things to do in Slovakia
10 moments you could live in Slovakia – Mala Fatra

Slovakia is a small republic located in Eastern Europe between Poland and Hungary. It is filled with mountains as the Carpathian range “the Tatras” starts here and expands through Romania. Despite its small size, Slovakia has a lot to offer in terms of nature, wildlife, culture and food. A great place to spend a winter holiday away from the much more expensive ski resorts in France or Switzerland. This post is dedicated to the Mala Fatra region and shows alternatives to just go up and down on the ski slopes, but of course, that can be found as well. If you have the opportunity to visit this area, find below some things to do in Slovekia :)


1. Hike up Velky Krivan

Velky Krivan is the highest peak in the Mala Fatra  at 1709m. Despite being not that high, it gives you the great feeling of high mountains. From the Vrátna cable car station, it takes about an hour walk and there is no specific difficulty to complete the ascent. Once at the top, the view (on a sunny day) is magnificent and even allows a sight over the High Tatras mountain range when looking East!

2. Explore the Gorges of Janošikove

Located near the village of Štefanovà, the gorges are an absolute delight for your eyes during winter. There are more than 20 frozen waterfalls which offer images of a fairy tale. You will find yourself walking in narrow sections along the way giving you the opportunity to be as close as possible of this mother nature’s miracle. Platforms and ladders are there to make it easy for you. Another option for the brave, those up for something more challenging can be found too. Follow the trail marked blue, called “Horne Diery”. More physical abilities are required as you’ll have to climb using some ropes. That section is wilder, so you also need to stay focused but the reward is worth the adventure. (Using crampons is recommended).

3. Meet the frozen trees while free riding

In some areas, mostly when taking on elevation where the wind makes his way in winter, it is not rare to encounter a frozen tree. They look like nothing but weird sculptures and this is fascinating to observe, when looking closer, it reveals many tiny frozen details. Some free riders like to slalom between them, why not you?

4. Try Kofola

Once tried you won’t even think of drinking another carbonated soft drink during your stay. But what is Kofola? Kofo syrup, the main ingredient of Kofola, consists of 14 herbal and fruit ingredients (such as extracts from apple, cherry, currant, or herbal aroma). Well, it is tasty and refreshing but also good in between taking shots with the locals.

5. Go for a 12km + trek on the ridge between Chleb and Rozsutec

This is the highlight of a trip in the Mala Fatra. It takes a full day to complete the hike. It starts down the valley next to the ski resort of Vrátna. Embark for the cable car ride which takes about 20 minutes up to the base line of “Chleb” summit. From there, tight your crampons well on your shoes and start following the red marked trail. This hike links all the peaks to “Rozsutec” mountain (photo). You will be able to witness the beauty of the landscape from both sides as walking along the edge. Every mountain is unique and makes the scenery very diverse. This is not dangerous, but again be aware you are in the mountain. Mid-afternoon reserves a tremendous steep section on your way up to “Stoh” summit (a naked hill) but the view at the top is jaw dropping. Between “Stoh” and “Rozsutec” the trail turns down through a pine forest (marked as green) until the village of Štefanova where it ends. It is possible to ignore the green trail and keep going up to Rozsutec but not on the same day and only experienced hikers should attend.

6. Get to taste the local dumpling dessert

In most local restaurants, they serve this tasty desserts called “Ovocné zemiakové knedlíky”. Which means “Fruit potato dumplings” no need to say it is pretty sweet! So, write it down and make sure to have some while being in Slovakia.

7. Go for a stroll in the fog

You think that because it is foggy there is nothing to see? Wrong! Fog and trees go well together especially in winter. Pick any forest path and go. You’ll experience what it is like to be in a sort of painting. Listen to the silence and get your camera ready cause you might end up taking great shots you’d never get in other circumstances.

8. Try waterfall ice climbing

As the region is well powered in term of waterfalls, why not get a trained ice climber guide and try something new. Make sure you have the proper equipment and don’t put yourself at risk. This should be something you won’t forget.

