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02/11/10 – Hronsek – Banska Stiavnica – Slayer in a tent

November 10, 2010
  • 52km travelled
  • 132m altitude gained
  • clear and beautiful weather

is it autumn?

should probably look up before camping in forests from now on

secret UNESCO church

We wake in good time and pack up – a few days back on the road now and early mornings are back to routine again. Good breakfast of eggs sees us pushing out of our campsite and back on the road towards Zvolen. Julian stops to take a picture of a secret UNESCO wooden church and i fly right by, oblivious to the fact he has turned off the road. I only stopped for a picture 5 minutes before, he hasnt dissappeared all the way down there has he? I push on thinking he’s ahead, but he’s definitely not. 20km later and I arrive at Zvolen, only to wait for 15 minutes for him to arrive behind me. We’re pretty good at not losing eachother thus far, usually because we’ve been on one road that only goes to one place. Even so, in times where we may get separated, its pretty easy to spot a guy on a bike covered in yellow baggage, so we were all good.

We stop at a petrol station to wash up, use the facilities and eat some Snickers, I come out of the toilet carrying newly cleaned pots and there is a man on a fully loaded bicycle to greet me.

Hello, my name is Maciej, I dont speak very good english’ I almost leap to shake his hand, quite excited to see our first bike tourer of the trip. his english was great.

lets make photo

He tells us of his trip, 30,000km around Europe over 2 years. He has been literally everwhere in the continent, and had the missing teeth and weaponary to prove it (10 inch blade and pepper spray mounted on his frame, not to be messed with. he is a very amicable guy and we share some great stories in the petrol station. It turns out he is heading the same way as us so we pack up and leave together, on to LIDL to stock up on some food and make our way to Banska Stiavnica. Its gonna be a good day.


In LIDL we get supplies and get talking to Durutt, who is very interested in our trip. He even gives us chocolate and a 2 litre bottle of coke he just bought! We are liking Slovakia more and more. Durutt, if you read this thanks very much for the coke, and good luck with rebuilding your house!

safety first

We head towards Banksa Stiavnica with the added direction of Maciej’s GPS mounted on his frame (this guy is a pro) and chat away as we cycle into the hills, ignoring oncoming cars and eachother (i almost took out julian several times) as we get lost in bike chat.

yup, Maciej's from poland

The GPS promises hills but its not so bad for the first 20km. We’re getting hungry though but arriving in the town will be a good victory for lunch. But the climbs start in earnest before we arrive so we have to pull over on the roadside to gorge ourselves, as any more climbs and I think I would pass out.

On to the town and the climbs are becoming more acute. I thought they stopped after the Tatras! we made this detour in full knowledge it would be in the hills, but its OK as these will definately be the last ones for a while we hope (until Bulgaria, fingers crossed). We reach the town and enjoy the downhill into the centre, completely bypassing the turn for the UNESCO castle. The thought of going back up to see it, now being 4pm, is quickly written off and instead we head to the shops to pick up beers. Maciej buys 8 for himself (you sure you dont want some more beers guys?) as we manage a measly 4 each – the man is Polish and can drink us under the table!

you want to take a beer?

we leave the shop and go down hill in the wrong direction to find a campspot. we promised ourselves we will slog up the big hill to see the castle in the morning, so one more hill wont hurt. We set up camp in a field and tuck into the beers.

Maciej is a great guy, (check out his very detailed and professional website about his trip) and was a very inspirational character for us. He had a sign on his bike that he got made up saying ‘need water and food’ which has helped him no ends in receiving countless gifts from strangers. He is also a drummer, carrying round a bongo on his bike which he used to busk for extra cash (he made 65 euros, 2 pizzas, a sandwich and lots of snacks in Kocice, in 2 1/2 hours) – made me think maybe I should pick up a drum of sorts when I get to Turkey, but I may need to look a little more road wary and Im not sure Julian would appreciate the incessant noise, though I am very talented.

spot the mounted pepper spray

He rec0unts stories of being assaulted in France for refusing to buy Hash, buying his HUUGE knife in Russia for 20 euros and being arrested at the border and having to pay a heavy bribe to get into Montenegro. He also loves metal and we spend our evening listening to Slayer while we cook dinner and drink our beers. He is coming to the end of his trip now, after having just passed 30,000km. He very kindly gives us several useful items to help us on our way, such as a Swiss army salt and pepper shaker (v. useful), a brand new bungee chord, a knife sharpener from Africa, some Romanian coins and some great russian fish snacks, like calamari but in a packet eaten like crisps.

this is maciej's bell

We cook up bolognese for 2 hours (percy primus is being a little slow this evening) and hit the sack after a very eventful and enjoyable day

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