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Red Corner: Slovak Mountains
I did like what I saw when it was part of Czechoslovakia, however.
For example, Slovakia boasts the semi-majestic High Tatras. I never got too deep into these mountains but now wish I had after reading Nick Middleton's recent account in The Sunday Times.
Middleton traveled to Slovakia's famed mountain range for a week of trekking and discovered, what he claims, is "the wildest and oddest corner" of Europe. I'm not sure I entirely agree with him.
He was fascinated, for example, how the ugly socialist architecture in many small towns suddenly gave way to charming, medieval town centers. He ran across joggers in very cold weather, and some slightly different food. Oddest? I don't think so. Wildest? Perhaps. Middleton writes fondly of the wild nature scattered throughout the Tatras, and the accompanying peace, punctuated occasionally by other hikers.
Given the option, I'd still choose California's Sierras over the Tatras, but while in Europe, they sound like a rather special place.