Tag Archives: Stary Smokovec

Lake it till you make it


Yesterday’s hike through the mountains of Vysoké Tatry was both incredibly incredible and incredibly tiring, so today I took things a bit easier – by drinking a load of beers and walking around a lake. Don’t worry, it was still really pretty.

Yeah, I’ll be in after you!

I woke up to a blizzard outside my window, and I immediately thought I’d be snowed in and have to end up eating my own leg or risk starving to death. Gimme a break, I’m Australian, I pretty much assume the apocalypse is upon us if the temperature drops below 15 degrees. When I realised I wasn’t going to freeze to death, I caught the train from my base in Stary Smokovec (or Snowy Starcevic, as I like to call it) to the nearby village of Štrbské pleso, which is about 45 minutes away on a very scenic train that moves as quickly as Clive Palmer in the Gold Coast Marathon.

If there’s a monkey up there, the bastard’s frozen

Once I arrived in Pleso, I was as hungry as a fat girl who forgot her lunch, so I decided to spend the next hour or two in a traditional Slovak restaurant under the train station, drinking beers and eating good food. It was just after midday, but everyone was drinking beer – men, women, children… I think I even saw a dog with a pint glass. Oh, and I can recommend the goulash, it’s great!

No, goulash, not a ghoulie!

With a belly full of meat and booze, I weedled my way off to explore the nearby lake, which turned out to be extraordinarily beautiful. The whole world was heavy with snow, with the lake a shimmering silver dollar among an endless carpet of white. Alright, I don’t need to fill this with wanky writing to let you know it was fucking awesome, and a sight I will remember for the rest of my life.

Look at me, I’m on a rock! Are you on a rock? No? Then go fuck yourself!

I walked around the lake surrounded by a silence I’ve known before. There was nothing but the soft patter of snow falling and my own footsteps, as all colour was stripped from life and the temperature dropped and dropped and dropped. I lost feeling in my fingers, but nothing could stop me from grinning like a druggo on dole day as I struggled to take in all the wonderful things to see.

I should turn this into a postcard

The walk around the lake takes maybe 30 minutes if you’re not stopping too much, but with views like these, why rush? I took well over an hour, stopping to see little frozen miracles everywhere. And I managed to do it all with my camera in one hand and a beer in the other. It’s hard work walking around Štrbské pleso, and I had to keep my fluids up.

That’s a good way to pass out into a lake

After drinking so many beers, I inevitably felt the need to create some yellow snow, so stopped by the side of the track to have a slash. As I was wiping the icicles from my doodle, I was shocked to realise that a young woman was jogging past. I quickly returned my penis to my pants and hoped she hadn’t seen anything, but she had!
“I hope for your sake that’s just because of the snow,” she said in perfect English, before jogging off. Bloody hell, can’t I even piss in public without some comedian having a go at me?

Call me!

With the temperature below freezing and my fingers close to turning blue and falling off, I raced back to the station and made took the train back to home base where I smashed more beers and, for reasons that make sense to only me, crab danced around Vysoke Tatry while the locals cheered wildly for my exotic moves.

Have you seen this crab?

Umm, oh yeah, and I had sex with some sort of reindeer thing that was hanging out in the main street. I’m sorry.

I’m not welcome back in Stary Smokovec

Vysoké Tatry – A walk on top of the world


I spent today hiking through Slovakia’s Vysoké Tatry mountain range. It was a monumental experience filled with beauty wonder, and words can’t possibly do it justice, so I’ll drop the hilarious jokes and just give you loads of photos to drool over. I’m off for a beer – catch ya tomorrow!

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From Krakow to Vysoke Tatry with an idiot in tow


Poland’s been great, but it’s time to head off to the Democratic People’s Republic of Slovakia. It’s not an easy journey between Krakow and my resting place of Starý Smokovec, with three buses and a few hikes along the way, but it wasn’t long before I was in the charming village of Zakopane, close to the border. It was there, while waiting for my bus to leave, that I saw snow for perhaps the fifth time in my life – and was snowed on for the first time ever. In fact, I had more white stuff landing on me than a Japanese porn star.

