Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Vegetarians on Foot

Our clients come from a range of backgrounds and one of the most common questions we get here is about suitable destinations for vegetarian hikers. With a certain degree of flexibility we can cater for all dietary needs, but there are some destinations that clearly stand out as vegetarian havens!

Our blog has moved - please see this post here. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Ethiopia - a unique country in an incredible continent

Adam Hickman, Walks Worldwide enthusiast shares his experience about trekking in Ethiopia, a country steeped in ancient history and with unique geology and wildlife.

Ethiopia and the Simien Mountains is the ideal destination for the adventurous traveller looking for the alternative Africa.

Head to our new blog to read more. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How to prepare for desert trekking

So you’ve booked a desert hiking adventure and now it’s time to start thinking about packing. But aside from the basics, just what do you pack for a walk in the desert?

Read this post on our new blog to find out more. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Six Reasons Why You Should Go To Albania

Often unfairly overlooked in favour of its western neighbours, Albania is a must for all trekkers looking for a refreshingly different trekking destination closer to home. We present to you six reasons why you should go to Albania. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Walking with Bears

Walks Worldwide's Mark Wright recently visited Slovakia on our Walking with Bears adventure. He's keen to share his thoughts and experiences on what makes this trip such a breath of fresh air. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Walking in the High Tatras

Alan Dixon, a client of Walks Worldwide, headed on a walking adventure in the High Tatras Mountains in summer 2014. They combined Rysy and the High Tatras with Tatras and the Polish Highlands for a 15-day walking tour. As it’s the perfect time to book for summer 2015, we asked him to share his experiences of walking in this mountainous region...

Read his thoughts on the trip on our new blog here or find out what they did day-by-day below. 

Alan has described their journey day-by-day:

31st July

We started at our pension in Tatranska Lomnica, at the foot of the range in Slovakia.  By the way, I have left the accents off the Slovak and Polish names in this article, which means that I have actually mis-spelt any names with accents.  Also, you can understand this entire article without remembering any names except for Tatranska Lomnica (which we used to refer to as ‘TL’) and Zakopane.

In the lowlands the coniferous forest had been devastated, over a large area, by a windstorm in 2004.  It was recovering slowly, both naturally and by means of replanting.

We walked up to a sign that said “Processing insect calamity!” in English, and probably something better in Slovak and Polish.  At this place, and at a few other places, we would see small areas of trees that had been cut down to combat an insect infestation.

We were on the Magistrala Track, which we were to follow for a few days. We followed it at about the level of the tree line to the Chata (hostel) pri (beside) Zelenom Pleso (lake). As in all of the hostels that we would stay in, there were separate bunks, never one long bunk where people slept side-by-side, and dinner and breakfast were served. There was a terrace where you could sit with a beer and admire the lake.

1st August

We followed the track up to a saddle below Svistovka.  It was a good track but there were chains on the steepest parts.  Ray and I did the short climb up Svistovka Stit (peak), mainly in fog.
We then bought our lunch in a building which was at the top of a gondola lift from the lowlands, and at the bottom of a lift to Lomnicky Stit (peak).  We then followed the track to Zamkovskeho Chata (hostel), arriving in a thunderstorm.

2nd August

We walked along the track to the top station of a mountain railway at Hrebienok.  On the way we passed several young men who were carrying kegs of beer to the hostel, probably as part of some traditional event.  The kegs were obviously very heavy, and each young man was accompanied by several helpers in case he lost balance.

At Hrebienok some sort of event was going on, with music, stalls selling ice-creams, story-tellers for the children etc. After spending some time there, we walked to Chata (hostel) Sliezsky Dom and had lunch nearby.  As this day’s walk was to prove very long, it would have been good to stop here and add a day to the walk, but of course we had an itinerary to follow.

We continued on, generally just above the tree-line, with good views of the lowlands and the Low Tatras on the left (south) and the top of the range to our right.

We finally descended a long way to the hostel at Popradske Pleso (lake).  People could drive to this place, so I would normally regard it a hotel rather that a mountain hostel, but the internal staircase ended on the floor below ours, and there was a ladder to our floor, so maybe ‘hotel’ is the wrong word.  Apart from this eccentric feature, it was a good place to stay.

3rd August

Ray and I started on the track to the top of Rysy.  One part was fairly steep, with chains.  Then we came to the Chata (hostel) pod (below) Rysy, and had morning tea there.  We continued to the top, crossing a snowfield on the way.

