Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Camping Trip to Slovakia and Poland

Two weeks ago I took a few days off and went up north to the border of Slovakia and Poland with Balázs and Dani for a few days of camping, hiking and sightseeing.

We started out with the idea of wanting to go white water rafting, and after looking into it, we found that the closest options were Bosnia, Slovenia, or Slovakia/Poland. The former two options are about 7 hr drives from us, but SK/PL is about half of that.

Our destination was the Pieniny mountains, a national park which spreads across the border of the two countries. The Dunajec river forms the border for some kilometers, particularly in the Dunajec Gorge, which is the pearl of the whole national park, and is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Dunajec River

There is a long history of rafting in the Dunajec gorge - about 150 years ago rafting trips began on the river for the guests of the Polish spa town of Szczawnica. The traditional rafting is done on wood rafts tied together, and although it is interesting and traditional, the wooden rafts are mostly for seeing the canyon, not for riding the rapids - they try to avoid them as much as possible so as not to damage the boats.

We decided to go with rubber rafts, and tried to hit all the biggest rapids and get as wet as possible. We had a great time, and the scenery was beautiful.

We also climed Trzy Korony, the most famous peak in the region.
Trzy Korony

One of the best things we did was to take mountain bikes with us. There were 3 of us, and we were only able to bring 2 bikes, but that wasn't a problem. There were times when 2 of us would go biking and one of us would stay back - other times we were able to rent a third bike. It definitely made the trip a lot more fun - both in the mountains and in the cities we visiting.

When we weren't climbing mountains we went to the cities of Bardejov, SK (also a UNESCO site) and Zakopane, PL.
World Heritage

Two Castles

All in all it was a great trip. I miss the mountains already, and can't wait for the next time I get to get back up in the hills.

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