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How to find a place to sleep on the Trans Europa #TE2014

Slovakia - Another wet day

Before getting into the subject of this blog, let’s take a look back at the past week of riding…

Slovakia - The Tatra mountainsLeaving Krakow put us directly in the path of the Tatra Mountains and they did not disappoint.  With days of around 1800metres climbing everyone had to work hard to get up and over the many hills.  The most scenic day was likely our first full day in Slovakia from the tiny mountain village of Vitanova to Turany.  We climbed up and over a long pass and from the top we could see the distant peaks of the High Tatras and down below was an ocean of clouds covering the valley floor.  The descent sent us speeding through the clouds.

Slovakia - Street view in Banska StiavnicaAnother scenic day was from Banska Stiavnica, whose medieval town center is a UNESCO heritage site, to Jelenec.  After a month on the Tour without rain the skies made up for it with an incredible deluge for the first 3 hours of our riding day.  It made the 6km climb out of Banska Stiavnica slightly more difficult, but it certainly made the technical 18km descent afterwards interesting!

So back to the subject of the blog.  Our day into Jelenec was supposed to end with us camping in the grounds of a kind of hostel/kids camp.  However on arrival we realized that due to a very large group of youngsters we would have to camp far from where we have stayed in the past and only have access to one toilet/shower.  Not ideal.  So… after remembering a small sign nearby for a different pension with a camping sign we started driving to check it out.  That led us onto a tiny road leading higher and higher into the mountains.  Eventually we stopped to talk to a local.  Our bicycle mechanic Peter, who is from Slovakia, did the talking and we realized we’d passed the pension much earlier but the gates had been shut.  It wasn’t easy to leave the conversation, as the mountain man didn’t seem to have many people to talk to up there in the middle of nowhere.

Slovakia - 12 percentTurning around, lots of fun with a 7-meter long van on a tiny mountain road, we headed back down towards the locked gate of the pension.  Finding a phone number on the gate we called the owner.  After some back and forth negotiations we came to a deal where we could stay inside the pension and the owner would be over quickly to open up the place.  Once the owner arrived and we entered it became apparent the pension was once a true gem.  Clay court tennis with night lighting, a swimming pool, bar, etc… However nothing had been touched in years and everything was slipping into total disrepair. Luckily inside the pension was still being kept up and was clean.  Beside the pension what was once extra cottages and a large soccer field had been turned into a fenced area for deer – 13 in total.  The owner said he kept them for his grandchildren to see.

So, I guess you could say that finding a place to sleep on the Trans Europa can be as much a part of the adventure as finding your way along the many roads of Europe each day.  Never a dull moment.


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