A Trip Into Slovak Paradise
So, most of places could be described from my own experience, as this trip was planned recently and even undertaken personally. Consequently, I visited some wild clefts of Slovak Paradise, followed by Spiš Castle, discovered beauties of Dobšiná Ice Cave, and turning away from main route, passed through magic countryside of Muraň Plateau.
Nevertheless, it was only a small part of the trip, which was directed to Wallachia, followed with wine testing in Valtice and Pálava Hills, and the joirney was finished in picturesque town of Telč, participating at local culture festival.
This holiday trip was approx. 1200 kms long and nine days were reserved for it, but in order to fulfill active tourist holidays, this could be two days more available. Our journey was started from Prague Central Railway Station. Frankly speaking, the travelling by car to Slovakia is not a big problem, but a comfort of night car-train to Poprad is much more better for driver and his friend-rider, owing to the fact that all following days would be for driver really difficult.
There is no problem to buy the tickets for you and your vehicle, but small difficulties could occure in summer, when the capacity of two vehicle-waggons is unsufficient, owing to bigger demand of drivers-tourists, so train capacity is often sold out. So, from this reason, your first steps would be led (after final holiday term stipulation) to newly reconstructed Czech Railway Information Centre, situated in Prague Central Station. So, you pay for one-way ticket the amount of CZK 1272, (it is final price for a driver + vehicle + a bed in specially arranged sleeping carriage. Your collegue will pay for a bed and ticket the sum relating to CZK 679 It is quite reasonable price, when taking into account the comfort, peace and arrival time, which enables you to fulfill a programme for the next travel day.
Auto-train EN 425 Slovakia has the departure from Prague at 10 p.m., whereas the loading of vehicles was effected two hours before. The arrival to Poprad is stipulated at 6 a.m. The vehicles as well as sleeping carriages are divided from train set, so there is no danger that you or your vehicle would continue to the east. Just in Prague, you will be asked for (when you buy your tickets) couple of technical information, regarding your car (vehicle dimensions, registration plate, obligatory security, etc.). Next inquiries follow at vehicle loading on sloping drive of Central Railway Station (access from Italská Street, behind Bulhar Crossroad). After car loading is effected, you have more than one hour available to visit some of near restaurants close to railway station. The number of your bed in sleeping carriage you get in time from a guard. He would be able to offer you morning coffee, beer or soft drinks during the journey.
So, your holiday could begin …
It´s a morning, you are in Poprad Railway Station, rather drowsy, and think over, what to do now. Nevertheless, the best thing would be, within this early morning hours, to go shopping in TESCO Supermarket (situated on main road Svit-Štrba), to obtain some foodstuffs and take a breakfast in buffet-kiosk, situated nearby. Provided it is good weather, and you are full of optimism, you can make a short excursion to Štrbské Lake and Starý Smokovec. Those persons, who remember High Tatra environs as a romantic countryside, would be surprised in rather negative way. They can follow a countryside of apocalyptic scene, expressing depressive views. You see plain plateau with single trees which overcame raging of nature elements several years ago. So, Tatra environs undertook its essential changes. Nevertheless, our trip leads in another direction, to the south, towards Slovak Paradise, smaller mountain range, 30 kms distant from Poprad.
So, let´s go through Poprad, following the road No.18 on route Švábovce - Spišský Štiavnik -Betlanovce-Mýto u Hrabušic-Podlesk. This camping serves as a most suitable starting point for tourist walks in north part of Slovak Paradise, directly at Suchá Belá Valley - Prielom Hornadu-Piecky-Velký Sokol. The camping occupation-capacity is dependent on weather conditions, anyway, this is logical argument. On the other hand, beautiful weather could cause damage this overcrowded locality. But heavy rain could bring the risks that water level in torrents in some valleys could rise up, so some valleys could be closed temporarily, as some wooden foot - bridges, stages and other flat fords could be inundated, whereas its passableness could be possible for able (fit) and adrenalin-lover outdoor persons only.
Back to Podlesok camping. A table in reception - lobby informs about unit prices for accommodation:
EUR 2 for adults, EUR 1,50 for children (6-15 years of age), EUR 2 for a tent, EUR 3,50 for electric connection, EUR 2,50 for carriage, EUR 2 for a dog, etc.
So, three days´ accommodation for two adults, with a car and a tent will cost EUR 30 approx. Anyway, camping hinterland seems to be O.K., especially, as far as the boarding is concerned. The visitors have available new and cosy restaurant, buffet, small shop, supplied with basic foodstuffs and hygienic subjects, several penthouses equipped with fireplaces, in general, sufficient place for your private needs.
On the other hand: the camping is offering chalets at price level, as follows: EUR 8 without shower, EUR 10, including shower. Note: the showers,i.e. all complet of hygienic devices are the only negative part of this area, and it is really a pity. So called hot water is more lukewarm as warm, glazed tiles are missing on some places or a spider appears, but:
what to do? We are in the nature...
In our next chapter, we visit romantic valleys, go throughout Velký Sokol, Prielom Hornadu and Klaštorská Valleys. We make an excursion to Spiš Castle and will be refrigerated in Dobšina Ice Cave…
Text a photo: Jan Chaloupka
Translation: ing. Jan Jonáš
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