03 August 2013

Down the River between Slovakia and Poland

Our little summer vacation is here and with it trips to cottage, walks, mosquitos, sandal tan, sunglasses, hats, sightseeing, cool drinks and cycling bruises. My English man and I are together for about two weeks now. We started in Prague, then continued to Košice (Slovakia) and soon we are returning back to Prague again. We took several trips with my parents at the beginning of this week, one of them being rafting down the river Dunajec on traditional rafts in the north of Slovakia, where the river creates a border between Slovakia and Poland. The water level was low and a journey of 9 kilometers took our rafting guides almost two hours. (It was a very hot day and Adrian kept splashing river water on me all the way). We met ducks, lots of other (mostly Polish) rafts, saw fish and a lot of natural beauties of Pieniny national park, some of which are pictured below.

Traditional raft on Dunajec, Slovakia/Poland

Most of the guides wear traditional vests and hats. The hats are covered in seashells, because originally, the rafters were transporting wood down the river all the way to the sea. For every completed journey to the seaside, they brought back one shell. So the man with most shells was the coolest one :) (You can buy the hats as a souvenir. I checked - all the shells were made of plastic)

Seven stone monks, Dunajec and rafts

Seven stone monks. According to the legend, there were seven monks living in the "Červený Kláštor" (Red Monastery) nearby on the Slovak side of the river, who were allowed to visit one nun living on the Polish side (as the guide mentioned - for prayers, of course!). The only condition was that they had to go one at a time - a different monk every day of the week. However, because according to the rules of the monastery, the monks could not talk to each other, they couldn't agree on who will go when and so they all went, and every day (praying must have been very important to all of them). And therefore, because they disobeyed the rules, they were all turned into a stone and so was the nun (who is represented by a rock on the Polish side of the river, of course).

Tri koruny

The three rocks "Tri koruny" (Three Crowns). Each of them has its own name, both in Slovak and in Polish, the only one I remember is that the first one is called "Duch Pienin" (The Spirit - or Ghost - of Pieniny). If you look closely, you can see that the trees on it form its eyes and sad mouth or moustache.

Beautiful scenery of PIENAP (PIeninský NÁrodný Park - Pieniny National Park)

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