Tag Archives: hiking

At 6.30AM I walked through the empty streets of Yerevan on a Sunday morning. There were only a few joggers and the odd cyclist. Everyone else was still asleep. But today I had plans: a group hiking trip to the Dilijan National Park. When I reached the meeting point I was surprised to see a big bus waiting for all of us. We were hiking with 50-ish people! As we drove north we picked up a few people on the highway until the bus was pretty much full. I had the idea that everyone was Armenian. Everyone seemed to understand each other apart from me. After catching a glimpse of lake Sevan we stopped at a huge rest area, with supermarket, petrol station, restaurant and café. It appeared to be the must-do stop on the way north. When we left the bus drove through a small town and up the…

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I loved spending some time in the Dilijan National Park. The views were just incredible, whether it was from the town of Dilijan, from the drives around there or from the hikes I did. Although there are many day trips from Yerevan, this place deserves a bit more time, especially if you like to hike. I read a few too many warnings about shepherd dogs in the mountains. After being bitten twice already on my travels, I’ve developed a fear of dogs I can’t seem to shake. So I decided to stick to some short trails because I was alone. Medieval monasteries trail – 3,5 km loop About 6 km from the bus station in Dilijan is the start of the Medieval monasteries trail. As the name suggests, the path leads you to the 13th century monasteries of Jukhtakvank and Matosavank. When I arrived at the start, a local man…

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Every day we learn something new. One day I learn about action research, the next I learn about mosquitoes… the hard way! I started counting my mosquito bites, but it’s no use, I keep losing track. The back of my legs provided a tasty snack for several dozens of mosquitoes, the front coming in a close second for the tough guys who didn’t mind biting through my leggings. As I’m trying not to constantly scratch my legs I have flashbacks of the swarms of tiny creatures we found in the forest. For a mosquito the creatures were actually fairly big and they were ferocious. Hiking became an awkward dance that looked like waacking, waving my hands around my head and body, slapping my legs to provide some rhythm and kill a few. Now it’s all I can think about, but the hike was actually really nice. I’d been meaning to…

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After a snowy day I woke up to bright blue skies, the sun piercing through my window on the top floor of the old mansion was staying at. I walked down the big wooden staircase again, past the animal heads and antlers on the walls. On my way out the hotel owner asked where I was going. I hoped to hike to two lakes: Biele and Zelene Pleso. He wished me a good day and got back into the reception area. First I walked through the park towards the incredibly good-looking Grand Hotel Praha. Behind it the trail goes past the Sorea hotel and then slowly up the mountain. At the bottom the autumn colors were still mixed in with some bright green. I crossed a little bridge covered in yellow and orange leaves. It was the most idyllic and serene place. As soon as I walked uphill it changed…

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Of all the canyons in the Slovak Paradise national park, Prielom Hornádu is one of the few, if not the only, that is a two-way street. This made it perfect for a loop, taking a detour via Kláštorská roklina, monastery gorge, up to the monastery ruins, down a steep forest trail, past the Tomášovský viewpoint and back along the river. It’s a 19km adventure taking you over ladders and steps, high over the water, hugging the rocks and immerses you in the forest. It’s a beautiful fall day when I make my way to the start. It’s early, but the sun is already driving away the clouds. I walk down the road, away from the town Hrabušice, and find the Hornád river near an intersection. A sign directs me to a path through the fields, alongside the river. Further along is a small rest area where a man is enjoying…

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Sucha Bela is one of the most famous hikes in the Slovak Paradise. While researching I’d read it could get pretty busy, so busy even that there may be small traffic jams on the trail. Imagine my surprise when I found a pretty quiet Slovak Paradise. It turns out October was not a popular month for people to visit the national park, even though all the trails are still open till the end of the month (some, like the via ferrata, close for winter). It meant that I didn’t have to wait for people on the narrow trails and that all my photos were all about nature. It also meant I was extra careful, and very aware that I was hiking by myself. From my base in Hrabušice I followed the main road to Podlesok. I passed empty parking lots and arrived at the eerily quiet base. There were some…

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For my last day in the High Tatras I took a train to Strbské Pleso and chose the popular route to Popradske Pleso. It felt so much busier than the other trails I’ve done. Perhaps it was because it was Friday, perhaps because the sun was finally out and the sky was mostly blue. Lots of people were arriving in the small town and heading either for the ski lift or the trails. Right from the start of the trail I noticed a lot of people chose the same route I did. I had hoped that after the snow from 2 days ago I would be able to go a bit further than Popradske Pleso, to Hincovo Pleso, but I had never thought I’d be able to climb even higher. Today was the day of the unexpected. The morning started easy, with a pleasant forest path that wasn’t too challenging.…

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A holiday in October… anything can happen. October can bring the unexpected sunshine that makes you think it is spring. It can also quickly remind you that winter is around the corner. Today was one of those days. I woke up to find out the temperature was around zero and rain was forecasted for the majority of the day. I went down to the breakfast room and sat next to the window. But wait… is that… white? The top of the cars was covered in a tiny layer of snow, although what was coming down was mostly wet and not sticking to the ground. Due to the weather and other plans I’d scheduled a short hike and I braced myself for the cold. I had leggings and waterproof trousers, two layers and my rain jacket. I hadn’t exactly packed for winter, so until I started my hike I was freezing.…

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It’s been a busy few weeks. I’ve moved and it feels like the last few weeks were filled with online shopping, planning, moving stuff, painting, moving more stuff and painting again. Slowly my new place is coming together and slowly I’ve got more time to do other things. As it happens the corona numbers dropped and life is slowly returning on the streets and in the restaurants. So my repetitive weekends took a turn and I’m still recovering from a jam-packed 2 days. On Saturday night I actually went to the circus. It may not sound so exciting, but it really was. After a bit of a detour we finally found the entrance of a terrain bordering the train tracks. We passed a skate park and entered an artsy world that could fit into a movie. This felt like the Berlin that’s slowly disappearing. There was art made from junk…

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I was nervous because I had booked a trip on the Inca trail. I’d read it’s a hard trail, mainly because of the altitude and since this would be my first time at such an altitude, I had no idea how my body would react. I decided to make my way to Cusco over land, stopping in Arequipa along the way. I would also do some hikes while adjusting to the altitude. In the end I’d covered most of the altitude before the Inca trail even began. At 2.335 m Arequipa is not very high and you don’t really notice you’re at an elevation when you explore the city. However, about 160km away lies the Colca Canyon. With 3.270 meters, it’s one of the deepest canyons in the world and it’s special because it lies at an altitude of about 3.700m, depending on where you are of course. Its size is…

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