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31/10/10 – Poprad → Telgart – Can we sleep in your garden? We’re scared of bears

November 10, 2010
by
  • 33km Travelled
  • 14km/h Average
  • 56km/h Max
  • 2hrs 30mins In the saddle
  • 1945km Total

Not a bad camping spot

Mini sasha

Feel midly ill this morning, regular cold nights are taking their toll. Queue Berocca and a massive breakfast of fried eggs, toast and bananas atop a shed overlooking the High Tatras in the glorious sunshine and the cold blues dry out pretty quickly.  Quick nip into the supermarket and sasha returns with a bag of something we’ve been seriously craving since it got colder – Porridge!  Along with some eggs, one of which breaks so it goes down the hatch.  I must say it was quite an odd experience and i did feel midly gross for a while but its full of protein, so there you are mum.

Cooked egg

Raw egg

The scenery is stunning, feels like we’re in Canada today.  It reminds me of a film called River Wild – which is rubbish so don’t watch it but the scenery in it is pretty nice.  The landscape politely informs us that were going to be climbing shortly and this is backed up by a sign just around the corner.  Still feeling a bit weak despite a protein injection we decide to stop for lunch to ensure the climb gets two fully energised cyclists.  We stop off at small football pitch and we spot a fellow kite flyer so sash gets out his, its a nice design but doesn’t seem to fly to well, think it should be attached to the back of the bike or hung up on a wall somewhere.

Obedient houses

Martin Lester kite

We gawp at the 5km climb of 12%, wish each other luck and head up the winding road nervously attached to the side of the mountain range.  Its steep and quite difficult to cycle in a straight line but luckily the road is quiet and people seem sympathetic to our efforts.  Alot of the climb isn’t 12% and with the gearing on our bikes it’s only the really steep sections which really test you, or perhaps we’re just alot fitter – ye i reckon its that one.  Maintain a steady breathing pattern, keep within your bodies limits and it’s just a case of steady as she goes!  Towards the top of the climb the air becomes alot colder and there appears some ice/snow at the side of the road.  We make it to the top and take a few photos at a viewpoint strewn with campers detritus.

Extraction plant

Up we go!

Final corner

...and back down

The road we climbed

Climbs are great, especially when you see a sign for a 2km descent at 12% – Hey where did our other 3kms go?!  We fashion a method of attaching a portable video camera to Sasha’s bike, keen to record some of these downhills we’re doing.  An exhilarating downhill it was and well worth the slog uphill, even the cars appreciated our efforts and kept their distance, or maybe they didn’t want to have a bike tourer shaped dent in their bonnet.  It must be a little nerve racking to see a stacked bike hurtling down a hill at 50km on 2 relativey thin strips of rubber.  We make it down in one piece feeling very windswept and head along the road to Telgart, a train line wraps its self around the road as we descend dipping under and heading into the forest and then returning to the road and carving under it.

Independent film makers

We spot a viaduct and with the sun descending rapidly into the darkness we decide to camp underneath it.  On closer inspection there seems to be some rather bear like paw marks in the ground right where we we’re thinking of sticking our tents.  Right, even though we weren’t 100% sure they were bear track we decided that not knowing was enough to not feel comfortable.  We weigh up the options – Not too keen to camping in this spot, could camp next to the railway station outhouse which seems locked up but the fence might provide some security (and also seems to be equipped with some kind of bear box(place to store food)) or use our Slovakian translation that we’re cyclists from the UK going to India, we’re scared of bears and do you mind if we camp in your garden?

Railway explorations

Viaduct underbelly

 

Across the road there seems to be an apartment complex so we decide to investigate armed with the Slovakian translation.  On closer inspection the place looks completely dead bar a few people walking, a pissed off dog chained up to a shed and a couple of cars.  We approach a couple who luckily speak a bit of English, the place is out of season and therefore closed, shizzer.  Out comes the piece of paper and we nervously watch as they read it, “yes its all correct and reads well” comes the reply. Queue slightly awkward silence for a few seconds and then they wish us all the best and head off to their car.  Perhaps it was the bit about asking if we could stay in their garden or their house, back to the drawing board with that one i think.

Never ones to take what people tell us as truth we head up to the apartment block and find the front door open.  A warm reception area greets us along with a Shining-esque stillness, even the reception has no evidence of any activity and is locked behind a metal shutter.  We nose around, sporadically saying ‘HEllos?’- There’s absolutely no one here, the kitchen is locked and we start to think that perhaps there’s work being done to it out of season and the workmen have accidentally left it open.  A warm reception area for us to rest our head?  Away from bears – the idea gains more and more traction and we’re happy to leave early to avoid any interaction.

A final check of the building just to make double sure and low and behold one of the apartments has been left on the latch!  We can’t believe our luck – The place is kitted out with a full kitchen replete with salt, 3 beds, a cot and a bathroom which sasha pays his respects to.  Just as we’re getting our heads around this situation and devising the best way to conceal our bikes whilst we enjoy this surprise luxury, a car pulls up and our plan is foiled.  Do we stay or just head downstairs and explain our situation?  With the bikes in clear view we decide to fess up and head down to the people unloading their car.  Luckily the family speaks English and after a phone call to the owner of the block tells us that we can’t stay inside but we can  pitch our tents on the lawn next to the building, which should be safer from bears as its close to a main road.

Happy with the deal and promise of some tea we pitch up and laugh about what just happened.  Sure enough Marek comes out and gives us a big jar of some super warm and tasty tea along with some carrots, ham, bread and 2 cereal bars, absolute diamond.  He sits with us in the freezing weather while we heat up some dinner, the frost literally forming on things as we chat.  Marek has recently moved from Bratislava to this apartment and he talks about his various roles in Renault and now Arco and drain company and that he speaks about 5 languages.

Sasha’s mum and step dad join us at camp via Skype, the first time we’ve had wireless whilst camping.  Such a strange experience for both parties but was pretty fun to have them with us for a bit. We chow down some overcooked pasta and aubergine, put the remaining food and pans in a bag in a remote location to prevent any bear invasions and stare at the stars before hitting the sack. What a day

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. James Thomas permalink
    November 10, 2010 3:00 pm

    Great to hear of your progress, which we all follow here with eager anticipation.
    Glad you got the porridge!
    Love from all at YRM

    • Julian permalink*
      November 12, 2010 10:47 am

      hey james, great to hear the blog is being read!
      hows life in the office? hope sizewell is running smoothly
      sash

  2. Sylvia Worsnop permalink
    November 10, 2010 3:21 pm

    Lucky you didn’t get to stay in the vacant apartment or you might have woken up to Mama Bear, Papa Bear and Baby Bear wanting to know who ate their porridge!

    • Julian permalink*
      November 12, 2010 10:47 am

      it would definitely have been us!

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