On Up the River
Pretty quiet morning. I went across the street to buy some breakfast at a grocery store. Then I ate outside while
watching the morning traffic go by. The guy working the hotel front the night before went into the grocery and gave me a smile. Loaded up the
bike and headed on up the river I had been following. Not far up the road, I came to the last town on this stretch of the route. I stopped for a
quick break and some photos. From here, the main mountain passes lie ahead. Not far out of town, I began the first big climb of my Slovakia
Over the Hills and Through the Woods
The road was steep, but it did not seem as bad as day 4 in the Black Forest.
I just kept up the climb and hopped that the day wouldn't get too hot. Most of the area was forested now, compared with the rolling fields and
streams I had seen the first few days in Slovakia. Quite scenic actually. I could feel that I was getting close to the tourist areas of the north
mountains. At the top of the second major pass, I saw a group of German motorcyclists who had evidently raced up the other side of the pass.
They seemed to be enjoying their holiday as much as me.
Based on my reading of the map, I felt I had one more good pass
left ahead. The town of Telgari is one of those quiet valley towns that is popular with people looking for a cool place to get away from the city. I
couldn't tell how much of a climb I had to get out of the village, but I could see that the train through the area made a big circle and a series of
turns to get out of here, which means climbing. Since it was approaching the heat of the day, I stopped in a little B&B type place for lunch. Very
End is Near
As expected, there was one more good climb to get out of the area. This tought climb was
followed by a sign warning of a 12% downhill grade for the next 5km, so that should give some idea of the climb up. Anyway, this lead out to the
city of Poprad, which is one of those privileged places denoted on the map with a red underline. This means it has a traditonal European
square and a church and some ground for strolling tourists. I was happy to take a break here and look arond for a bit. I was looking for a bike
tire to replace swap with the black tire that I bought in Linz when mom bought her tire there. I wanted to take this black tire back for mom so she
could have the set. There was a decent bike shop and another sports store here, but the most expensive tire I could find was only 5USD. Most
of the tires were the gum-wall types that I repeatedly blew-out on my previous trip to Europe. So I passed on that bit of shopping. Just bought
some postcards and relaxed at a cafe.
The plan was to go another twenty kilometers up the road and stay at
a place called xxx. However, upon arrival there, I found that the one hotel in town was full for the night. Again, I was happy to find someone who
speaks German (close enough), so I asked her to call ahead and look for other hotels in the area. She assured me that the place in Spisska
Bela would have rooms, but I insisted she call and make sure. So, again I had trouble finding lodging on a weekday in a relatively large city.
But since this is a tourist area, there seemed to be enough options around.
The main floor of the hotel
here looked like some kind of seedy bar at first. I showed them a piece of paper from the woman who had phoned ahead for me, but everyone
seemed a bit confused. So, I decided to just communicate the fact that I was looking for a room. A jolly older man came out and showed me to
a room. Not a bad place considering this town has almost nothing to offer. After settling in and showering, I came down for dinner. That's when
I met the owner's wife, a very jolly woman, as well, and she speaks English quite well. She was very excited to have the chance to practice
English and was very enthusiastic about introducing me to the area. There is hiking in the nearby mountains, and rafting, and shopping, a