A country in a day

July 31, 2011 (day 74) Slovakia

Writing a blog takes much time. So much, that after I had finished publishing the previous entry, there was not enough time to get to the border before night. We stayed in some barn in Liszna, about five kilometers before the border. I love sleeping on hay, but this barn seemed to be abandoned at least one year before, and, although soft and dry, the old hay smelled bad.

On the next day we climbed to Roztoki Górne, to find the tourist shelter closed, and met three young goats while having breakfast. The curious animals gave us lots of fun, trying to eat every piece of our equipment they found.

Finally, we reached the pass, called Ruské Sedlo in Slovakian. Wojtek turned back and left home. That was actually a brilliant decision. The steep and stony descent into Slovakia is definitely a one–way road. I see no chance, except for exhaustive pushing, to make it the other way on a bike laden with baggage.

The area behind the border surprised us with it's desolation and emptiness. While Bieszczady, the Polish part of the mountains, attracts more and more tourists each year, on the Slovakian side there is almost nobody. Small terraces and fruit trees mark sites where villages existed before the II World War. An artificial lake is hidden behind trees, while numerous "no entry" signs fend off curious people. Less than hundred kilometers away, the lake Solińskie on the Polish side, is a popular area for sailing, fishing and swimming, while the dam itself is a must–see tourist attraction of Bieszczady. Beside three or four summer cottages, we found no buildings there, and met just few Slovaks busy with berries or mushroom picking.

After the long descent, we reached first town at very low elevation of about 270m. That meant we lost all the altitude gained in last three days. With a plan to go back to the main Carpathian range, it would mean lots of uphill cycling.

Our visit to Slovakia had been planned just as a shortcut to enter Ukraine. There is nothing bad about Slovakia actually, but we both had visited this country before and we wanted to focus on less known lands. Just to enter the next country without the stress of searching for a campsite, we stopped for the night close to a minor side road. In the morning, after visiting a bar in Ubl'a for a round or two of Kofola, we appeared at the border. A smiling Ukrainian policeman asked us openly if we had any drugs. A positive answer and the sight of big Kofola bottle were enough, and we were let in.


10 years, 1 month ago
Wbrew pozorom na Ruske Sedlo da się wjechać i od strony słowackiej;) czego sam ostatnio spróbowałem na swoich slickach chociaż nie miałem tyle sakw, ale spotkany rowerzysta, który wracał z rajdu po Węgrach też dał radę z pełnym rynsztunkiem:) Natomiast obszar z drugiej strony jest Parkiem Narodowym, a jezioro jednym z głównych zbiorników wody pitnej na Słowacji- stąd zakaz wstępu. Ponadto jest to najsłabiej zaludniony teren Słowacji -9 osób na km2. Bardzo przyjemne odludzie:)
NA wakacjach miałem okazję pokonać po części trasę którą zdążacie, ponieważ odwiedziłem Istambuł, a teraz nadrabiam zaległości które z tego powodu powstały mi na tym blogu;)
Pozdrawiam i dalej śledzę podróż:)