Did you say mountains? That must be Slovakia you’re talking about! Yeah, it’s basically one big mountain. Entering this challenging country (challenging for cyclists with fully-loaded bikes weighing 60+ kg) was an unexpected pleasure. In fact, cycling Slovakia has so far been the highlight of the entire journey!
Entering Slovakia (from Poland), things changed pretty rapidly. Houses looked slightly different, and the culture within the country was noticeably different almost straight away. Different in a good way. Winding in and out of the valleys, we were constantly flanked with high rising forest filled mountains quite close to us. It actually made me want to ditch the bike and find some good hiking routes in the national parks. But sadly we couldn’t due to time constraints.
Each of the small towns and villages (especially in the north), all had a similar nice ‘country’ feel, with brown rustic colours. The people in the towns we found were quite nice and generally inquisitive as to what we were doing. We got quite a lot of people stopping what they were doing, give a quick stare in our direction while trying to figure out what they’re looking at, then give a big wave at the last minute. It’s always nice getting support from the side of the road :-)
The quality of the roads were surprisingly OK. I was not sure what I was expecting (probably something similar to what we had previously been riding on), but cycling through Slovakia generally gave us no problems. The majority of the roads we cycled on were pretty much free from glass and major patch work. Best of all, we felt quite safe. Obviously there’s exceptions (like one of two highway mountain passes in which cars nearly hit Kirsty, due to road space limitations). But there always is in each of the countries I’ve cycled through (in which I’ve cycled the length of 11 countries… and counting). Luckily these were few and far in between.
For those cyclists out there, if you’re reading this and thinking of putting Slovakia on your long-haul cycle list – definitely do so. You won’t be disappointed.
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