The White Carpathians


They are called Biele Karpaty and we approached them from Trencin along a quiet country road that wound its way gently up a valley. At first. Then it became steep. And then steeper. Ian stopped riding and started walking his bike – this is a sign of severe steepness! The road became a dirt track, then an overgrown dirt track. Where are Slovakian scythers when you need them? We pushed and dragged our bikes for ages and eventually emerged on to a paved road.

Why are we doing this, you may ask? Well, we are placing our trust in Garmin, our GPS, whom we have requested to send us on low traffic routes including unsealed tracks. He does have good ideas at times, but can be both wayward and impractical.

We were rewarded for our efforts by the discovery of a cafe up on the ridge with a fine view and a trio of Czech motorcyclists who were touring around on their vintage Jawas. Our paths subsequently crossed a few more times during the day as they needed to stop and tinker a lot.

The next stage of our route took us back into Czech Republic, straight off the ridge, down a very steep sealed road to a small village. We felt glad not to be riding up such a road until… we found we had to do so. Oh no! The road got steep and steeper, became unrideably steep and we had to haul ourselves and bikes up and up with dripping sweat and aching legs. And then we found we were back on the original ridge, just a bit further along.

More climbing followed, but now at least we could ride again, past holiday cabins and small but precipitous ski slopes with views to the south and west. A buffet provided lunch of sausage with mustard and horseradish, rye bread, ice tea and gritty black coffee.

Then a big run down off the top into fields and farms. We saw a huge zucchini crop with mechanical and human pickers and tried to imagine who would eat them all.

Eventually we arrived in Veseli nad Moravolu, not one of the jewels of Czech Republic, and decided to take a train to Breclav. I am now experienced in the use of simple pictograms to purchase train tickets from non-English speaking railway staff.

2 Responses to “The White Carpathians”

  1. Ian Harris Says:

    Hi Rosalie and Ian – I just want to let you both know how much I have enjoyed the daily adventures of your cycling trip around Eastern Europe. Your colourful and descriptive notations provide a vivid mental image of both the beauty and the challenges you have experienced.

    Furthermore – I have been following your movements with the assistance of Google Maps which have not only pin pointed your locations and the surrounding environs, but have given me the distances you have travelled.

    Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I will continue to follow your travels and probably have several questions to ask you upon your return. Safe travelling…

    Your friend

    Ian Harris

  2. Rosalie Day Says:

    Hello Ian – how nice to hear from you and thanks for reading and commenting! I am thinking of arranging ‘The Moldau’ for ukulele orchestra on my return, having been inspired by the Czech countryside. Cheers, Rosalie

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