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We had to take the Tatra Electric Railway to get from Poprad to the town of Stary Smokevek at the base of the mountains. This is a very popular mountain area with lots of hiking and lots of people! The train was pretty full with outdoor types, although there is also a gondola ride up there, so some people were just going for that. We had two different plans. One involved hiking to the top of a mountain, but it was a one way journey of 7.4 kms (4.6 miles) and it was uphill every step of the way with an elevation gain of almost 1,500 meters (4,900 feet). And, once you were at the top you had to retrace your steps back down. The second plan was to go on the same trail until it meets up with another trail that takes you along the side of the mountain to a hotel and lake that's another 5 kms (3 miles) away. We figured we would decide what to do when we reached that intersection. There was a huge windstorm that devastated this area in November 2004. Winds of 108 mph toppled trees in the mature forest. There were more trees broken and blown down during this storm than the entire Slovak logging industry cuts in an entire year. It's going to take many more years to become what it once was. We got to the intersection, and unfortunately we decided on plan B. We had already climbed about 365 meters (1,200 feet) and the worst would have still been ahead. We headed along the route that would take us to the hotel and lake.
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223 Kms from Starý Smokovec
If God ever gives me an opportunity to settle down anywhere else away from home , this place would be it . The drive from Salzburg to Budapest was a long one , but on reaching the city , all the soreness just vanished and we were fresh as a horse . Budapest is basically bifurcated into two parts by the river Danube flowing through the middle of the city and housing the most important centres on either side . The Hilly side is called Buda and the plain, Pest . I can't exactly vouch for its authenticity as I'm giving you the guide's version . Our tour bus led us through the important landmarks of the city and dropped us at the city centre . The Hungarian Forint being weaker than the Rupee , we went on a shopping spree and half of my credit card limit got exhausted there itself at the shopping avenues , but wait the highlight is yet to come . Come evening and we were taken for a river cruise on the Danube , and God it was so beautiful with the sun going down and the lights of the buildings beside the Danube ,shimmering . A trivia , I'd like to mention . Many of us have watched the blockbuster movie Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam , and we were told that the place is Italy , wrong . The bridge over which the famous scene happens with Aishwarya Rai running to Ajay Devgan is the Széchenyi Chain Bridge . I remember every moment of that cruise where we were sitting on the open top of the cruise with a complimentary glass of wine and enjoyed the serenity and the beauty of the place .Etched in my memories forever .
107 Kms from Starý Smokovec
This post is one of the most difficult post I ever had to write because I don’t know If I can do justice to the place, the suffering, the inhuman activities which took place in Auschwitz.Let me tell you something which I'm very embarrassed about. I didn’t know about concentration camps until I was 20 and visited Dachau Concentration Camp in Munich. I knew who Hitler was but I had no clue what he did and how he did those things. I felt sorry for myself and for everyone else who didn’t know about the Holocaust. This part of history should never be forgotten, because those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.
108 Kms from Starý Smokovec
The Much-Talked About Culture
364 Kms from Starý Smokovec
We started at 9 am from Vienna and went on with our trip to Bratislava , the capital of Slovakia . A picturesque drive through huge roads with farmlands and windmills looking down upon you and waving goodbye . We reached this wonderful place . A lot of history is embedded into this city as the guide told us . The beautiful cobblestone roads and dimly lit alleys , the graffiti on the walls . It's a different charm altogether . After describing a brief history of the place through the streets we were taken to the town square where we spend good time and we're taken to the Linder hotel . Now I can't skip mentioning this part . We luckily got a room on the 10th floor of this hotel , one of the best properties I have ever stayed in . The hotel connects to a mall , which allows you ample shopping and eating opportunities if you are a foodie . The view from the room was amazing as we could see till distant horizons with a glass of wine from the balcony. Bratislava will be remembered .
403 Kms from Starý Smokovec
People there make it worth a stay.