A walk in the woods.
Weather: random snow
A trip into “the nature” was the course of today’s action at a temperature of -1.
According to my trusted Lonely Planet (LP) there are hiking trails within reach of the city, so off we set into the centre to get on the trolley bus to Koliba, the last stop on the line. The journey itself was accompanied (as my journeys often are) with a drunk, who got onto the bus very pleased with himself having picked up someone else’s half smoked cigarette whilst waiting. He got on, made a beeline for us and as we covered our mouths to avoid his stench he leaned in and rambled some incoherent sentences, repeatedly.
The bus lurched up the hill, bouncing up cobbled streets that I hadn’t seen before and as we started to leave the city we came across houses, with upstairs and downstairs and gardens! This is a novelty when you live in a tower block.
The bus did an emergency stop (that’s how they like to pull into bus stops here) and we alighted and followed some people with walking boots and sticks. We entered a very brown forest, I suppose it’s too early for green things and worked our way upwards assuming there would be a summit somewhere or at least something that people were heading for. I was surprised, as it’s been so mild recently, to find thick , skiddy ice covering the tracks at times. As you’ll see from my photos, just a regular forest, not exactly Narnia land. The first “map” we came to had been defaced so the rest of our journey seemed a little difficult, but then spotting a little wooden gazebo we headed that way and found ourselves at the foot of the “picnic and play area” the LP had directed us too. LOTS of dog walkers and people wrapped up warm. We found a tree top climbing course, a bob sleigh toboggan ride, some rustic hotels and huts selling steaming hot drinks. People appeared to be drinking hot alcohol, and as it was Sunday and I was nursing the onset of a nasty hangover I headed straight there and managed to order myself a hot dog and a hot red wine and rum without too much bother. As I was dithering over the drinks menu and trying to figure out how to ask for the hot wine I heard a little voice that I recognised. Yes, I knew that whine.. I froze, was this a student? Surely not, I mean I was OUT of the city… Said child had his back to me, but I slunk back out of view just in case, hearing that recognisable tone yet again as he turned round I saw it was indeed Pet’ko ( Peter) from my Kindergarten class. I might point out that in class he is slightly odd. He wears shorts over tights with sandals. He also shouts at me repeatedly in Slovak, and I recently discovered he is actually saying “English Teacher” whenever he wans to show me what he has done. I told him once that I speak English and he responded under his breath : English is shit. I have no idea where he picked that up from, but it his response to the word English.
After realising our bottoms had gone numb from the cold whist we were enjoying hot alcohol, a hot dog and “chipsy” (crisps) we headed on up the trail to find the Chair lift. This list takes to the other end of the trail, or back down if you manage to hike up that far. Some other maps were located and it seems there is a nature trail, several hikes of varying ability, a bike trail and a few more hot alcohol huts to entice you further into the woods. Dusk was on its way, so we turned on our heels having sussed out a few good Sunday afternoons worth of enjoyment and on our way back to the bus stop it started to snow. It seemed to finish our hike in the most appropriate way and we smiled all the way back home.