9. Chill and heal your body in the thermal baths

This part of the country is also known for its thermal water benefits. After a long week pushing your body, sometimes to extreme conditions, it is fair to let it properly recover. The town of Rajecké Teplice is ideal to finish a trip in the Mala Fatra. Go to Spa Aphrodite and its many pools, steam baths and saunas. This healing water is just fantastic and a must.

10. Visit the village of  Čičmany and its painted houses

Timbered houses with ridge roofs, galleries and pointed or linear wall decorations have been preserved in Čičmany. Of particular interest are the very specific white patterns which are painted on the exterior walls of the houses to decorate them. The local folk music, special folk costumes and folk dances of the village have been preserved as well making the village a very nice place to stop by and go visit.


What to wear and where to stay

You may wonder what equipment is required for this type of weather conditions and activities. Well in fact not much. Good hiking shoes for sure, winter jacket and other layers for cold temperatures. But the most important we found was renting crampons to fix on the shoes. It actually helped a lot in energy saving and ability to walk on hard snow and icy surface. Regarding accommodation, we stayed in Boboty Hotel and we couldn’t be happier. The staff took good care of us. They have good standards with great packages including food, ski pass, sauna and a swimming pool. There is a nice bar and disco, ideal to make local friends as the region is not known for mass tourism.



Travel blog Thailand
Life’s tough my darling so are we!

Life’s tough my darling, so are we!

A moment lived in Thailand by Sheena, a traveler from India

Let me begin by stating a fact that I have never returned the same person who first embarked upon the journey. I am not sure if that’s how I feel or if it’s something most travelers experience but there is always something that’s changed. I love everything about traveling, entering something unfamiliar and coming out the other side knowing more; it’s enriching, it’s rejuvenating, it’s exciting and it’s life changing.

From every travel adventure I have returned having learned something; sometimes it’s about people, new culture, a new language, cuisines I had never tasted before and more often than not I come back having learned something about life. Many travel experiences come to mind when I write this but for this travel moment, I choose to write about this particular moment I stood corrected and a learning I acquired over Tequila (yes, you read that right)!

As I walked down from my hotel, I pass this restaurant looking like it needed a real good makeover. It was less fancy than most others on the Island and honestly, from the outside, it wasn’t much to look at. In fact, it didn’t even look open, therefore I didn’t pay it much attention and continued about my business of exploring this beautiful Island. On my return, as my thirsty eyes absorbed every little detail around me, I felt it drifting back to this ramshackle. But why, you ask me?

Well, I have no clue. Like I said it wasn’t much to look at but somehow I was constantly being pulled towards this particular restaurant. After four nights on the Island (and the fact that I had to pass it each day on my way from and back to my hotel), I finally gave in to that unexplainable yet intriguing energy that was calling me and got myself to go check it out. As I made my way through a narrow pathway, I was not expecting to be surprised, I had already prejudiced my thinking and wasn’t anticipating much.

Okay, so we go and I get comfortable at a table facing the blue waters and a view that looked out at the stunning limestone rocks jutting out of the sea. We place our orders and I take a moment to look around me. I see hammocks, old crippled boats, a laid back energy and a chill vibe. It looked really nice, I must admit I was second guessing my initial drawings made of the place from outside. I began to feel, we may just have a good time here. This looks like a pretty cool spot for a relaxed afternoon, maybe play some pool, read a book and enjoy a good meal. It wasn’t until after when some of our new friends (from the restaurant) joined our table and we got talking that we realized we were amidst history. Don’t worry, if you don’t understand what I mean. I will explain, I’m taking my time to recreate the dramatic unveiling we experienced.

