Expecting to be aching after yesterday’s gorge ladders etc, we were amazed we both felt fine. Just slightly heavy legs. I think taking it slow and carefully, and all those chocolate stops helped! We had planned an easy day, just in case. But the sun came out. Should we change our plan and get up to the High Tatras? We’ve been waiting for a sunny day to get a cablecar / funicular up to walk, but didn’t want to spend the money if we were just going to be in the clouds. We nearly did sway, but I said we weren’t prepared for the mountains … we hadn’t bought ingredients for a picnic etc … so no. Mountains when ill prepared are not a good idea.
I’d been looking at Atlas Obscura again … an Ice Cave (also mentioned by the TIC chap who had suggested the gorge ladder walk. A derelict iron works with a huge blast furnace and another cave of argonite formed into amazing shapes. Fortunately, we read that the ice cave was by guided tour and there was one at 9.30, early enough for it to still be cool to leave CO2 in the car. What we hadn’t realised was that there was 2km walk uphill to the entrance. Kerstin strode on ahead and purchased tickets. When J and I arrived, she was ‘discussing’ whether we would make it on time. Just as well we, did, as the next tour was not until 11.00.
We have done lots of caves and generally don’t bother now. But never an ICE CAVE. I had not realised ice caves were a thing. Apparently Dodsinka Ice Cave is one of the best to visit. Spring water flows in, and then freezes. During summer, some partially melts but then re-freezes in lower caverns. Again, a Slovak only speaking tour, but as we hung back an English speaking guide held up the rear and was able to give us some more information. Some years ago, locals used to ice skate in one cavern. In the winter, bats move in, as it is warmer in the cave than outside. Reckon, they must have to clear the bat poop before opening up to visitors.
A toboggan slope?
Kerstin was on photo duty … we paid extra, so think K took about 100 pix! She likes to get her money’s worth!!
The scant English info.
The rest of the day did not go to plan. We found the iron works, but stern looking guards told us to go away. We think it was being worked on to turn it into a museum. And we decided against the 50 min extra drive to the aragonite cave … one cave a day (week, month, year?), is more than sufficient. So we drove to a small lake we had seen on the drive down and had our picnic. Then back to base camp via Decathlon (again).
The High Tatras – Extended
We extended our campsite stay for a further night a second time. The weather was set fair and we were determined to get into the High Tatras mountains. We were up and at ‘em early doors … with copious supplies of fodder and liquid. We thought we would arrive nice and early at Vysoke Tatras, but so did everyone else. Car parks full, so we parked on the road 1.5 km from the funicular. An early indicator how popular (busy!) walking here is. Return tickets purchased and we joined the throng in the funicular up the mountain side. Yes, it was very busy, but the scenery was lovely. We took it slow and a number of folk over took us. One lady nearly had a serious accident as passed me … Kerstin was behind and saw the rock she trod on wobble … all I could see was windmill arms … so I instinctively grabbed one. Didn’t even get a thank you!!!
I failed on navigation duty … missed a turn. To be fair none of us had seen a path off. Chatted to a lovely Czech couple who have a motorhome and get away as often as they can. They recommended that we keep going up (down would have been harder on knees and we would have struggled descending over all the rocks and scree) to a cable car. Then train from next town. It was further than J has walked for a long time and when we reached the cable car, he was rewarded with a beer! We bought tickets for the 3 of us and CO2 for the cable car and didn’t hang around as damp cold clouds were coming in. What we hadn’t realised was that it was only cable car so far. The next section was chair lift. OMG, we’ve 2 dogs with us! No problem, just lift them on. So K and I grabbed a dog each and hung onto them tightly. Only 2 people per chair so J followed with the back pack. It’s obviously considered quite normal, as another dog was sat (with owners) in a chair going up. Both CO2 quivered for a few mins once back on terra firma. Another K9 adventure that we’d not planned. Oops. We just caught a train to where the car was parked … so I attempted to buy train tickets online with the help of the lady sat next to me … managed to get one adult fare … all of EUR1 for a good 20 min trip.
A great walk if busy. If passing we would definitely stop around here again … and further east is supposed to be lovely. But until this trip Slovakia had not really grabbed us. There are only so many Austro Hungarian faded towns and castles one would want to visit. Off to Romania tomorrow.
Managed to elbow a small child out of the way to get the view from the front of the funicular!
Hard to get pix without other walkers.
Lots of rocks to clamber over. Sadly CO2 had to be on the lead … I did let O off a few times towards the end when everyone was already off the mountain!
Did they have porcelain up here???
Mist coming in.
Restoring a property in the mountains … kitchen base layer delivery!
I had to strip a number of times as I’d expected it to be cold up in the hills … ended up just wearing my base layers, so effectively I was in my underwear!
Cable car – the easy bit.
Difficult to grab a pic unhanded whilst clinging onto a dog.
Finally some Romania planning … all base layers on. It was only 5C at 6.00 the other morning. I’ve turned into a fair weather camper so we have booked an AirBnB in Brasov for 8 nights starting tomorrow!