From Levoča, we drove about twenty minutes further to Poprad to get a closer view of the mountains. Unfortunately, we didn’t find a good location to stop and take pictures. So we turned around and headed to Slovenský Raj National Park.
We passed through several little villages on the way, where the popular thing to do on a Saturday afternoon was to walk in the middle of the street. This was rather dangerous considering the many blind turns! (Please note: no pedestrians were harmed during the course of this road trip.)
The park has extensive hiking trails, and the trail map was full of cryptic symbols. Many of the trails are challenging, day-long hikes. You can also get severely fined for walking the wrong way on a one-way trail. Daylight was fading, so we opted for a benign looking two-way blue trail.
Being in nature was soul refreshing. The tall pines reminded me of the Pacific Northwest. Although the sun was warm, the last vestiges of snow and ice still remained on the river and in shadowy nooks.
We hiked down into the Hornád River Canyon but couldn’t go far before we were squelching through a muddy quagmire, so we turned back.
From what little we saw, the park truly was a paradise.
We all piled into the car once more, this time with me in the driver’s seat. On the return trip, we took a tunnel through the mountain we had previously driven over. The last stop on our journey was to fill up the gas tank for close to $8 a gallon.
Some of my great-great-grandparents emigrated from Czechoslovakia, so possibly I was visiting my homeland! In less than a week, I will be visiting Sicily, another part of my heritage.