Amongst our new friends was the owner of the place and with some tequila to keep us company our host told us a story that shook us. A story that was real, honest and painful. A story that made me realize how quick we are to judge, how ignorant we are of our blessings, how ungrateful we are to this life and how privileged we are living inside our perfect bubbles. With the waves in the ocean splashing and roaring in the background, the light outside dimming as the sunset colored the atmosphere a glistening yellow, we listened with bated breath hanging on to his every word.

Popularly known as the Island’s most chilled-our bar; the irony lay in the fact that this restaurant was rebuilt with reclaimed wood after being destroyed in the 2004 tsunami. Our host had lost four of his family members to the ill-fated tsunami and you can still see long tail boats named after each of them in the restaurant. The tables and chairs that we were sitting on were made of wood saved from the deluge that took many lives and ruined property that unfortunate day years back. Suddenly this quaint, rustic shamble called a restaurant started to look like poetic debris.

At that moment I realized I didn’t want it to be fancier, or cleaner or more refined anymore. I get it now, the primitiveness about the place, the natural ornamentation and chill ambiance. It all made perfect sense to me. This was no restaurant trying to look inviting, it was an honest story waiting to be told. It was a clear reminder of faith, belief, and hope. A relentless strength of neither giving up nor pretending to lay the past. This little restaurant celebrated the beautiful souls; those lost and those that lost with only so much as a hint of the tragedy.

I learned at that moment that life’s not easy, it’s pretty tough. Tomorrow is unknown and unprecedented, I learned that there is no shame in accepting loss, in grieving in our own way, in finding our own purpose to live, in being scared and in embracing all that brings us joy. I am reminded that life is a gift that we were given because we’re strong enough to live it. From that day on, I have added a new motto to my way of living; being thankful for this adventure called life. We travel because we want to explore and see the new right, but some adventures are within.

With every breath, I take in more courage from these inspiring stories and exhale any fear I may possibly feel. I am going to always continue to explore, to be curious and treat every new experience with respect. I am a travel addict not only because of the wonderful things we as travelers get to enjoy but also because this world still has so many stories yet to unfold themselves to me. With this blog piece, I pay my sincere tribute to my friends around the world who have shared their stories with me and changed my life. Thank you for making me a better traveler; today I travel more because I learn more because, with every new trip, I feel like a better person!

Oh and yeah, someone wise told me most things get more amazing with great company, good food, and some tequila ;-)

This traveller has a blog : Miss Travel Junkie

credit photo : Sheena


Transformational Trip India
Transformational Trip to India

Transformational Trip to India

A moment lived in India by Simon, a traveler from United Kingdom

This was my first trip to India and in fact, outside of Europe and the US. A true westerner! I had no idea what to expect, although I did know that I’d be embarking on a new adventure into a completely new world. I was right. I was visiting for a week for a friends’ wedding and had no idea what to expect from one of India’s upcoming cities.

It took me some time to get used to such different conditions, lifestyle and standards of living. Rich living in the pockets of the poor, poor living in the backyards of the rich. Dust & pollution almost completely blocking out the power of the sun, which I’m used to being so bright it burns my face. Roads that are as chaotic as life at 8am in the London underground. Thinking twice about drinking water from a tap. These are just a few things I had to get used to in India during the first few days…

The moment I was to highlight however was short, and yet it is permanently etched on my memory. A moment that has changed how I see the world, forever. This moment is about being humble. Appreciating life for what really matters, and enjoying each and every moment with those you care about and love. It’s about not being afraid of difference, in fact, it’s about embracing difference and learning from it. Something The West, especially in times when Presidents like Trump reign, can learn so much from….

I was with some friends boarding a boat to the Buddha Statue across the Hussain Sagar lake. The journey was around 15 minutes. As we left the port, I saw on the boat with us a group of school children with their teacher, who were singing and dancing, celebrating like they had won the world cup. They approached us all with warm, curious hearts, asking us where we were from, why we were here and taking photos with us. They were so delighted to have met westerners, we were the first white people they had met. I was overwhelmed with the innocence and trusting approach of these kids. The teacher was, in fact, the ring leader of the chants and songs. So different to my school days, being told to be quiet on school trips and behave. These kids were encouraged to express themselves, and it was clear how much they respected their teacher as a result. It was so refreshing to see children approaching difference with positive intent, warmth and not fearful of difference. Despite being financially poor they were incredibly rich in energy and lust for life.

