|Date||Saturday 8 October 2011|
|Distance stage||26,0 km|
|Distance acum.||2545,5 km|
|Quality of signs||good|
|Quality of the hike||C (good): hills, forrests|
I have travelled to Slovakia for a two-day hiking trip. After arriving yesterday afternoon in Bratislava the public transportation was able to get me as far as the city of Spisska Nova Ves. For today I have planned to take the bus in the early morning from Spisska Nova Ves to my starting point in Stoss-Kupele. Unfortnately I am waiting at the wrong bus stop for the bus to Stoss-Kupele, so I miss it. I change my plans immediately, as there is always a plan B, and I catch the train to Kosice, from where I take a bus to Stoss-Kupele.
It is just before 9.00am when I start in Stos-Kupele. The weather is okay for October; there’s a little bit of sunshine, and the temperature is comfortable. The first part of the stage goes uphill, from 600 meters in Stos-Kupele to the top of the Kloptan Hill at 1453 meters. The Path is well to do, a bit steep in the beginning, and signs are clear and sufficient. On the top of the Kloptan there is a watchtower, including a visitorsbook. By the time I get up there the weather is not so great anymore. There is more overcast coming in from the north.
From the Kloptan it only gets easier, first gently downhill and later on a little bit less gently. Although the biggest part of today’s stage is leading through forrests there are some nice views towards the south now and then. The plains in Hungary look very close by. which they are, at a distance of 25 kilometers only. While climbing uphill towards the refuge Chata Erika I meet one of the very few people that are in the hills today. In the middle of the forrest, high up on an isolated hill, he is mowing the grass. When I ask him what it is for, he explains (with hand and feet, as he speakes no English) that he is preparing the slopes for the winter time, when this area seems to be a hotspot for cross-country skiing.
In the afternoon I pass the refuge Chata Erika. It is closed for reconstruction, but it is not noticeable that there is anything going on. From the refuge the climb up to top of the Kojsovska Hola starts. It is about 150 meters uphill, from the forrest out up on the plain and open top. The Trail does not lead to the top, but continous southeastbound just below the top of the hill. The last part of the stage is downhill to the village of Zlata Idka. Some sections are steep, but in general the decent is easy to do. The weather is improving, as the sun is getting more and more its way through the clouds. Just before 5.00pm I arrive after an easy day in Zlata Idka.
I have a reservation in the only hotel that I could find on the internet. The receptionist of the hotel told me, when I made the reservation this afternoon (along the Trail), that they do not have dinning facilities tonight due to a big wedding party that they have. When I ask for directions in the village it turns out that the hotel is known under a different name, and that it is still a few kilometers to get there. Slovakian villages in this part of the country are extremely wide spread, and Zlata Idka is just like that. I have dinner in a place that has a sign “bistro” on the outside but that has no resemblance to any cosy and intimate restaurant in Paris. The owner of the bistro turns out to be an Olympian (1992 and 1996) who is proud of his pictures and souvenirs from his glory days. He gives the directions how to get to the hotel. The way to the hotel, still some 25 minutes walking, is along the Trail. The night falls and I find out that there are a few other places to eat in the village along the Trail. It is very dark by the time I get to the hotel. It is not big, it is situated outside the village on the eastside where the forrest begins. The wedding party is loud, but not irritating, and it is not keeping me from having a good night sleep.