The strange man walks past me

I was feeling a bit playful, so I threw a snowball at a man who was walking by. He wasn’t in a playful mood and started shouting at me and gesturing wildly. Wanting to avoid any further conflict, I jumped back onto the bus and hid behind a seat, only for the man to storm onto the bus seconds later.

Shit, here he comes!

He looked around with crazy eyes and spied me crouching at the back of the bus. He started yelling again, then pounded his way towards me. I closed my eyes, waiting for the inevitable pounding from the punchy Pole, but it never came. I opened one eye and looked up to see him standing there with a grin on his face and a snowball in his hand, which he threw at my face before bursting into laughter. Unfortunately, that was just the start of my adventures with this very troubled individual.

The little bus of horrors

As the bus took off, the Polish plonker took the seat next to me and started yapping his fuckin’ head off. His name was Viktor or something like that, and it soon became obvious that he was smashed off his gourd. He was rolling around his seat with a can of beer in his hand, jabbering away at me in broken English and spitting like a camel as he went about it.
“You are very good man,” he spluttered. “I am very poor man. Alcohol very expensive. You give me 100 Euro.”

I took time out to mark my territory

I politely told Viktor to go fuck himself, but the idiot just kept jabbering away, asking me where I was going and whether I could buy him a beer or suck his dick or whatever it was he wanted. I was relieved when we finally reached Lysa Polana – the border of Poland and Slovakia, where I needed to change buses – because I thought I’d get a break from him. Then I realised that Lysa Polana is nothing more than a couple of empty buildings, and I was going to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with Viktor, hoping a bus would show up at some point. That’s when things started going wrong.

The perfect place to spend an afternoon with a fuckwit

Lysa Polana is actually quite scenic, with huge, tree-lined cliffs in every direction, but as the snow started coming in more heavily, all I could concentrate on was bloody Viktor, who was getting more aggressive by the minute. “You are small and weak, I am big and strong,” Viktor fumed. “You are lucky I do not kill you, but I am nice man. You give me 200 Euro, we stay friends.” To make it worse, he kept flagging down passing cars and trying to climb into them, returning angrier every time they drove off. While Viktor was close to twice the size of me, I was pretty sure I could take him in his drunken state, but I didn’t want to find out. Luckily the bus turned up and, after the driver spent 20 minutes fixing the engine (during which Viktor downed three cans of beer) we were off.

Grand Theft Auto: Lysa Polana

Viktor kept babbling on about how poor he was until finally, mercifully, he passed out, and I was able to enjoy the glorious scenery leading into Vysoke Tatry National Park. The mountains reached for the heavens as snow fell all around us, and the bus wounds its way towards the village of Stary Smokovec, my final destination. When it finally pulled into the bus stop, I looked back to see Viktor fast asleep, and grabbed my bags and headed out into the freezing afternoon. As the bus took off, I looked back to see Viktor furiously banging on the windows, and flipped him a couple of cheeky birds. I was rid of him at least… or so I thought.

Why does this shit keep happening to me?

As I walked up into the village, I looked back to see that the bus had stopped again. It sat there for a few moments, and when it took off, there was Viktor, ranting and raving and carrying on like a pork chop. He was screaming my name and looking around for me and, wanting to avoid any further confrontation with the dickhead, I charged in the opposite directing and headed to the place I’m staying.

Lovely Stary Smokovec

Starý Smokovec is a wonderful little town sitting 1100m up a mountain, so it’s cold and snow-covered and lovely. It’s used as a base for skiiers in winter and hikers in summer, and I’m here in the middle of both seasons so it’s quiet. Very quiet. As I walked around to have a look, I saw no people, and it felt as if I was in a ghost town. It’s also very small, so it’s only a matter of time before I run into my old mate Viktor again…