Serene Slovakia - 14th May 2008 @ 6:10 pm «   »

Location: Slovakia : Serene Slovakia

Photos of Slovensky Raj here

On Tuesday morning we caught the 10:00 train from Bratislava to Poprad in the north of Slovakia. From Poprad local busses run to the countryside villages and it took about 30 minutes to Levoca, where we decided to stay.

The accommdation we chose ended up being just perfect. Oaza (meaning oasis) is not a hostel at all but a family home with a little guesthouse (2 double rooms with shared bathroom and kitchen) at the back of the main house. This was one of the best accommodation experiences we’ve had so far and we highly recommend knocking on the Dubecky family’s door whenever in town. The Oaza website.

The owner, Mrs Dubecky, is a very friendly and helpful lady who gave us great pointers of things to do and see in the area and even printed out bus timetables for us. We were planning to do a 1-day hike and she suggested the ideal hiking route through the Slovensky Raj National Park – complete with maps and brochures. The pictures looked amazing and we were real excited about our first proper outdoor experience on this trip.

The next morning we had to catch a bus to Spissky Svrtok (don’t even try to pronounce this one!) and then another on to Hrabusica, but there was no second bus.. We asked the locals but there were no busses to the Park entrance and they told us we would have to do the remaining 6km by foot. Not too happy about this, we started walking and hiking at passing cars – at least the scenery was beautiful with the road winding through fields of yellow flowers. About 10 minutes into our hike, a local couple stopped and offered to take us to Hrabusica where we just had to walk the last 2km to the entrance.

At the park we started the trail at about 12:40 and the first section took us up a river gorge – absolutely stunning! The trail starts next to a stream but as you accend it quickly gets more serious and large parts of the route are ladder- and chain-assisted. It is pretty cool but also very scary at times because at certain areas it is very high with a shere drop-off right underneath you. We followed the instructions we got and linked about 5 different routes, eventually leading us back to the valley, lasting a total of about 5.5 hours. We were absolutely knackered but had an amazing time and it was a great change from city sightseeing. It was everything we expected and more – really reminded us of the Tzitzikama hiking trail.

The Slovakian countryside is really beautiful with so much to offer. Part our train journey took us past the snow capped High Tatra mountains – an awesome sight! So far our entire route through the Eastern European countryside has exceeded our expectations – lush, green fields, beautiful mountains, great coastlines, stunning old towns and last but not least very friendly and inviting people everywhere you go!

If you can’t see the slideshow above click here.

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