A day off in pleasant Poprad today, before the bike ride starts tomorrow. I spent it doing an easy but very scenic hike in the Tatras in the fine company of Dewi, my hostel inmate.
These are the High Tatras (pic): 2650m peaks in a compact range just a few miles across, and conveniently accessed from Slovakia’s third city. They feel very alpine: you could be in some upscale part of Austria or Switzerland, especially when you look at the price list of the chalet restaurants.
But then getting food and beer along a trail up to 1500m with no road access isn’t straightforward, and indeed it’s one guy’s full-time job hiking up several times a day with a rack of four full beer crates on his back up, and the same down, but with empties. I doubt Deliveroo comes here.
It was a spectacular and very rewarding five-hour round trip (pic), from the electric train station at Starý Smokovec up to Zamkovského chata (Zamkovsky Hut) – at 1475m, the lowest and easiest alpine hut in the Tatras. Back in Poprad, we celebrated in the way the locals prefer to eat: with a cheapo pay-by-weight meal in the local mall’s food court canteen.
It’s the big World Cup match tonight – Great Britain versus Slovakia in the ice hockey, the country’s No 1 sport – so I might go along to a local minipivovar and not really understand what on earth is going on but enjoy cheering for both teams anyway.