Caught the sleeper train to Kosice in Slovakia. I say sleeper even though it went from 6am to midday. As far as I am concerned any train you have to get up at 5am for is a sleeper sooner or later.

Slovakia is the fiftieth country I have backpacked. The goal is one hundred so there is a little way to go yet ;). Runty is still lagging behind on 49.

From Budapest we trained up to Stary Smokovec the hiking base camp of the High Tatras. We ditched our packs at a cheap hotel in Horny Smokovec and started hiking. We both agree that the views and scenery in the High Tatras among the best we have ever seen. Runty called them majestic and I agree. The Tatras are covered with Chatas or huts that hikers can sleep in. Our first Chata, Zamkovskeho chata, had hot showers a restaurant and even a bar.

Amazingly you can buy a beer in any chata in the Tatras. This is because there is a group of mad Slovakians who routinely carry kegs of beer up the side of the mountain. The minimum load of these European Sherpers seems to be a keg, a crate of bottled beer, some bottled water and then some other bags of stuff on top to make the stack look impressive. This means they are probably humping over eighty kilos every journey. Mad Bastards, but apparently it pays well.