April 8, 2012. We drove from Ostrava to Slovakia and as we passed through the mountains around the border area, it started to snow. The forests were so beautiful. As we descended, it stopped snowing. There was a statue on top of a mountain in the distance and my friend said that is Radegast, a Slavik god. We passed by the new Strečno castle and the old Strečno castle, both are ruins. We stopped by the Bešeňová spa and it was €9 for 2 hrs. I went into every pool and there was a classical group performing live (a small string orchestra with piano, guitar, singers, etc).
We stayed in Poprad with a family and they had a traditional fireplace in the middle of the living room which did not have the usual glazed ceramic on the outside; it was made simply out of cement with bricks on the inside. This type of fireplace is like a rectangular box about 5 feet high in the middle of the room, and it has a shaft that is not straight which allows the bricks to absorb the heat and retain it for a long time. The hole for putting wood in is
April 9, 2012. My friend and I went to Tatra Mountains. Just the view of it from Poprad was incredible. The first set of cable cars is free for everyone and it takes you up to the ski slopes. We met a lot of Hungarians. It was the only set of mountains left that had snow so there were a lot of people coming from everywhere to ski. It is very very rare to have a completely clear day so that you can see the peaks of Tatra Mountains. Because it was very clear when we got there, all the tickets to go up the second cable car to the peak were already sold except for one and so I had to go up top alone. I saw all the peaks of Tatra Mountains and the peaks of very distant mountains around. It was about -20°C at the top. There was an area you can sit inside which also had a bar. On the outside, there were viewing platforms. When I came down, my friend and I hiked 12 km down the mountains (instead of taking the first cable car), and we went through forests, waterfalls and spring thawed creeks. The last part of the hike was through a dead forest. What happened was that spruce trees (not native) were planted, there was a heavy wind storm, and all the trees fell so it became a dead forest. We also went to Štrbské pleso (Strba Mountain Lake) and ended up lost in a national park (Mala Fatra, I think) where we came across a whole community of houses that were 4X4m2 in size.
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