I’m alive! I suppose this is what happens when I work too much… It’s been 3 months since my last post, so let’s get on with it, continuing from this post on my trip in the Czech Republic.
Day 6 – Banská Štiavnica
This whole trip involved a lot of driving and exploring and hiking, which are all things that I love. Banská Štiavnica is a cute little medieval mining town about a 2.5 hour drive from Bratislava, with a population of about 10,000 people. We even had lunch at a restaurant with an old mining shaft in it. The town crest is decorated with a gold and a silver lizard, referring to the legend that says these lizards first led a shepherd to discover gold and silver ores.
We were hoping to get a massage to recover from our Sněžka hike, but were a bit deterred by this sign…
Day 7 – High Tatras
The goal of this trip was to climb the highest point in Slovakia, which is located in the High Tatras Mountains. We had driven in the night before to Štrbské Pleso, a little ski resort at the foot of the mountain range, where we spent the day relaxing and finally getting that massage. For some reason, we opted for a “local special” as part of the massage, which involved getting strapped into a contraption and being flipped upside down and just hanging out for 15 minutes upside down. Did not like. Do not recommend. Will never willingly do that again.
Day 8 – Climbing Gerlachovský štít
We woke up at 5am to meet up with our guide, Jano. Gerlachovský štít is the highest point in Slovakia at 2,655 metres (8,711 ft), and is a semi-technical climb with scrambling routes and via ferratas. If you’re not a member of a national UIAA club, you can only climb with a certified mountain guide.
Nico is experienced in climbing and mountaineering, whereas I had never climbed anything like this before, and on top of that, was about to get my ACL reconstructed. Both Nico and Jano had much more faith in my abilities, so we set off on a route that was prettier but more technical with me roped in between the two.
Overall, it was an amazing experience. I had no problem climbing up over a knifes edge, but I definitely freaked out internally (and a little externally) whenever I had to climb down via ferratas where I couldn’t see the next step.
Day 9 – Back to Bratislava
Mostly exhausted, we drove back to Bratislava and stayed in a Botel (boat hotel) at my request 🙂
Slovakia Lessons and Tips
- I think most people only visit Bratislava, but Slovakia has so much more to offer, full of gorgeous landscapes and very sweet people.
- The owner of our hotel in the High Tatras was super impressed that Google Translate had Slovakian as a language. I always make an effort to at least learn how to say hello and thank you in the local language.
Photos taken with the iPhone 6s or Fujifilm X-E2s