Trip Start Sep 14, 2012
Trip End Oct 15, 2012

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Where I stayed
Penzion Encian
What I did
Tatra Mountains

Flag of Slovakia  , Prešovský,
Thursday, September 27, 2012

Feeling the second beer a bit and little sleep after 0500. Up at 0545 for a shower, the birthday boy noting I am an early riser. Downloaded yesterday's pix and finalized the diary before turning to the blog. Sorted out the needs of the morning trek too.

Brekkie at 0740 was nice re options. Sat with Arjan, Linda and Nathalie. The coffee probably did not give me the lift I needed.

Met at 0825 for the short walk to the station to pick up our 2 carriage train which was standing room only. Our stop was Stary Smokovec, the end of the line. Chatted with Peter about his job. He can see himself doing it for well into the future re a half year of tour leading and half the year to see friends/family and travel. Not a bad life!

Arrived at 0852 to windy conditions but no rain. It was pretty much all uphill until the turnaround point, the Dutchman flying off ahead. Some chatting with Linda about her trek to Everest Base Camp. Her hubby d/n like to travel much so she has to do it on her own.

Much of the area looks like it's been logged but it is damage from a hurricane in 2004 that snapped trees, making the area look like a war zone. There is obviously lots of wind here, contributing also to more recent path blockages.

A little bridge and babbling brook was the basic start of the descent. Ria trudged on with her walking sticks. There was a larger waterfalls en route. Every bit of trees across a path seemed to throw Rachel into a flustered state. Wish she could be exchanged for Linda for the next 2 weeks cuz she's as dull as they come.

Feet are acting up a bit but not at 'Prague pain' levels. The earlier sun disappeared, the winds helpful. Rose said at one time re going to France she would eat as many eclairs as her stomach could handle: probably about 40 in my humble estimation.

Not sure about Ria but the others took a train to the lake under the forbidding skies. I went back for a shower and chill time, hitting the web re lunch options. Decided to try Restauracia Stara Mama, the pending dinner venue. Service is not its hallmark.

I stood there for some time with neither the waitress nor waiter telling me to wait to be seated or pointing me to sit down. When others just walked in and took a table that should have been mine I grabbed that of the next one coming open. The place was busy and hopelessly understaffed.

I had sorted out menu options on the outdoor board so my grabbing a Slovakian menu did not hinder things re the fried cheese and ham with chips. Tried a Saris 12, a darker beer which was fine but not overly flavourful either. I read up on Budapest while the food was prepared.

The waitress dropped it off w/o any ceremony. The meal was filling. I like the correlation of beer glasses to beers over here 10E. The waitress asked if I wanted another beer. I said no but did not get any immediate bill. I had to flag her down minutes later. Poor service can kill a place.

Back to the room to do the diary so far. It is cool and I will probably chill for the balance of the afternoon, waiting for the crowd to return from the lake between 1700-1800.

Took a short walk to see other tourist digs. Most of the new construction definitely has the alpine chalet look. The contrast with the older--even Soviet--architecture is quite striking.

The lake trip was nothing too exciting, taking more than an hour each way. Doesn't sound like overall I missed very much.

Offered to take Arjan out for a birthday drink but he said the Dutch way was for the celebrant to pay. We both paid our dinner bills from the night before to the lovely hostess 10 E.

Went to a nearby restaurant [very busy] that had a small bar area right beside the grill.
Tried a Crogon which was nothing to write home about. You could hear some annoyance from Arjan that some of the girls declined a pre-dinner drink [not only on his birthday but he was paying too].

Met some of the group heading our way and to the Scara Mama restaurant, sitting in a private booth. Tried the halusky done as pierogis [filled with cream cheese]. It was filling, frankly the bacon bits the best. Had a rum and Pepsi for a change, certainly more expensive that even a large beer but many seemingly wanted a change in consumption as well. I was the rose [or thorn?] between Jan and Ria.

The service was as slow as ever, no further staff on hand to assist with dinner. People were so bored waiting cameras were coming out re picture reviews.

Peter had arranged a dessert for Arjan for his birthday, Jan and Ria singing the equivalent Dutch birthday song to him. A little Tatra Mountains drinking cup was a nice little gift 9 E.

Didn't really feel like a drink but went to a dead bar Don had found in his meanderings in town.
There was an upside down Cadillac Escalade in the bar, its best feature. The place ws a local hang out but the atmosphere was that of a morgue. Coupled with the heat of the place, I stayed for one rum and coke [the latter supplied by Amy aka Emirates Airlines].

The others were drinking more slowly and I wanted out of there so I left, back after 2300 for a quick pic downloading and bed.

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