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Slovak Paradise in the High Tatras

Posted on 11 July 2012 by christie

A Slovak Paradise in the High Tatra Mountains

A Slovak Paradise in the High Tatra Mountains

Finally after detouring from Prague to Berlin, then Krakow and Auschwitz, we are back on track inhaling the crisp mountain air in the High Tatras, Slovakia. All of the cities we visited were spectacular, especially our unexpected tour through the vibrant city of Krakow. Nonetheless cities are cities and we are always bound to get very weary of the hustle and bustle…making the High Tatras Mountains the perfect next stop on our journey.

Zdiar in the Bela Tatras

While staying at “Poet’s Corner” in Olomouc, Czech Republic, we heard about “The Ginger Monkey” hostel situated in a little village called Zdiar in the Bela Tatras. Upon further investigation, we discovered the Bela Tatras are a smaller mountain range close to the Polish/Slovakian border, directly next to the High Tatras. We had read about some small villages in the High Tatras, such as ….., however they appeared to be extremely touristy. Away from it all, Zdiar sounded like the perfect location to relax our minds and bodies for the next couple days. And…it helped that the Ginger Monkey had the most rave reviews. Continue Reading

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Sigulda, Latvia – Gauja National Park

Posted on 20 June 2012 by brett

Gauja National Park - Bobsleigh Track

Gauja National Park – Bobsleigh Track

What we read about the Latvian countryside, particularly Gauja National Park, sounded spectacular. A one hour bus ride east (from Riga) left us in Sigulda, the center of Gauja Park. The town was smaller than we excepted with only one street and a few local cafes. We met up with Kristjans, who we met through the local tourism office. He’s an 18 year old student, interested in learning about other cultures and wants to be a translator. He took us around to all the major sights in the area.

Bobsleigh Fitting

Bobsleigh Fitting

World renowned Bobsleigh track

Sigulda is known for housing the longest bobsleigh track in Europe. Russian and European teams (Germany/Austria) come every year to practice tobogganing, luge and bobsledding at this Olympic quality track. A steep decline from the track led us into the Gauja forest where we found beautiful trails, flowers, plant and bug life. Continue Reading

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Ancient Petra, “Rose-Red City”

Posted on 27 May 2012 by christie

Petra..Wondering about Prehistoric Times

Petra..Wondering about Prehistoric Times

Our anxious two hour drive from Wadi Rum took us through winding desert mountain roads scattered with bedoiun tents and cattle until we reached our next destination. Petra is one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”. This magical place was originally built more than 2200 years ago and inhabited by the Nabateans who were from ancient Arab tribes. However, evidence suggests the city was inhabited since prehistoric times. Over centuries Petra was ruled by different empires including the Greeks and the Romans. This varying cultural influence is very strong throughout the architecture around Petra. It’s called the “Rose-Red City” for its magnificent uniquely colored limestone cliffs.

The Treasury glowing through the Siq

The Treasury glowing through the Siq

Upon entering Petra, we walked through the Siq, which is a long narrow corridor tucked between enormous 80m high rock cliffs. At every corner and turn we were anxious to see what awaited us at the end of the walkway. Many tourists opt to take camel, horses, donkey or horse drawn carriages so we had to be careful not to be trampled by them trotting along.

After zig-zagging 1.5 km through the Siq, the sun radiates at the end of the walkway. We could see a glimpse of the glorious Treasury beaming through the narrow gorge. At the end of the Siq lies the Treasury, which served as a tomb for an ancient king in 100 BC. It was named the Treasury for its fable that an Egyptian pharaoh hid his treasures there. Continue Reading

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