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30/10/10 – Carveny Klastor – Poprad – Damn they some big mountains

November 9, 2010
  • 56km Distance
  • 258m altitude gain
  • cold, clear windy weather


Damn what a cold night… Camping next to a river is not such a great idea when your zip is frozen shut and your tent is an ice sheet. We are woken by what sound like a group of French boat thieves (though turns out unsurprisingly they are Slovak, though they sounded French) who are packing up all the rafting boats for the winter. They take no notice of us and we pack down and make eggs in the relative comfort of the shack where we charged the cameras.

Bridge + Mountain = photo


Moving into the sun is definitely a good idea for loading up the bikes, and the temperature in our bodies rises dramatically as we get out of the shadow of the restaurant and start back on the road and into the mountains.

We resist the main road that can take us right across Slovakia and opt for the smaller roads on the map – though this isnt so easy with our map as its 1:600,000 so there is very little detail. we probably have missed some of the really small tracks as a result of this, but the map got us on to a great road that led through some great small villages through a great small valley (though not so small towards the end) and it was perfect. This is what touring is about right? off the beaten tracks, spying on how people live day to day, taking pictures, ambling slowly, it was a great morning, and totally glorious weather – we were blessed.

some quiet villages

off u go lad


The villages become less frequent and the road deteriorates as we go up and up in the valley – we weave around and over the stream that is flowing the opposite direction to us, a sure sign that we will be climbing for some time to come yet. The road gets steeper and steeper and its quite hot, but so beautiful the push is barely noticable as we roll over the pass and down the other side of the valley – first big climb of the Tatras completed!

a very elaborate staged photograph involving the wireless shutter and lots of preparation

and the resulting pissabout



We have noticed a much higher number of dogs in Slovakia, and they cant resist the tempatation to bark wildly at us as go past, or if theyre out and about, to chase us and nash at our ankles. It could be a friendly dog gesture, but its probably not, o we pedal a little faster and try not to taunt them too much. One case in point on the descent off the valley when quite an agressive dog nashed at Julians ankles, causing him to load up with rocks to strike the scally as I came down after, but I think his chase with Julian had exhausted him enough not to bother with me, so the rocks were not needed.



We head towards Spissky Bela for some lunch, and the road goes arrow straight over the hills and we are pounded by vicious headwinds for 20km – not so great when youre running on empty and lunch cant come quick enough. We are penniless as well as we haven’t passed a chance to withdraw euros from the cash point yet, so we arrive in the town with nothing in our bellys or out wallets, searching for some badly needed sustenance.

curiosity didnt kill these kids


We luck out on a small local shop selling really good locally made goats cheese, and set down by the police station for a feast of peanut butter crisps and cheese sandwiches. We get rumbled by a curious bunch of kids who even know a few words of English ‘hooouuw aareee yoouuw?’ and get excited when we offer to take a picture of them with the bikes. No doubt we will be meeting many more curious kids as we venture east.

While entertaining the children with our lack of Slovak we meet Barbara and Martin, two keen mountain bikers who recently finished a tour of Kyrgzstan. They animatedly tell us of the best bike routes in Slovakia (Martin organises bike tours throughout the country and knows all the best routes) and they point us in the direction of Banska Stianska, a beautiful UNESCO town with some impressive castles that we should aim to visit. We exchange emails and make our way south to Poprad.

the road loves you


really strong underground techno scene in slovak nightclubs


We’re back on the main roads again as we leave Spisska Bela, but the hills are in our favour and we make the push into Poprad, constantly in view of the High Tatras to the West. They are an impressive mountain range, sat like a top hat on a flat plain; they are a very tight range of mountains and their jagged ridge casts an impressive icon in the sky as we slowly navigate around them.

inspired petrol station design, hats off.

We arrive in Poprad quite late and stop at the supermarket for a fresh supply of water and head off to find somewhere to camp. There isnt much cover out of Poprad and the hills are beginnning again, but we find a nice fenced off patch of land possibly containing some kind of electrical hub or out house or something fairly non descript, with a raised bank that can provide perfect cover from the road. We plod through the field and get our stuff over the fence and set up camp in view of the gorgeous mountains, make dinner and marvel at Poprad by night




One Comment leave one →
  1. Sylvia Worsnop permalink
    November 9, 2010 3:59 pm

    Love your blog and the pictures you are taking. In the “Bridge + Mountain = photo” picture the mountain looks like a giant sleeping stegosaurus!

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