A Bootleg Pirate on Tour. Part Two.
This is the second part of my travels around Europe. This is quite a short one as I am flat out fulfilling Christmas orders. Hope you enjoy.
After driving through the countryside of Slovakia (which is breathtaking in its scenery), forest covered mountains, valleys with huge flowing rivers and quaint little villages, we arrived in the Low Tatra mountains. Our first night (we were wild camping and sleeping in the back of the car) we fell asleep to the sound of 4 or 5 brown bears roaring to each other – one of which was in very close proximity to us, with a splendid sky filled with stars. It was a surreal experience, a little bit tense, yet strangely calming, and was a real reminder of how far we’d come from Berlin! We woke up to see the High Tatras, far in the distance, peaking out of the mist-filled valley that we were looking out over, imagining the vast amount of wildlife that was present between us and them.
We then drove towards the High Tatras, specifically the Ticha Valley, where the highest density of bears in Slovakia is. We walked all day, seeing bear droppings, scratched marks on trees, trunks ripped open and massive trails where the bears had been, alarmingly recently. Then, halfway along the route, binoculars at the ready, we spotted a family of 3 brown bears, high above us in the mountains. This was a moment of pure joy, watching them playing on the rocks, munching on bushes and berries and enjoying life, far away from human contact. We then saw another large male, not far away from the family. On the way back down the valley, we saw another 2 bears doing their thing above the tree line of the epic Tatra mountains. Eagles, buzzards, various falcons, hares, deer, and many other birds along the way also deserve special mention! It was an unforgettable experience.
We did a lot more hiking, including one crazy route through the bear filled forests, using rusty chains and wobbly planks of wood to climb directly up rushing waterfalls and spanning sheer drops above a massive surging river. When we got to the top and had to go back down in the pissing rain, we decided to take the easy route! And I’m not at all ashamed of that..
After all this adventure, we headed south through Austria towards Slovenia, but that’s for next time!
I hope some of you enjoyed it, and hopefully it wasn’t boring enough to put you off the next instalment – the next 5000km snaking through Slovenia, Northern Italy and Croatia – cutting coins and staying safe.
Thanks again for your continued support! Until next time.