A Day In A Slovakian Valley: Ski-resort village to Liptovska Sielnica - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

October 25, 2013

A Day In A Slovakian Valley: Ski-resort village to Liptovska Sielnica

Rain during the night meant a damp start, followed by fog which then lifted in an instant, leaving cloudless sky and warm sunshine. The road this morning is high up and a glance to the left, between roadside pine-trees, reveals that a blanket of fog remains filling the valley below. To the right, all is a brown and golden hue of the season with yellowing dwarf birch on gentle slopes up to a bare granite ridge.

The fog cleared just as I approached another mountain resort. This one I think is called: Strbska Pleso; just don't ask how to pronounce it. I did however learn how to say thank you: Chac-cre-em (my spelling); said with emphasis on the last syllable.
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The Tatra mountains.
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View to the side from a bridge with the old bridge and road nearby.
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I pass through two mountain resorts; lots of big hotel complexes and lots of cafes, but it's still only ten, too early to stop for coffee. The road gradually climbs after that; its not noticeably an uphill to begin with, it's just I'm grinding a medium low gear. Then rounding a bend, the hill is more apparent, continuing up round a succession of bends until a point where it looks as though the next bend would be the last, but on rounding it, there's more climbing to yet another bend. All the time the light railway connecting the resorts, which had ran parallel with the road, now weaved in under the road a number of times, on the least steep way up.

Village with cemetery in foreground.
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The climb takes quite a while and it's around eleven thirty when the road sweeps steeply down, then gradually bottoms out with level farmland on either side. I pass a couple of small villages, nothing more than a church and houses with large vegetable gardens backing onto the road. Then I reach the newly constructed motorway going east west along the valley and as it's barred to cycling, I continue underneath on the old road which superseded and shortly enter the town of Liptovsky Hradok. There are no cafes, cheap or otherwise, as it seems such a different world to the ski-resorts; more rough and ready. I pass a local supermarket then see a Lidl ahead.

Its hard to know what to buy in Lidl supermarkets. The German chain is identical throughout Europe and cheap but there isn't a great selection of fruit and vegetables. One plus is the warm freshly baked apple turnovers: I take two and two ready-made-sandwiches. Sitting to lunch in a small square a little further, both the egg and bacon triangle and the salami baguette are dry and unappetising; such a let down after eating so well in Poland.

I continue on the old road, passing underneath the new road elevated high-overhead on concrete stilts a few kilometres out of town. I cycle fifteen kilometres west to Liptovsky Mikulas, an industrial sprawl with the red and white striped smokestacks standing high against the town's skyline. The traffic on the old road through is constant with old buses and trucks belching sooty smoke. Then just before the town centre, the traffic all turns sharp left, crossing a bridge over a waterway, while a narrower road continues straight on. This road is yellow on the map and follows the north side of a lake to the west of town.

There are only a few cars passing. A tranquil road with rolling cultivated land on my left and low birch down to the lake-shore to the right. I have a two litre bottle of fizzy drink secured by the bungee-cord behind me, which annoyingly rolls forward causing discomfort as I pedal. I don't like buying such big bottles but, there wasn't one litre bottles in Lidl. I stop at the top of a small hill and drink some, more to reduce it's weight and stop it rolling about so much than for thirst. I check my watch, only three forty-five, but the sun is already receding.

View from where I camped; not exactly idealic as there was a lot of rubbish dumped; and opposite, there's an industrial town.
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Today's ride: 76 km (47 miles)
Total: 7,310 km (4,540 miles)

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