Thursday, 23 November 2017
E3 uses existing trails here but is often mentioned on signposts (which is rarely the case in other countries!).
The terrain is usually easy or moderate - on the E3 I have not encountered any technically difficult trails. Sometimes ascents and descents can be quite steep and slippery in rain but nothing really serious.
In popular areas there are mountain huts which offer accommodation and restaurants. Expect big crowds in summer especially in touristy areas like the Giant Mountains or the Mala Fatra. You will encounter mostly day hikers. I have rarely seen any other long-distance hikers!
Tap water is safe to drink and therefore I never treated water in these three countries becausee I got it either from a tap or spring!
Wild camping is technically illegal in all three countries but I have never had a problem. There is so much forest that you can usually hide somewhere out of sight. Just plan ahead because the E3 traverses several national parks which are monitored by rangers - and for conservation reasons I would not want to camp there anyways.
I encountered very few hunters (which might have been due to the season) but plenty of lumberjacks and berry pickers. Commercial berry pickers work in gangs - so try not to camp in blueberry areas. These people are already up at sunrise so can have an unexpected early morning start! I was discovered once but nobody seemed to bother.
Hotels and restaurants are still a lot cheaper than in Western European countries although they are definitely up to Western standards. I usually paid around 30 - 40 EUR for a single room including breakfast and Wlan and never had any bad experience. On the contrary: Private hotels and pensions have by far exceeded my expectations. The same goes for restaurants: Quality was very high and I enjoyed local specialties like the ubiquitous Piroggi - dumplings filled with various stuffings.
To sum it up: I personally enjoyed hiking here a lot and I would definitely recommend it to a friend. If you are looking for relatively easy but interesting trail with a little luxury like staying in a hotel or eating in a restaurant once in a while, this is ideal - especially when you are interested in history.
Eingestellt von German Tourist um 16:00
Wednesday, 22 November 2017
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Tuesday, 21 November 2017
Slovakia offered some real landscape highlights! It started already in the tiny mountain range of Súľovské vrchy or Sulower Berge in German where one view point came after the other - unfortunately linked by some steep trail!
Descending some more very steep trail I arrived in Rajece Teplice, a posh and tacky spa town. The spa complex is called Aphrodite and seems to be a Slovak version of Las Vegas! I arrived just before the local supermarket closed and sat down at the town square watching tourists who seemed to come from all over the world - even including some Muslim women with head scarves - a rare sight in this part of the world. I would have liked to stay one night and relax in the thermal pools but now in high season everything was booked solid - and would have been expensive anyways.
Next day brought some of the most spectacular hiking of the entire trip: I was traversing the Mala Fatra, a National Park. The entire day I was walking on top of the crest, mostly even on knife-edge - although the trail was really easy due to the amount of tourists! In the evening I had to rush to get out of the National Park for wild camping but other hikers did not seem to bother: Even briefly before sunset a bunch of Slovak hikers entered the park and it was apparent they were about to free camp, too!
It took me a while to realise what was going on. This was a gang of blueberry pickers (legal or illegal) and they had fired a rocket to scare away any wild animals! I quickly packed up and had a very early start this morning. I had just walked a couple of hundred metres when the next surprise was waiting for me: an adder was lying right in the middle of the trail sunning itself. I quickly passed. My quick pace was stopped pretty soon by this mud desaster on the trail. Farmers were cutting down trees and their vehicles had turned the trail into a mud bath. They had to work with horses to get the downed trees out of the forest because the ground was destroyed so much.
Eingestellt von German Tourist um 23:44
|View from 1350 m Serak|
The E3 then descends into the lowlands of Nízký Jeseník or "Niederes Gesenke" where I was now traversing fields and pastures and following the very idyllic little river Moravice.
|World War II memorial|
Eingestellt von German Tourist um 18:00
Monday, 20 November 2017
My personal highlight was a different one: Weather was fantastic which means very hot - and I was looking forward to every possibility to wash up. One evening, just half an hour before I wanted to set up camp anyways, I came across this fantastic spring. No one was around anymore that late at night so I just stripped down and stepped underneath this natural shower. I washed myself, my clothes - and had plenty of tasty water that night! Life was good that evening!
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Sunday, 19 November 2017
Eingestellt von German Tourist um 22:15