Hiking for Beginners or From the Office to the Hills
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Year after year, we have been cementing the relationships of the second-floor office collective, or crew as we call it, so why should anything change in 2022! We are still on the same floor. We still have a lot of experience and things to share. However, what is different is that we have become more multicultural, older, and hopefully wiser and more beautiful. Or rather, younger and prettier because we have been graced with a few new pieces from the new collection – a few new members of the crew, new interns, and colleagues – in the recent year. So how are we getting closer? Since our hiking gurus took charge of this year’s team-building programme, they said the best imaginary putty would be sweat. So will it stick? Won’t it? We’ll go and see.
No, it wasn’t as bad as I’m trying to make it out to be, but let’s start from the beginning. Everybody was happy that another team-building event was coming up. Still, after the first emails about the main programme, some got more and some less excited. The email message contained a map with a line marking our pilgrimage route. And then numbers, markers, and reassurances that the hike would be as easy as pie. Hiking for beginners. We know the expedition leader very well, so the “non-hikers” suspected a trick or catch in it. In case of nasty weather, the alternative programme seemed to be redemption for some of us. We may have even ritually summoned rain. But everything had been arranged, and Mother Nature was in high spirits on that day. As is customary, team building is supposed to be a reward for jobs well done, and since we always try hard, we were full of expectations.
The doors on the cars slammed shut, and the first cross on the map became the Roznava petrol station. Needless to say, we bothered our fellow passengers with the choice of music all the way, of course. Coffee, breakfast, a morning chit-chat, and a full tank. And an empty head, because only I can buy water at the station and leave it there – c-c-c-classic. Then clutch, throttle and a granite-cautious ride under the Besnik saddle. Although it was with an automatic gearbox. After getting off at the destination and changing into hiking boots, we started wondering what the meaning of the master planner’s secret code was. The first few metres were far from flat, and we felt a bit cheated on. Many of us did not refrain from snide remarks toward our sherpa. As the next few hours proved, we had to apologise to him for any accusations. The trip wasn’t all that challenging (except for a minor climb to the lookout), and topping up our drinking regime, taking photos together and taking short frisbee breaks made for an enjoyable (post-)midday. The view from Ondrejisko of the beauty of the Slovak countryside – Kráľova Hora, the High Tatras, and Stratená – became the centre of our hiking route and definitely the focus of our amazement. Suddenly we were all incredibly grateful that the weather did not betray us at this moment. After replenishing our energy reserves and absorbing all the beauty around, our journey back to the cars took a little shorter. The motivation was obvious – a good lunch.
We arrived at the nearby Telgart, where we were staying, with a short delay but with all the emptier stomachs. After a welcome drink, we were shown our ‘chambers’, and it took only a short rest, and we were all in the lunch ‘hall’. While we’re not actually princes or princesses – imagine the chambers as suites and the lunch hall as a room with tables. Did you get it? They say, one man’s meat, another man’s poison. Well, everyone was eventually satisfied despite a mix of cultures, our gathering being Slovak-Polish-Spanish-Lithuanian-Serbian. And we couldn’t believe how much one Pole can eat 😊. We finished the lunch menu with a dessert in the form of training. Then the gates to a wellness paradise opened; however, only the tender part of our expedition decided to pamper themselves after a gruelling day. The male part entered another gate, a sort of multi-dimensional portal located between the lunchroom and the toilet. But everyone who went there returned within two hours. The four hours after lunch went by faster than a snap of a finger; some of us didn’t even rise from the chairs, and lunch suddenly became dinner. That’s how it is when you feel good, and there’s something to talk about.
I won’t provide any more details about the catering services. I’ll be told this article is too long, anyway. We moved to the bowling area in the evening, where we spent a little over an hour. As for myself, I didn’t do very well even though I go bowling quite often. Some don’t go at all, tried it for the first time and shone like a diamond, and others at least learned something new. Our mission accomplished as we all had fun. After an hour, we decided to move to our suites, go on to play some of the board games we had brought there from Košice and see how it would all turn out. Fatigue came eventually upon us and defeated the desire to compete and win. Of all board games, a gambling game, poker was an instant and only success, preceded by a brief explanation of Texas Hold’em rules for all non-participants. As the audience gradually dwindled, the tokens of the losing players dwindled as well. In the end, the game was all done. So were we (is there anyone who hasn’t paid the buy-in? Halooo).
The night was falling, and shut the hell up, as one of our colleagues told us just before the end of the game. After all, most of us needed to gather strength for an early morning walk if we wanted to see the sunrise. Yet, this is about to be a tradition for the brave fellows. Someone else should write about it because I just turned the pillow to the cooler side when the walk started. The only thing I heard through the grapevine was that they left somewhere and did arrive there and that the sun was barely visible, hiding afar in the morning haze (or clouds and all). I would’ve written more to you about this unforgettable moment if only I’d received the answers to my questions from my colleagues. I didn’t.
One thing was sure; everyone had come back because every chair was occupied at breakfast. The only drawback was the lack of caffeine in the morning coffee. After the check-out, we decided to replenish the dose of caffeine at the cosy DEPO cafe across from the Telgart viaduct, which we couldn’t miss out on our journey. After the excellent breakfast, strong coffee, and delicious cakes, we left Telgárt and headed to the nearby source of the river Hron. Just to find an excuse and say we walked a little more even the following day. The brave enough willingly tried the water and, up to date, have been hoping to gain some superpowers. This article might not be that long hadn’t I tasted the water. God knows 😀 We also left a not-quite-so-collective signature and guestbook message at this prosaic place, written by little Robko, and I’d rather not quote him. If it is okay and the article is approved for publication, I’ll also add a photo. Looking for it? Well, I guess it didn’t go through then.
The last point of the programme was lunch at the Ranch under Ostrá Skala. Since we are not talking about eating anymore, the majestic swings at the site should be highlighted at least, which could seem really romantic under other circumstances. I hope there’s a photo below the article. Our team-building exercise ended up with a sonic bang from the supersonic fighters, so we reckoned it was probably time to go home.
We got back into the cars and … home sweet home. Back to the office!
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Robert is like a moving photograph – because he is like a video. He can capture 60 frames per second. Whenever something happens, he records it. Currently, he’s working on smaller videos and hoping to make a feature film one day and then its sequel. Telegrafia 2: Monkey Power