A Travellerspoint blog

Slovakia

An unplanned adventure including WILD BOAR!!!

all seasons in one day 36 °F
View Erin and Megan Do Europe on meganselby's travel map.

So after visiting city after city after city, we decided we needed some country...and Slovakia was that country. We heard about snowboarding/skiing in the Tatra Mountains and said, "yes, ok, of course." Before we knew it we were in a van driving from Krakow to Zdiar, Slovakia with our good friends of 5 days Kelly and Sherwin and our new friend Sean. We arrived in the dark so we couldn't see much, but in the morning...bam! The Tatras Mountains without enough snow on which to board.
the Tatras Mountains

the Tatras Mountains

Tatras mountains 5

Tatras mountains 5

The meter of snow that had fallen a week before was now melting rapidly...so no snowboarding, but lots of hiking recommendations.

Due to bus schedules in the middle of nowhere, we got a late start but ended up doing a short 5 hour hike through the mountains on our first day. We experienced all 4 seasons and every type of terrain. We missed our bus home by minutes and on a Sunday during the offseason this was a serious predicament. We did what one does in Slovakia when one misses the bus-we hitch-hiked. We split into 2 groups, Team 1: Megan and Sherwin and Team 2: Erin, Kelly and Shane. Team 1 was quickly picked up by 2 Germans and whisked away to the Ginger Monkey Hostel. Team 2 had some trouble-they walked another 6 kilometers ( in addition to the 10 kilometers we had already hiked) to the next bus stop and were picked up by the bus. Erin, having hiked another 6 kilometers passed out quickly upon her return to the hostel, while Megan, the show off, drew a map of the United States from memory when dared by a group of Europeans and Australians. She remains quite proud of this achievement.
Erin Tatras

Erin Tatras

Erin Megan Sherwin Shane Tatras

Erin Megan Sherwin Shane Tatras

Tatras Mountain

Tatras Mountain

Tatras Mountain 11

Tatras Mountain 11

Megan hitch-hiking

Megan hitch-hiking


Megan in a car with Sherwin and some Germans
Erin Kelly Shane hitch-hiking

Erin Kelly Shane hitch-hiking


Erin, Kelly, and Shane trying to get picked up

Kelly Megan Tatras Mountains

Kelly Megan Tatras Mountains

Slovakian Lake in the Tatras

Slovakian Lake in the Tatras

Kelly Megan Erin lost in the Tatras

Kelly Megan Erin lost in the Tatras

Going into the Tatras

Going into the Tatras

Day 2: Another really long hike with a long commute to the trails. What we thought was going to be a nice leisurely "moderate 4 hour hike" was actually a gorgeous strenuous 6 hour hike full of steep inclines and descents, ladders, scaling rock faces, water falls, AND perhaps the most incredible of all...WILD BOAR. Yes, we saw 2-4 wild boar stampede across the path in front of us. If you have ever seen the movie Willow, (Luke, Timothy) you would understand our fear. Megan donned a wooden spear aka stick to fight off any boar attacks. By the end we were quite fatigued. But after a completely successful hitch-hike of all 5 members of our posse, we were again in good spirits. Though we had to wait for our train a good hour, we stayed positive knowing we would soon enjoy our Mikolaus that we had purchased before hand to savor at the end of our journey. And how sweet he was.
Mikolaus 3

Mikolaus 3

Erin Megan Kelly on cliff close up

Erin Megan Kelly on cliff close up

Kelly climbing down rocks

Kelly climbing down rocks

Ladder on hike

Ladder on hike


Bridge on hike 2

Bridge on hike 2

Climbing ladder on hike

Climbing ladder on hike

Megan Mountains

Megan Mountains

Erin Mountains

Erin Mountains

Lunch on Tatras

Lunch on Tatras

Slovakia was a quick trip but we have many memories of our times there. Each of us would like to dedicate a song to our fellow travelers, Kelly and Sherwin. Megan would like to send out Aaliyah's "I Miss You." Erin would like to send out Kelly Clarkson's, "Since You've Been Gone." Hugs buddies!!!
Kelly Sherwin Tatras

Kelly Sherwin Tatras

Posted by meganselby 15:23 Archived in Slovakia Comments (0)

Krakow was krackin!

Photo collage of friends in Krakow

semi-overcast 45 °F
View Erin and Megan Do Europe on meganselby's travel map.


The stories will come soon. For now, here is a "photo album" of our last few nights in Krakow.

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We love Mamas in Krakow

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Sherwin, one of our first friends in Krakow. Here he is on top of Kosc. Mound overlooking Krakow.

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Kelly and Megan. Kelly is another early friend in Krakow. She is a badass. She ate half a zapikanka that was sitting on a table in the middle of one of our bar crawls.

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Libby, Justin, Megan, Sherwin, and Stuey at ... Frantic? This was a long night with our New Zealand and Irish friends. Sweet as...

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Lots of people dancing on the table at the hostel. This was pregaming pretty much every night.

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Hangin out at Mama's

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Sherwin, Erin, Nathan, Megan, Heather, Kelly at 40 beers.

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Megan found a beer she liked!!!! Honey beer!

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Megan, Nathan, Kelly, Heather, Erin at the club.

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Sherwin, Megan Kelly, Erin hiking up the mound!

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Ramon, Ian, and Stars, classic Stars

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Erin and Kelly dancing. Magic!

