Slovakia, Day 12 - 14

Trip Start Apr 16, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Slovakia  , Presov,
Friday, May 1, 2009

Arrived here on Labour Day (a bank holiday Friday) to a party atmosphere of flag waving at a parade where the USSR flag was borne along and a group of people shouted support for Fidel Castro.  All very exciting, especially as we saw it on the local news later that evening (unfortunately the camera angle wasn't wide enough to catch two bemused Brits looking on with interest!).

Went for a walk the next day from Stary Smokovec (at 985m) up to Hrebienok and on past lots of spectacular waterfalls to a viewpoint at 1420m with views up Ve'lka Studena Dolina (Big Cold Valley), which is living up to its name and is snow covered above the tree line.  Ali & Matt - we had originally planned to walk up this valley as it's meant to be a good place to see marmots but it looks like we would not have got very far and certainly wouldn't have seen marmots with all the snow so it was just as well we had a lie in instead and then had to choose a shorter route!  On the way back to Stary Smokovec we heard and saw a cuckoo.

By the way, thanks for warnings re pig flu.  Was a bit of a shock to find that you aren't able to watch the news or read a paper for a couple of weeks and then realise that a global pandemic is on the verge of breaking out.  As we understand there are no cases as yet in Slovakia but a Japanese tourist in Stary Smokovec was taking no chances and had his face mask on!

Shelved our plans for a second walk the next day when we found that the wind had dropped sufficiently for the cable car to Lomnicky Stit (the second highest peak in the Tatras at 2634m) to be operating.  As it happened, we only went up as far as Skalnate Pleso (1725m) because tickets from there to Lomnicky Stit were sold out.  However, we spent a relaxing couple of hours mostly lying on a rock taking in the splendour of the mountain and chuckling at the poor skiers who were stuck on a chairlift over half an hour when the diesel engine powering it packed up - at least we got a bit of peace and quiet to appreciate our surroundings!
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