Here is a video of this moment, enjoy :)

Glacier Norway
What happens when you turn a corner in Norway!

What happens when you turn a corner in Norway!

A moment lived in Norway by Georgina Mckimm, a traveler from United Kingdom

On February 22nd 2016, I moved into my VW Caddy and have been living in it ever since. One Van and No Plan is literally what it says on the tin! I live in my van (Callie the Caddy) and just take each day as it comes. Check out what I have learned and experience along the way!

Heading down from Bodo after spending a memorable few days in Saltstraumen, the plan was to head to the ferry then down towards the south of Norway, but when you turn a corner and there is a f***ing Glacier in front of you! Your plans change!

Parking up opposite the Svartisen Glacier it then becomes my sole mission in life to touch it! Now you could have done the touristy thing and grabbed the boat over to the other side for 150 NOK (15quid ish) but why pay for something when you can get there for free! So what I thought was going to be roughly a half an hour Kayak turned out to be a good hour +. Not that I minded as Kayaking around Norwegian Fjord is an awesome way to really understand the sheer size and beauty of them!  (check out the video of the Kayak over here)

After reaching the shoreline and hiding my bright Green kayak in the reeds I set off on what looks like an hour ish walk to the Glacier! Again I am seriously not good at judging these timings! Heading towards the Glacier and stumbling across two moose on the way is always an added bonus! Getting to the lake at the bottom of the glacier was stunning and you could really start to understand the sheer size of it! I was mesmerized back at the Van, let’s just say I was like a kid at Christmas!

The sunshine was now out in full force, having set of prepared for a day of cloud and rain a walk to the glacier in my full-length wetsuit was beginning to look like a bad idea! The walk around the lake was stunning, waterfalls falling from all around the glaciers shimmering in the sun through the trees. Tiny little streams trickling underfoot! Once you make it around the lake you get hit with a choice, you can follow the red or blue route up to the glacier! I did the obvious thing and choose red for Man Utd!

So off I scramble up the rocks, halfway up the red route you are hit with pretty much a vertical climb. Which I would definitely not recommend doing in the midday heat in a full-length wetsuit! The benefit of it I supposed was stopping every two minutes to breathe and take in the stunning views this place had to offer!

Reaching the top and popping your head over the last rock is an incredible feeling just standing there taking in the beauty of the Glacier, the height, the width, the coolness that radiated off it!

And the BLUES! Don’t get me started on the colors this thing had on show! On top the white, with a hint of baby blue to the underneath deep dark blue with shades of purple!

I sat there for hours just studying it with my eyes, the blues were mesmerizing! I really didn’t know you could get so many shades of Blue!

Then the sounds, the volumes of water rushing down underneath to droplets of water falling on the rocks around the edges! With the occasional sound of chunks of ice separating away and smashing against the ground!

After pulling myself away from the Glacier I decided my knees would probably thank me if I went back down the blue route! They did! I would recommend this blue route over the red route! Scrabbling under and over rocks and jumping through waterfalls much more fun route!

After heading back down from the Glacier and picking a few blueberries along the way I made it back to the Kayak just in time as the tide had come all the way up to the reeds and the front of the kayak was surrounded by water! Great timing as I didn’t fancy a swim back! I’ve seen the amount of Jellyfish these places hold! Thousands!!

The Kayak back seemed to go a lot quicker than the way there, probably cause I just spent the whole time reliving the beauty I had just seen!

I just touched a f***ing glacier!!!!

This traveller has a blog : Wake up to the World

credit photo : Georgina Mckimm