There were a lot of people on the second-highest peak, which is on the Slovak-Polish border.  At 2,500m it is the highest point in Poland.  The highest peak of Rysy is about twenty metres away and a few metres higher, but hardly anyone goes up it because it is entirely in Slovakia and is not the highest peak in that country.

Whichever peak you are on, the view is breathtaking. You can look down into Czarny Staw (lake) pod (below) Rysami in Poland, or across at the highest peak in Slovakia, which is Gerlachovsky Stit at 2,650m, and other high peaks.

We descended to the hostel, and then continued to our hotel, with rain developing on the way.  On our trip in the Tatras there was often rain in the afternoon – sometimes we managed to get to our accommodation before it started, sometimes not.

4th August 

Ray, Glenys and I did a day walk up to the Velke (high) Hincovo Pleso (lake).  This was a beautiful alpine lake. We got back to our hotel before a thunderstorm, with hail, started.

5th August

We walked down to the village of Strbske Pleso, and then caught the train to the pension where we had started in Tatranska Lomnica.

The railway is a narrow-gauge electric one, and it connects a string of villages along the base of the range.  If anyone wanted to do day walks in this area, it would be convenient to stay in one of these villages and use the train to get to tracks which start in other villages.

6th August

A driver for the company picked us up and drove us to Zakopane in Poland.  Because Slovakia and Poland are both in the Schengen Area, there were no formalities in crossing the border – we simply drove past an abandoned border post. The plan was to go on a walk that afternoon, but the weather was too cold and wet.

7th August

We took a local bus to the start of our track at Kuznice, then walked up to Hali Kondratowej (a hostel), where Glenys got us coffee for morning tea (walking in Europe has a few advantages).
We continued to the top of the range, and the Slovak border, and went up Kopa Kondracka (a peak), generally in fog.

We descended, in fog and rain, to Kuznice and caught a bus back to near our hotel. It would have been good to stay in Zakopane for several days and do day walks, and in fact the company had advised us to do so.

8th August

A driver from the company dropped us off in the village of Lapszanka, in the Pieniny Range.
We spent the day entirely on roads, except when we had lunch on a gravel creek-bed.  The country was entirely rural, but the walking was still reasonably interesting.

We crossed into Slovakia, then back into Poland, going past an abandoned border post.  We finished in the town of Niedzica.

9th August

We were driven to Sromowce Nizne and walked across a bridge over the Dunajec River into Slovakia.

We then followed a wide, and somewhat crowded, track down the Dunajec Gorge, beside the river, on which there were a lot of rafts.  Some of the rafts were old-fashioned wooden ones, each one being steered by two local men, called ‘Highlanders’.  The passengers did not have life-jackets, and only had to sit there.  There were also modern inflatable rafts, in which the passengers were wearing life-jackets and were using paddles.  Some of the rafts were Polish and some were Slovak.

After lunch in a restaurant, Glenys pointed out that we were only a couple of kilometres from our destination, so we had plenty of time to catch a bus back to the beginning and come down in one of the old-fashioned wooden rafts.  This was a brilliant idea, and we greatly enjoyed the raft trip.  The commentary was in Polish, but we could see everything that we wanted to know about.  If anyone goes to that part of the world, I would strongly recommend the raft trip.  If you were booked in by the staff at your hotel in Slovakia or Poland, I am sure that you would get a commentary in English.
We then walked to our hotel in Szczawnica.

10th August

We caught a local bus to Jaworki, and then walked up to a hostel near the top of Przehyba in the Beskidy Range.  This was a good walk, except that part of it was in a state forest, where the wide track had been churned up by forestry vehicles and was very muddy.
We arrived in rain, after a long day.

11th August

We walked down to the track head near Rytro, where a driver picked us up and drove us to Krakow.
That night we went to a restaurant.  They followed the usual rule that we experienced in Polish restaurants, which was, “Whatever cut of meat the customer orders, give him a schnitzel”, although Ray got around this by ordering pork spareribs.  Fortunately, I like schnitzels.

12th August

I had been to Krakow before, so I just did a do-it-yourself city tour around this beautiful old city, which had suffered very little damage during World War II, partly because the German commander liked the place. Ray and Glenys spent a few days here, going to the world-heritage Wieliczka Salt Mine, and to Auschwitz.

13th August

I started the long flight home to Sydney, after greatly enjoying the Tatras.

If Alan's experiences have inspired you to travel to this beautiful destination, call one of our experts on 01962 737565 or visit the website to read more about the Rysy and the High Tatras or Tatras and the Polish Highlands.