hrebienok, we decide to have some small refreshment and to take rest. Most of us had kapustnica which is a traditional Slovak soup made of sour cabbage, sausages and tons of other ingredients. I totally love this soup so I decided to have it as well. It was pretty good but not as good as my mother-in-law used to cook.

When we were stuffed and rested, we decided to continue. The next target was Sliezský dom.  The way from Hrebienok to Sliezský dom was really uphill and full of big stones we had to climb up and down so despite passed only around 10 – 12 kilometers, I already started to feel my hurting legs. So when we came there, I was more than happy and was glad that we could sit, despite it was very windy and cold there.

I had an orange juice and power bar which really helped me a lot and then we were able to continue again. As some of us wanted to go to spa in the evening, we decided to take shorter route to the train in Starý Smokovec. It took us probably around 1,5 – 2 hours (by the way in Vysoké Tatry the distances are always displayed in hours not in kilometers) to get there and then we took the train to Tatranská Lomnica.

Overall we did around 18 kilometers in 5,5 hours with 648 meter incline. Not bad for the first trip. As a reward, we went for a great dinner and after that we went to spa which was part of our hotel and each guest got one entrance for free. So we were really enjoying the swimming pool, whirlpool, toboggan and even sauna. When I came to our room, I just touched the bed and slept immediately.

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Day 3 – Friday, September 9th

During the dinner on Wednesday we decided that on Friday we will do the most difficult hike so Jiří and Vlasta suggested to go to Bystrá Lávka. I had no idea what hell was awaiting us.

In the morning we started with train going to Starý Smokovec where we changed for another train to Štrbské pleso. There it was very nice but it was clear that it is touristic place as there were many people and stands with souvenirs etc. I bought the postcard there for my grandparents.

At the beginning there was a huge map where Jiří was showing us where we were going.

The first target was waterfall Skok. We were walking pretty fast as the way was quite pleasant at the beginning and not really hard.

It all changed when we came to the waterfall and someone said “Do you see those little dots above the waterfall? Those are people who climbed it. And we are going to do it as well.” Aha…

It was terrible climbing and at before the top I had to use the chains for the first time in my life to be actually able to climb it. I was scared as hell but I managed and then it was awesome feeling.

And then we saw this…

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…I don’t know how it was called but it was very beautiful. So we made another short brake and then continued. Our next target was Čapie pleso but as we met few mountain lakes on the way, I am not sure which one it was exactly. Anyway, all of them looked awesome and I had strong urge to jump to any of them.

Despite it was really hard route, the views were just amazing and totally worth it.

But the real hell was only about to start…

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…never ending climbing to Bystrá lávka when I had to catch my breath after each 5 steps..I honestly thought I wouldn’t make it and really wanted to give up. However, it is not possible to give up there because where would I go? Back? Haha…

So I endured and managed to climb to the very top where again the chains were waiting for us and then I managed to cross to the other side of the mountain! (I was totally unable to take any pictures, might add them here if I get any from others). I was so happy at that moment that I actually did it! Unforgettable moment for me.

Our next target was Chata pod Soliskom. More or less it was downhill the whole time but to be honest it was not much better then climbing up. My legs were already totally destroyed and I think in one moment I was even in some stage of purely switching legs and forcing them to move.

When we came to the house, I was barely able to walk so I decided to use for the last part the cable-railway again, this time towards Štrbské Pleso. I was totally exhausted and was afraid that something might have happened to me. I was watching the others walking along the cable-railway.

I must say that despite taking the cable-railway for the last part, I was pretty happy and proud about how much I managed to walk and climb that day. I gave it maximum I could. Overall it was around 16 kilometers in 7 hours.

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Day 4 – Saturday, September 10th

As we all were pretty destroyed, we have decided to take it easy the last day and wanted to go from Popradské Pleso through Štrbské Pleso to Starý Smokovec. It was pretty easy and very nice walk with lots of talking, discussing and laughing.

On the way we visited Symbolický cintorín which is a place dedicated to people who died in the mountains. Despite it is very nicely done, it is pretty sad as most people who are mentioned there were young when they died.

When we came to Popradské Pleso, each of us had some small refreshment (well, small..depends…I had a large portion of chocolate pudding, someone had sweet dumplings with fruit and someone baked duck with cabbage and dumplings 😀 ). Then we slowly turned back and headed to Strbské Pleso.

At Štrbské Pleso we took the train to Starý Smokovec where we decided to have some sweet end of the trip. So we ended up in a local sweetshop and were really enjoying it.

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Then we decided that we actually were not walking enough that day and so we decided to walk from Starý Smokovec to Tatranská Lomnica to use the gained calories. It was around 6 kilometers and it was very nice and relaxing fast walking. The whole trip was around 18 kilometers in 6 hours.

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When we came to the hotel we ate the huge dinner and decided to go to wellness again, despite this time we had to pay for it. But it was totally worth it.

Day 5 – Saturday, September 10th
The previous day we decided that me, Jana and Renata would go running in the morning just to enjoy the mountain air and atmosphere. So we woke up at 6 and went for it. When we started, after few hundred meters we split as each of us wanted to run different way. But in a very short time after that I met a deer in the middle of the street. I feel really sorry for not taking picture of it as I never saw this animal from such a close distance and to be honest I was really scared so I just turned around and continued the opposite way.

Anyway, I managed to run a bit more than 4 kilometers in 33 minutes and was really happy that I forced myself and went for it.

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As this was our last day, we left the hotel after the breakfast. On the way we stopped at one farm where almost all of us were buying some cheese products or fresh baked sweets and pastry.

And I totally fell in love with the animals there…

The rest of the journey was not very pleasant as I was travelling very long in really hot and sunny weather and came home at around 9 pm which means that I was travelling almost 12 hours. Next time we agreed with Jana that we might take a direct train from Prague to Poprad.

Next time? Yes, definitely next time because I loved this few days vacation. I really liked the people, the atmosphere, the mountains and last but not least the challenges that mountains offer. If I am able to come, I will come here next year again.