We did walk around Krakow and see some stuff. But the highlights were definitely the people we met along the way. Stories to come soon.

Posted by meganselby 13:35 Archived in Poland Comments (2)

Krakow, Poland

are we really in Poland? really?!?!?

semi-overcast 40 °F
View Erin and Megan Do Europe on meganselby's travel map.

We arrived in Krakow on the 20th and were immediately introduced to a unique, Polish custom. In the US, I believe we call it "cutting in line". Every time we would get in line somewhere people would wedge themselves beside/in front/around us somehow. We have embraced this custom and are now fine.

The hostel we are at is pretty sweet. Lots of socializing happening. We've made friends with 2 fellow American girls (Pennsylvania and Wisconsin!!!), many more Aussies, a canadian, some dudes from the US, a gaggle of Spaniards, and another Brazilian. In fact, another Gustavo who is Brazilian! We call him Gustavo el segundo! We've played lots of games with our friends: cards, drinking games, assassin, fun times. Last night our hostel crew went out to the clubs and there was lots of fun dancing to Polish music.

Yesterday, we went on the longest free walking tour ever and have lots of semi-interesting facts and urban legends about Krakow. Today we went to Auschwitz. There really aren't words to describe what it is like visiting the site of a mass genocide, so we won't try, but it did bring up a lot of ideas for us regarding teaching, how to teach children about history, tolerance, differences, what is age appropriate, etc.

Posted by meganselby 09:27 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

Prague

Giving Istanbul a run for it's money for best stop of the trip

semi-overcast 35 °F
View Erin and Megan Do Europe on meganselby's travel map.

Prague is the shit!! We arrived Friday in the late afternoon, dropped our stuff at our hostel, and ate some chinese food. Yum! We wandered for a bit, climbed to the top of a tower and found a cinema! Oh happy day! We splurged on movie snacks, though tragically most ended up on the floor, and watched Bloom Brothers, which, coincidentally partially takes place in Prague.

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Erin in Powder Tower

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View of Prague from Powder Tower

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Megan in Powder Tower

On Saturday morning Erin went for a leisurely jog before we both went on a free walking tour! We learned a lot about the history of the city...most having to do with the Nazi occupation. We ventured to the Jewish Quarter which is completely intact because Hitler wanted to keep it as a musuem for a lost race...crazy scary!!! Afterward we had hot chocolate and apple strudel with our new friend Elizabeth.

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Erin and Elizabeth

We then saw an orchestral performance of Vivaldi's Four Seasons at a historical church followed by several hours in a cafe drinking hot beverages and reading. 

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Erin praying in church before the concert

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This is the cathedral where the concert was.

And then the gem of the day...the pub crawl!!!  It took us back to the days of college only this time we were the creepy old people at the bar. The first place had free beer hookah and shots...of absynth. As we sat around smoking Hookah we met four new friends...Brendan, Katie, Sarah and Brazilian (name unknown). We all crawled on to the bar that had the worst coat check system in the history if coat checks. Erin almost took the guy out...really it was awesome. We danced and Megan taught someone what a pentagon is...idiot! He didn't believe that 4th graders need to know that so Megan got his email and promised to send him a link to the NYC DOE 4th grade math standards. More awesome dancing, then we had to crawl on.

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Erin does the robot

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Megan finds a vegetarian in Prague

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new friends! Megan, Erin, Elizabeth, Katie, Sarah

We had a really fun walk to the next place, a silly walk you might call it. We never made it into the third place because Erin was not having it. They had a coat check too. Katie and Megan tried talking to the bar crawl master and ended up getting us all kicked off the crawl. So the five of us ladies crawled on our own in desperate search of pizza that we never found. But we did find a really fun bar, a Czech version of coyote ugly. Picture men in feather boas dancing on the bar to Tina Turner (seriously, why is all of Europe obsessed with Simply the Best?) there was lots of walking after that until finally God smiled down upon us and put before us two golden arches. Yes friends, Mickey D's saved the night. We rolled back into the hostel round 4am.

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this weird obelisk shaped light was in the sky for the filming of a tire comercial... so weird

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dancers at coyote ugly

We made plans to meet up with our new friends at the astronomical clock today but we couldn't find them :( very sad. We liked them a lot. If knows Katie and Sarah from Denver please give them our email addresses!

Posted by meganselby 09:29 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (1)

Bicycling around Lake Balaton

all seasons in one day

One of the best parts of the trip so far! This was last week in Lake Balaton, Hungary.

Posted by erincadden 03:21 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

Ariel parody

From naxos

sunny

This is from several weeks back as we were riding around the island of Naxos on a quad bike. Love it!

Posted by meganselby 18:37 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Opera in Vienna

overcast 31 °F

We went to the opera tonight! In Vienna! Austria! We got really cheap, standing room only tickets. And while our feet may have been sore, our souls were uplifted. The name of the opera is Nabucco. Check it out:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nabucco
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Also today marked the beginning of winter...in fact there may or may not have been a few snowflakes. We got outfitted for the weather.
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After walking around and taking in some unknown sights, we stopped and had a delicious fall meal.
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rock candy and tea :)

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pumpkin soup

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erin excited about chocolate mousse

Tomorrow the Imperial palace...

Posted by erincadden 14:59 Archived in Austria Comments (6)

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