Thursday, September 18
Day 21-Nova Lesna
The sun finally broke out today, after 3 days of slow gray drizzle. And it did so in a most fortuitous place - I was hiking in the High Tatra mountains of Slovakia, trudging a trail though beech and fir.
As I rounded the bend I was greeting by a marvelous sight of soaring stone aretes, sheer rock walls and an army of stolid gendarme. All around were an assortment of hikers, Slovaks of all sizes and ages, some walking quite slow, but some of these pudgy old bastards were keeping up! After a few miles, upon reaching the heights where the seasons first snow was blowing wildly, I decided I had had enough.
The rain and somber skies were quite appropriate however, when, the day before, I visited Aushcwitz, the site of the Nazi German atrocities. All in a a very sobering experience, only broken by the flip and silly shenanigans of various school kids gathers in the cinema hall. Once the film had played however, recounting the horrors of this place, they were notably subdued, many exited having found something had gotten in their eyes.
And so my journey continues, a tightrope dance between blue skies and gray. Every moment invites a chance to learn something new, a new word, a train schedule, a particular way something is done here. Assumptions are often misleading, and though it may be easy enough to catch a train, getting off at the right station is not always straight forward. Last night was a case in point. Exiting the train station in search of the bus station, I began a cold wait in the darkness for the bus that might take me to the remote resort village that was my destination. After a half hour I decided to suck it up and take a taxi, and good thing. Later I learned that the bus would have not arrived for 3 hours and left me an impossible 20 minute walk from my hostel. Intuition is every thing in this game.