Just four kilometres, not very long at all.
But it was our first official running race.
We will always have it in our memories.
We watched the sunrise on the mystic Balinese volcano Batur, picked grapes in vineyards near Gassin in Provence. We were enchanted by the taste of Chianti and bistecca fiorentina in the Nicola Machiavelli residence in the hills over Florence. We counted the stars in the heaven above the Sahara desert, and fished in the Indian Ocean.
We ran half marathons in the streets of Stockholm, Lisbon, Budapest, and Copenhagen.
The strongest of memories.
With us forever.
”Let´s hike to the Studený hrad castle. We haven´t been there yet!” We had this idea one morning.
So we hit the road.
The Studený hrad castle is lost to the sands of time.
It exists only in stories and legends.
A former fort, it was completely destroyed in the Dark Ages.
It stood 500 m south of Gýmeš castle in the Tribeč mountains. The wooden castle was built in the 11th century, and fell into decay in the 13th century.
In Jelenec we took the yellow marked hiking path.
And entered the forest.
The never-ending green surrounded us.
Green gras and green trees.
We were powerfully reminded of Ireland or New Zealand.
And we fell silent.
To listen to the birds singing.
To listen to our souls singing.
And to, just maybe, hear this place tell us its stories.
We harken to the romantic tales of the strong walls of medieval castles, and from within them, the voice of Matúš Čák Trenčiansky, ancient lord of this region, echoes aloud.
It took one hour until we reached the scenic overlook that marked where the castle stood.
To get there, we passed along the 35-40 m steep rocks, which are famous among local climbers.
And the panoramic views!
We admired the rounded green hills of the Tribeč mountains, especially Žibrica.
Among the trees Gýmeš castle greeted us from above.
Compelling us ever upwards.
Gýmeš castle was built on the 514 m high Dúň peak in 1253 on the site of an older fort. Originally two smaller buildings were constructed, and were joined in the 14 th century. From the 15 th century, the castle was owned by the noble Forgách family, specifically the unforgettable Casanova of Gýmeš, Duke Carl Forgách.
Legend says, guests were welcomed with a “spade dance”. It consisted of four strikes of a spade and an inscription in the guest book.
The Forgách family also planted chestnut trees here, now more than 300 years old. And they were also keen hunters and established the moufflon pan here.
It started to rain on our hike back.
It was a gentle May rain, the kind which flows slowly down your face and whose drops linger on your eyelashes.
Under such circumstances you always have always two possibilities: just get wet or you can luxuriate in the romance of it.
As we did.
And we returned to the place, from where we came.
At the end we all return there, where we started.
What we call the beginning is often the end.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
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