Slovak Starry Nights - a weekend in the High Tatras mountains


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July 19th 2009
Published: July 26th 2009
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Slovak Starry Nights - a weekend in the High Tatras mountains



So this weekend I went on an impromptu trip with a group of friends to Zdiar, Slovakia, a quaint village nestled among the stunning High Tatras mountains near the border of Poland and Slovakia. Three of the seven of us, incuding myself, decided to leave right after class (as opposed to a night train that got there at 6 AM, not recommended). A note on train travel: a disadvantage of day trains is they often involve a lot of transfers. We had a total of 3 transfers, and then 1 bus and a taxi to get to Zdiar.) Finally got up to the village around 1 AM and somehow found our destination, the Ginger Monkey Hostel. We were greeted by a friendly fellow-hosteler Kate who was temporarily running the desk. Kate gave us a mini -tour and brewed us some hot black tea with honey, which hit the spot. After we got settled, Harrison, Will, and I went outside in the cold mountain air. The sky was one of the blackest I've seen and the stars were remarkable. We stood there for a good 20 minutes searching for constellations
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picture courtesy Jennifer Broeker
and had a shooting star sighting competition. It was amazing.

Slept like a rock. Awoke to the sounds of the other four from our group arriving, and went down to the complementary breakfast of bread and heavenly nutella (fyi nutella is a chocolate spread popular in Europe that is absolutely amazing). Met Jimbo, the laid-back Austrailian and owner of the hostel, who gave us the run down on popular hiking trails and suggested we should try the "easiest one," known as the Saddle. As I waited for the rest of the crew to get dressed, I walked around with my camera and interviewed Jimbo, Wallie the dog (the hostel sweetheart), and other hostel residents. 20 minutes later we set out on the hike. As none of us had really expected to do any hard core hiking before this (Zdiar was a random recommendation from a hostel owner in Bratislava), none of us had brought anything except our wimpty nett tennis shoes. Thankfully, I was able to borrow a pair of hiking boots from Jimbo's girlfriend, which I think ended up practically saving my life.

The hiking was some of the hardest I've done in my liufe, steep, rocky, muddy, but beautiful. The pictures speak for themselves. 8 hours later we returned and crashed immediately, even night owls like myself.

The next day we set off with out new friends, Matt and Alyska (Austrailian chiropractors traveling for 1 year from Melbourne) to go horseback riding. 2 hours later....we finally found the lady who was organizing it but ended up the deal was riding horses around a children's ring, and none of us wanted to do that. Walked nearby and rode this giant toboggon slide which was fun, then played presidents on the cement until the bus came.

Back at the hostel, Jimbo and his crew had prepared us a giant barbeque in celebration of our 4th of July, which was super nice considering he's Austrailian. As we sat and ate the best food I'd had all trip, we had a contest to name every "famous Jack." which was great fun, and then played King's Cup with Dutch fellow hostelers, which was......well....no comment.

Road the train back with Will and Sophia and finished "The Unbearable Lightness of Being." Bittersweet.







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