Kiri and


Ah mountains, how we’ve missed you

June 6th, 2014 (by Steve)

Satnavs are never wrong. Ever. Points of interest that you’ve loaded into them are also never wrong. Ever. And routes chosen to get to said points of interest (in this case a campsite) are never wrong. Ever. And it is precisely for these reasons that we found ourselves on a narrow path which looked like it had been broken up by the result of some tectonic plate movements, whilst being brushed on all sides by trees. But we were definitely going the right way and there would definitely be a campsite at the end of it. There wasn’t. Hey, at least we didn’t have to go back the same way… oh, wait, yes we did!

What with both the campercontact POI and the TomTom POI for our planned campsite leading us to places which wouldn’t remotely look like campsites, even if you screwed up your eyes really tightly, we did what anyone in our position would do; retire to a Lidl car park to re-assess and get online. Alas, there was no internet signal, so we winged it and stopped at the first campsite we saw at the side of the road. The access to it was… ummm… a bit of a steep descent, but the price was right and after a conversation in a mix of Slovakian, German + English (conducted whilst stroking a lovely dog who gave us a very enthusiastic welcome), we realised that we had somehow landed ourselves on a beautiful terraced campsite next to a stunning reservoir. A great place to spend our first night in Slovakia. Spontaneity 1, planning 0!


The following morning, we soaked up the surroundings, topped up and emptied the necessaries and had a couple of slightly disappointing showers before trying to leave. Yes, I used the word “trying” there. Bertha doesn’t like going up hills. Especially when her engine’s not fully warmed up. On the first attempt, we got half way up the hill before stalling, so rolled back down to get a bit of a running start. The second time was better (with a little more choke), getting us up to the corner, where once again we stalled (this time, my bad clutch control after a bit of wheel spin). Back to the start (where the campsite team were watching this amusing spectator sport). This time, Kiri got out and ran ahead of Bertha, which seemed to be the motivation that Bertha was waiting for, as she made it all the way to the top, with no problems at all. We were on our way and boy, did we have some lovely views during the drive.


Our destination was the ski resort of Tatranska Lomnica, with the promise of a free car park. This time our trusty TomTom didn’t let us down and after a quiet night in the shadow of the mountain, it was time to explore. Now I’m not sure whether our previous blog posts, photos or videos of the trip so far have fully communicated how much Kiri loves mountains? It’s a lot and as we were so close to this one, there was no getting out of climbing it (not that I really wanted to get out of it). Ideally we wanted to get to the very top (Lomnický štít), but with no walking routes and at a cost of 26 Euros each to use the cable car from the 2nd station (Skalnaté Pleso) up to the peak, we decided instead that we could cope with just hiking up to the 2nd station.

It was a stunning walk and the weather was just right; a mix of sunshine and cloud (with the occasional spot of rain) ensured that we didn’t get too hot, but that it was nicely pleasant. Rather than taking the most direct route, we chose to walk across the mountain to Hrebienok, then up from there. This provided us with mainly forest walking throughout the 11km hike (it sounds more if you write it in kilometres rather than miles!) on a path reinforced with large boulders. There were some awesome, thundering waterfalls on the way and some cracking viewpoints from which we could (almost) spot Bertha hundreds of metres below us (898 to be precise once we were at the top). Actually, we didn’t make it to the “proper” top, but we did get to Skalnaté Pleso, which gave us some pretty good views up to the peak.


And here came our dilemma… we had to get back down. Now I’ve got a dodgy knee (after an accident with some Heelys 8 years ago… don’t ask!) and even with the use of walking poles, going downhill is quite painful. However, a single ticket on the cable cars down to the car park came to 13 Euros each. Should we walk, or be carried? Kiri (with her greater fitness level than me and lovely knees) was up for walking, whereas I was up for being carried. We toyed with the idea of a compromise of separate descents (I bet you thought the compromise was Kiri carrying me!), but I wasn’t happy about Kiri on her own on a mountainside. She had a point when she said she’d done the whole coast to coast on her own, therefore she would have been fine in this situation too, but in the end she saw sense (can I get away with saying that?!). 26 Euros later, we were sitting in Bertha, replenishing our salt levels with crisps and nuts and replenishing lost fluid with a lovely local beer (as well as water – don’t worry Mum!).


We really have missed the mountains – don’t get us wrong, the flatlands of northern Europe have been beautiful – but mountains are something else.

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Snakes and ladders

Ah mountains, how we’ve missed you

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