Slovak Paradise & High Tatras

Wednesday 19 to Thursday 20 July

Our next stop at Sobotske afforded us some time for nature.

The Dobšinská L’Adová Jaskyňa ice cave is the most famous in Europe after Iceland. Unfortunately we didn’t get to the one in Iceland as it was fully booked. We did a wonderful glacier walk instead. 

So we drove into the Slovak Paradise mountains, a beautiful area to visit this ice cave. We had to hike about 1.5km up hill. Here, like Spiš Castle we found tourists. Tickets were reasonable at €7 for seniors but a camera ticket was €10, the highest price we have had to pay – ridiculous. We made do with just Bruce’s camera.

There are three chambers of ice. First explored in 1871 they became an instant success and have over the years supported concerts and ice skating.

The ice remains in the cave because the temperature of 0°C remains constant.  We were warned that it is cold in the cave and people came prepared with heavy jackets and hats to wear inside the caves and stripped off as they came out.

As we descended from the caves, we had time to admire the scenery – the forest was beautiful and the light streaming in created a wonderful sensation.

We continued our drive through the mountains, stopping at Dedinky above the Palcmanská Maša Reservoir, which was a popular ‘beach’ resort. I always think of beach by the sea, but in these land-locked countries a beach can be beside a lake or a river. Perhaps chilly, but a beautiful place to while away a summer’s day.

The following day we set out to explore the High Tatras. This area is famous for its rugged mountains which offer hiking, cycling and of course snow sports in winter.

Our first stop at Vysoké Tatry looked like a Butlin’s holiday resort – there was nowhere to park and there was a constant string of people heading for the cable car. We decided to continue and found Tatranská Lomnica.

We joined a long queue to buy tickets to go somewhere. The lady at the ticket office insisted that the best offer was the composite ticket, which we could use for different rides. Still unsure of what we were doing, we hopped on the cable car from Štart to Skalnaté Pleso – this took us to a ski resort complete with a chateau that served meals, and a children’s playground.

The cable car ride to the highest peak Lomnický štít was booked out. There are limited rides on this long cable car so we satisfied ourselves with the chair lift from Skalnaté Pleso to Lomnické sedlo (the saddle) at 2190m. The view was amazing. We spent the next hour climbing up to the saddle to get stunning views all around.

We were amazed at how adventurous Slovakians of all ages are, when it comes to climbing, walking and cycling in these beautiful mountains.

We sat and enjoyed lunch (well I ate and Bruce didn’t, as usual) and watched people coming and going from the chair lift to the cable car.

As we returned to our car we shared the cable car with a couple from Poland.  They had come to Slovakia for the day – it was, they said, very much cheaper than Poland.  Interesting, as we are off to Poland tomorrow.