High and White Tatras

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September 23rd 2011
Published: September 23rd 2011
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Friends from Yorkshire joined us in Zakopane. On our final day, we woke to heavy mist. Will it clear? Maybe, they said, maybe not. Undaunted, we headed for the mountain lift which was ominously quiet. What did everybody else know? The car slowly climbed through thicker and thicker mist and then popped out into a sunny day with mountain peaks all around.

We spent the rest of the morning walking on the border mountain ridge (left foot in Slovakia, right foot in Poland) enjoying wonderful views of mountains all around. We descended back to catch a late bus into Slovakia proper and to the village of Stary Smokovec, tucked against the High and White Tatras. Stary Smokovec seems to be really a ski resort, with a mixture of old wooden building, ageing huge soviet-era hotels and modern apartment blocks. We have a swish apartment – a bargain at £10 / head/night!

We have had two great days of walking in Slovakia. Using lifts each day to get us high, we have walked between 1200 and 2000 metres up, high enough to avoid the mist that still swirls in the valleys below. We have lunched at isolated mountain tarns; clambered across fields of huge boulders; used fixed chains to descend precipitous paths; and have enjoyed some exceptional, and at times tough, walking.

Tomorrow we are off once more, hoping that three trains will take us to Budapest in Hungary. And the passports? They remain unexamined.

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