Episode 2

Tip of the day
Don’t eat heavy food just before the hike on top of the hill. 🥟

“On the road, we meet a lot of people that want to chat with us about our trip. Travelers with large backpacks attract a lot of attention. There are two types of people that talk to us. Those that think that we won’t last many days and those that support us and believe in us. I have stopped to take their comments personally. I don’t know if we will make it till Devin, but I know that their words mirror their own determination.”

Next morning, we managed to wake up early and see the beautiful view over Bardejov. We had a coffee and last chat with our co-snp-hiker Ondrej and took off to the city for breakfast. Enchanted by the city and the food, we stayed much longer than we should and the fight with sunny weather and hot asphalt began. 🥵

Today we met other SNP hikers. The first one was Slavo. We met him a few kilometers after Bardejov. He had similar pace, but after an hour we needed to take a rest near the river, because it was too hot for Aponi to continue. We had our first natural shower after three days on the road. It's funny how we are obsessed with hygiene each day back in the city, but when in nature it's a luxury to wash yourself after three days in the river. I'm not sure if we got used to our smell or those Merino T-Shirts are as good as advertised.

Later we had lunch in Hervartov. I got seduced by dumplings with sheep cheese, Slovakian national food. My thoughts at the moment were something like this: “I have walked almost 100km, I deserve to have a nice tasty food that I love”. Well it proved to be a bad choice later. Especially because the food came with a cup of sour milk that I had to drink because I didn’t want to waste the food. The first sickness came during the hike to the top of the Zobrak mountain. 🥟🥟🥟

On Zobrak, Zuzka and Dano, other SNP hikers caught up with us. They already knew us from the posts we sent to the official SNP website. I started to sense the interesting community behind SNP hikers. Thanks to those two we were able to go much further than we planned, to the top of the Cergov. New company was refreshing and motivating. We arrived after sunset and set up our tent. That’s when it started .... the dumplings didn't wait long and we had an interesting night. 🤢

Dumplings crisis did not vanish even in the morning, and several SNP-hikers, who were passing through Cergov in the morning, tried to give us the most necessary things from their supplies. I was amazed about the help we got from the fellow hikers. In a way, the sickness was worth the experience of solidarity.

However, we had to move to Hradisko, because we were running out of water. I was weak, had a fever, my stomach was watery and I was literally crying with each step I took for the next 15 minutes until Nika drugged me with pills. After two long hours we came to Hradisko but the well did not work. We had to ask for water in the neighborhood. The heat escalated, so we camped at the bus stop, where we Iied down for rest. The Dumplings crisis had been rumoured among the SNP-hikers, and suddenly a three-member expedition appeared on the road (Mario, Lubos, Lukas), who took our fate into their hands for a while and provided all-inclusive care, great respect and great thanks. They spent at least two hours with us. One of their best tips for a sick stomach was a cup full of “slivovica” which I had to drink.

Our last rescuer that day, Krakous, who stopped by us on the way to Terna, helped us with accommodation. He told us that the mayor of the city provides shelter at home for seniors and gave us his number. The vision of shower and roof above our heads gave me strength to walk the last few kilometers to the village. It was worth it. 🏠

Tip of the day
When in a village try to find the mayor, he is usually very generous and helps the travelers on their pilgrimage.

“Sometimes I have thoughts that this determination is not worth it. I explore the limits of my body and it tells me I should stop, but I think it's just pampered. While I can stand and walk, I walk”

The morning in Terna was great. Nika randomly met Mr. Priest when searching for a toilet. He allowed us to wash and use the toilet at the parish and even gave us a blessing for our journey. 😇

After exhausting previous day we were ready to continue and hit the road early. The road from Terna to Presov was easy, it ran through the forest, crossing many springs with water for Aponi. Unfortunately, just before the strongest sun hit around noon, the road changed from forest cleansing to asphalt again.

My cousin came to see us on bike and she recommended we eat in Sarispark. We had to detour from the main road but the food and rest was worth it. Unfortunately, they told us that we cannot enter the terrace with a big dog. We respected that and found the place in the shadow outside, however they told us they won’t serve us food there because it's forbidden. Exhausted, hungry and thirsty we spent our last energy and went through Velky Saris to a local pizza place. I was not able to eat anything on my stomach from their offer, cola had to suffice for the day.

Originally we planned to arrive in Kysak that day, but after a long lunch break, we were able to come to the Janov village after sunset. We were lucky to meet the mayor of the town in a small tavern where he watched football with his two friends. He opened showers for us that were part of a big football stadium, where he also allowed us to sleep. We could even charge our batteries there. The day ended with a cup of draft Kofola.

Tip of the day
Don’t leave the food in the tent during night. Even when you camp near the city. It's not worth the night's stress.

“Third day on the road since my dumplings episode and I have barely eaten anything. We have some diet food that I usually prepare for breakfast and dinner but I start to have a serious energy deficit. Most of the time I am tired and when walking my head is spinning around. I try to compensate and drink a lot of water. Normally, a person can withstand a calorie deficit for a few days, but not when she burns additional 3000 calories each. Today we need to find a restaurant where they serve meat.”

We leave Janov early in the morning and head to Kosice. We plan to have a lunch stop at Kysak. There, we meet our SNP friends and rescuers from the dumplings episode. We decided to spend lunch time with them and learn that the SNP community is a huge group of gossipers. Everybody knows about everybody and we learn stories about SNP friends we met before. The information travels quickly both from Dukla to Devin and in the opposite direction.

Our friend Majo brings us supplies (fruits, meat, toilet paper). We were not able to find the restaurant but we prepared meat on our mini stove. We share the vitamins with the rest of the group and slowly prepare for our afternoon hike.

Janosikova Basta offers a beautiful view over the valley. Nika starts to have her own crisis and stomachache. We had 10 kilometers to go and a few hours before sunset. We walked through the forest until sunset. Last hour, Nika was suffering with each step. The forest was covered with darkness when suddenly our friends Baska and Jurko appeared in the opposite direction on bikes. “It's only 30 more minutes,” they shouted. They were able to find us according to Aponi’s GPS, which we shared with our family and friends. The very welcoming surprise boosted our motivation and with the additional lights and company of our friends we finally arrived to Hresna cottage on top of Kavecany.

During the night Aponi waked us up. She was growling and shaking. Something is in front of our tent. We listened, the sound was similar to the boar. We started to make a sound, first with pots then I opened Spotify. Nothing was working. The sound of the animal was still close. We started to panic, we left the food in our tent because we were close to the city and thought it was safe. Nika took Aponi’s food and bear spray prepared to give both to the boar. She opened the tent and there it was, the horse. It probably escaped the fence. 🐴 😂

In the morning we met with our friend Majo in Cermel. He brought us fresh clothes and supplies for the hike in “Volovské Vrchy”. 🏕🐻🐺🦉⛰