Share |

Erik spent his last day today as a sprightly 39-year old. We spent a lovely day hiking in Slovensky Raj park (translates to Slovak Paradise).  A wide, often perfectly clear, river is the heart of the park.  Our hotel is actually inside the park so we can start on the trails right from our hotel. I am completely in love with the flowers here ... so many and so very tall. It’s a different ecosystem here from where we were just hiking in the High Tatras, but we can see the High Tatra range from here, so they’re very close by. 
View of High Tatras from Slovensky Raj national park, Slovakia.

The first portion of our trail led us to the ruins of a monastery that was built and then destroyed by monks to prevent marauding knights from gaining access/possession of it.  (I guess they weren’t very noble knights.) On the gentle slope of the monastery grounds, I fulfilled my self-imposed duty of log-rolling wherever I travel. I am bent on log-rolling all over the planet (if you didn't already know this). In addition to loving the flowers around here, the trees have some extremely trippy roots.
Maze of tree roots.

Shara log rolling down a gentle grassy slope in Slovensky Raj, Slovakia.

The next leg took us hiking up a stream bed via ladders and chains. The water level was very low, so the prolific waterfalls I had read about were more like trickles. Nonetheless, it was gorgeous and intensely lush, and was a unique experience to hike up ladders in the middle of a steep stream bed.

A ladder leads up the middle of the stream bed in Slovensky Raj national park, Slovakia.

Looking down the ladded I just climbed in the trail in Slovensky Raj national park, Slovakia.

The trails sometimes are nothing more than the streambed that you follow. Slovensky Raj national park, Slovakia.

The last leg took us along the river. Here there is not room to have a trail beside the river, so little steel shelves (Erik likens them to refrigerator racks) are bolted into the sheer rock cliffs to and a chain bolted in above them. So you walk on these narrow metal grate-steps, holding on to a chain against the rock face like a railing, right over the river.  I love how non-safety-oriented it is. Some of the little shelves are marvelously loose and wobbly, and the chains some places have come unbolted, and there’s nothing between you and the below. It’s very fun. 

Metal grates bolted into the rocks above the river serve as the trail. Slovensky Raj national park, Slovakia.

We met a nice British couple and convinced them to walk up the stream bed with us (they were a bit leery about it). The man of the British couple had spent a fair amount of time in Central and Eastern Europe in the 1980s Communist era. He had some interesting things to say about those times. I'm sure I can’t tell it correctly because of course I forget everything 5 seconds after I hear it, but the British guy related a local joke from the communist times ... about a Polish dog and a Slovak dog meeting at the border, each one trying to cross into the other’s country. The Slovak dog asks the Polish one why he wants to come over to miserable Czechoslovakia. The Polish dog replies, I want to buy bones so my family can eat, we’re starving over here and you have plenty. Then he asks the Slovak dog why on earth he wants to cross the border into miserable Poland. The Slovak dog says, I just want to bark!

Well, tomorrow will be Erik’s 40th birthday. Hopefully our plans will come to fruition (nighttime candlelight tour of a castle). After a number of days of hiking, it will be nice to spend some time in a car traversing the country. Looks like a lot of pretty winding road ahead.

Suspension bridge across the river in Slovensky Raj national Park, Slovakia.



Read more articles about Central Europe



Subscribe to the SKJ Travel newsletter to be notified when new posts are added to the blog.
emails arrive from "Shara Johnson." Assure your spam filter I'm your friend!



-- AFRICA --



Uganda All posts


Uganda photos only


South Africa All posts


 - includes Lesotho


S. Africa Photos only






Namibia II +Witchcraft






Save Rhinos











Iran  All posts

Iran  photos only










-- EUROPE --


Central Europe

- Czech Rep.

- Poland

- Slovakia


Catalonia, Spain


Andorra / France




Greece +Refugee




-- ASIA --


China I


China II






Costa Rica







Ixtapa, Mexico


Maui, Hawaii


Puerto Rico


Keepers of the Wild











Trip posts for Trazzler




Travel Essays

Most Recent Additions

1. Archipelago of Eve added to Travel Essays

2. The Orange Road added to Travel Essays

3. Sketches of the Farm: Memoirs and Heritage in Nebraska added to Travel Essays

4. Hell and Back: Lessons Learned from Being Sick Abroad added to Travel Essays

5. I Think They're Saying They Want to Take Use for a Ride added to Travel Essays

6. What Travel Has Taught Me: Empathy & Global Citizenship added to Travel Essays


Follow SKJ Traveler

 RSS Feed


<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>



If you like what you read,

feel free to support the

website, so SKJ Travel

can keep showing you

the world! Expenses include domain name

& website hosting.