Terchova is a small town in northern Slovakia known for being the hometown of the Robin Hood like legend, Juraj Janosik (pronounced Yuraye Yanoshik). Juraj, the Slavic equivalent of George, lived from 1688 to 1713. When he was 15 he fought with the Kuruc rebels against the Hapsburg reign but, after a battle lost by the Kuruc, he was recruited to join the Hapsburg ranks. As a prison guard, he helped a fellow Slovak escape and became the leader of a highwayman band.
The men robbed rich merchants although apparently they were chivalrous robbers, not murders. Legend has it that they gave to the poor, like Robin Hood. A few years later he was captured and hung from the side on a hook to die.
Janosik became of symbol of fighting for the oppressed, a Slovak champion of freedom. He is celebrated in Slovak folklore, literature, and movies.
Janosikove Diery are canyons nearby Terchova. Literally meaning Janosik’s holes, these would have been frequented by the fabled group of highwaymen.
The hike itself has been made possible with a series of metal ladders and walkways over the creek. The ladders can be wet (i.e slippery) with a handrail only on one side. Going up was fine, coming down was a little more challenging for this height fearing gal. Fortunately, the trail is a loop and in the direction we went there was only one ladder down.
It is possible to continue further up, to the Rozsutec peaks. Three years ago we went hiking there; sadly, my camera was broken so I don’t have any photos to share. It’s the nearest place to western Slovakia where you can get above treeline.
When we went, it was the same time of year, and I was about a month pregnant with the twins and starting to feel the effects, i.e. nausea, racing heartbeat, getting short of breath, etc. We woke up early on a gorgeous sunny fall Saturday and decided to go for an impromptu hike up Rozsutec. I got the kids ready, my husband grabbed a few thing to eat from the kitchen and we were off. We dropped the older girls off at family on the way. For breakfast, I think I had an apple.
My husband practically ran up the trail, with me huffing and puffing along. Close to the treeline I stopped; my stomach was growlingly empty which, as anyone with morning sickness can tell you, is sure to make one nauseous. “I have to stop. I need to eat. I’m going to be sick.” I said. “We’re almost there, just a little farther to an amazing view.” My husband cajoled me a little farther, to the edge of a meadow above treeline, which is probably my favourite sort of landscape. We sat down and he pulled out lunch. As our cupboards had been rather bare that day, lunch mainly consisted of bread and sardines. Gag.
Normally I like sardines, but pregnancy made me rather sensitive to the smell. Fortunately I wasn’t sick and managed to choke some food down, which then made me feel better and we continued a beautiful hike.
Back to the present, we stopped at Cicmany (pronounced Chich-man-y) on the journey back home. Cicmany is known for it’s painted wooden houses. The paint, I think, is chalk based, and is supposed to keep away the ants. This is the only village (that I know of) that made this particular practical application into an art form. People still live in the houses, and next I might try to stay at a B&B to get a look at the inside.
Back to the hike…