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We wanted to protest against homo- and transphobic state policies in Poland on Rysy, the highest mountain of Poland with rainbow flags. Soon there will be crucial elections that will decide the fate of Poland. There were also elections in Slovakia when we came to High Tatras.
Unfortunately, in many Eastern European countries it is still difficult to be gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, or even have a little different appearance that does strictly fit to strict gender expectations. This is especially true in rural regions. For example, in Poland there are still so-called LGBT-free zones. The Polish and Slovak constitutions prohibited equal marriages (as in Kyrgyzstan). And politicians instrumentalize LGBT people for political points (just like in Kyrgyzstan).
Unlike Kyrgyzstan and other post-Soviet countries, they at least have a powerful tool that somehow protects LGBT rights in Eastern Europe, namely, the influence of the European Union. The fundamental principles of the EU are human rights and democracy. However, even within the EU, many Eastern European countries manage to move towards autocracies, destroying freedom of speech, attacking LGBT and “gender ideology”, Soros and the “West”, forgetting that they are actually the “West”. At the same time, they cultivate hatred towards migrants and refugees from Muslim and African countries, although they themselves strive for the same ideology as in many of these countries with prevailing authoritarianism, restrictions on freedoms and human rights, homophobia at the state level.
In general, the West is not a homogeneous society. There are plenty of homophobes and transphobes here, even in Germany and the Netherlands. Therefore, it is time for Kyrgyzstanis to stop thinking that protecting LGBT rights is some kind of Western ideology.
Sorry for my political digression. Now let’s talk about the positive: on the way to the High Tatras, we stopped in the city of Trenčín to pick up our Slovak friend, Joseph. Trenčín turned out to be a beautiful, but typical European town: with a large castle on a rock, narrow winding streets, cozy cafes with amazing desserts, and wonderful views of the old city, above which ptowered high churches.

In the evening we finally reached the Tatras. It took us the whole day to travel from Leipzig to the High Tatras. We need to get up early tomorrow: the earlier the better, as rain is forecast for the afternoon.

The next day at 7 am we were already hiking up the trail. Below on the sides there is lush vegetation and an impenetrable grove, at the back the valley stretches out to the foot of the wavy green-blue silhouette of the Lesser Tatras, above – a gray-blue curtain of clouds, and in front – the rocky peaks of the Upper Tatras.

We soon reached Lake Popradské Pleso, where after breakfast we took a heavy gas cylinder to lift it all the way to the hut near Rys. The forest retreated. The surrounding area is now rocky with zigzags of monumental peaks. Surprisingly, there are quite a lot of tourists along the way. I thought in the off-season and in this gloomy weather there would be a lot fewer people. I can’t imagine what it’s like here in the summer.

After a rather difficult climb, we were almost at the top. There was a bus stop sign near the hut 🙂 Okay, this sign can still be carried up, but how did they bring the piano into the hut? Inside the hut, near one table, there was a gallows with a sign that this place was intended for vegetarians. Black Eastern European humor. This would definitely not be allowed in the Alps.

And outside there was a sign prohibiting wearing heels. I regretted that I didn’t take the heels with me 🙂 I would take a photo with heels in front of that sign. Maybe this is an idea for our next climb? Imagine the whole team wearing heels in front of this sign.

After drinking herbal tea with alcohol (herbs here seem to be collected in the mountains), we moved to the very top. Just before the summit, there is a small plateau that offers a magical view of the neighboring gorge. And at the very top there is a view of the Polish Tatras. Down below on the Polish side two lakes sparkled: Czarny Staw (Black Lake) and Morskie Oko ( Sea Eye). Here lies the border between these two post-communist countries. They say Vladimir Ilyich Lenin himself hiked up here.

I don’t know what other revolutionary heroes have been here, but we came with our small queer revolution agenda and pulled out our rainbow flag. There were a lot of people at the top, mostly from Poland. I’ve heard how a grup of young men laughed at us, but this is why we are here, so that people can see that we are everywhere, even where they least expect us: on the highest peak in Poland.

The day ended with a walk near Lake Štrbské Pleso (High Tatras are full of lakes!). The thick fog along its shores gave the lake a mystical aura. In the evening we had a walk around a local town with interesting architecture and had a delciious dinner. The next day we were already on our way back to Germany.

On the way back, we also stopped in the Czech city of Brno. This is not Prague, of course, but I liked it here: a very beautiful city with stylish cafes. It was a short weekend trip, but we saw so much that it felt like we were on a whole long vacation.

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