September 2, 2015

What’s up in Europe, Part II

The second part of the adventures I had during the first month I got back to Europe, after being in the US for a couple of years.

After crossing Czechia, I went for a family reunion in the Austrian Eastern Alps...

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We went to a range called Hohe Wand (High Wall).

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One of the most recognizable attractions of the location is this balcony, hanging over a good-sized cliff. Other than that, it is a popular place for rock climbing, hiking, and recreation in general. All with an offer of some magnificent views:

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During the day, the local mountain rescue team celebrated its 90th anniversary. They had some demonstrations and a fun program featuring a local brass band.

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Then my family went for lunch, but since this was the first time in the mountains in a while, I went for a short hike nearby instead. My uncle recommended me one including a via ferrata - great! It supposed to go downhill a bit, then locate a hole in a rock wall, get there and return up by a ladder inside of the formation.

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Selfie time, then a fun way up.

Selfie time, then a fun way up.

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This would be so much fun to try.

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Meanwhile, the rescue team came with their helicopter, which was a hit for all ages.

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As I joined my family back on the top again, a good-sized storm was approaching.

Thankfully, the storm left as quickly as it started, so we could continue to Neusiedl Lake.

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Lake Neusiedl is humongous. It covers 315 km² (77838 acres), and besides swimming, it is a popular location for fishing, sailing, and windsurfing.

The next morning we went to Slovakia, where we visited a valley northwest of Bratislava…

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..and Bratislava itself.

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I was in Bratislava several years ago, and back then I got a message from one local member of a Chimney Climbing Club, that we should meet at one of the city’s smokestacks. I didn’t have a chance to do so back then, but I remembered it and contacted him this time. I wondered if he still lives here, and maybe set something up. He was, and he offered to organize an ascent to a stack of one city’s hospitals. Cool! That was the plan for the evening.

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To get there; I had to cross the Danube river, which opened a view on the old town with the Bratislava’s castle in the background.

Walking across the river opens a view on the old town with the Bratislava’s castle in the background.

On the way, I enjoyed seeing designated cycling paths. While my stay in the American Midwest, I forgot about how good is the infrastructure for cyclists here in the EU.

And soon, I was looking at the world from above with a new friend.

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I took a tram to the place I spend the night - another attraction when coming from the US.

The following day I walked through the city center.

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the old town is the place to see.

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The area isn’t as big, so it is possible to cover it fairly quickly. Then I went to Bratislava’s castle.

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The castle offers a pretty neat view on the old town (the first pic of this blog) and an enormous housing district across the river, called Petrzalka. These concrete buildings are home to over 110000 people:

Notice is the needle on the right. That’s a 115 m (377ft) tall smokestack, where I went next.

From the castle, I crossed the river by the SNP bridge, one of the iconic structures of the city. Its supporting pillars are topped with a "ufo," a panoramic restaurant.

From the bridge, I saw a neat sunset.

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And soon I was standing next to the factory grounds with the smokestack. Back in 2011, I organized a climb on in, but I haven't been there since, and I haven't got in touch with them in advance, so I just thought about taking a look from a distance. Quite a lot changed since the last time: The gatehouse where they granted me access was shut, also, a large building right next to the chimney was leveled with the ground. I was about to walk away when I discovered a new gate, and they allowed me to enter again. What nice staff, they have!

…respective inside of the smoke stack.

Although climbing used to be my favorite past time activity, I haven't climbed anything this tall for over three years. The ascent went surprisingly fast, but I felt that lack of training. Mainly my arms were out of shape, so when I reached the third quarter of the stack, I had to take a rest for a few minutes.

One more to go.

Almost there!

In a bit, I was standing on the top. Oh, I love this! Fresh air, fresh minds. And the views..

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ooooh, the views.

ooooh, the views.

After the excitement of the outlooks around, it was time to get back down.

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Last look...

…and go get some sleep.

…and get back. Public transportation is the way to go..

Public transportation is the way to go..

Then, I put together details about my upcoming exhibition, set up the prints, and so on.

If you will be in Czech Republic in next month or so, stop by and check it out!

If you will be in the Czech Republic in the next month or so, stop by and check it out!

I haven't rested a bunch since I arrived from the US. I've spent just two nights at home, which probably won't get any different for a while, as I hit the road again. The last month was like a rollercoaster ride. It's a bit exhausting, but I'm having a blast - as I am off to the Netherlands. But that will be another story, for another time. Edit: it's already online.

Thanks for reading.

Published by: Jakub Stepanovic in Stories



    Miroslav Vallo starký
    October 24, 2015 at 20:27

    tie tvoje fotografie z Bratislavy prinášajú pocity radosti,uspokojenia, ale aj krásne spomienky na spoločné chvíle strávené s Tebou.Prial by som si,aby
    sme sa Tvojej prítomnosti v Bratislave dožili ešte veľa krát.

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