Friday, 11 June 2010
Written 11th June
We got woken up early in Levoca, by a digger which decided that 7am was the only possible time it could spend 10 minutes scraping mud off the road right near our little layby. Having succeeded in waking us up to the point of no return, it then disappeared off elsewhere - rubbish.
So we headed into town with grand plans for the day with our virtuously early start... Which we then completely sabotaged with one coffee and three hours of internet in a café - oh well :)
Meli and Rafael had been there the day before and said it was one of the best castles they had been to - like us, they have ticked off a lot of UNESCO listed things on their travels, we are all wondering quite what the criteria are as from the sheer number of site, the bar can't be that high, we were wondering whether we could get Jules and Bussli certified and could then charge people to visit...;) - with a good audio guide, but we weren't in the mood for a ruined castle visit, so stopped for lunch in a layby with a fine castle view then headed instead for Kezmarok in search of churches.
And churches we found.
And then next door to the 19th century New Evangelical Church. A pink and green mosque-like confection with a starkly plain and cream interior in contrast to the ornate, dark painted wood of next door. And yes, more UNESCO-ness... :)
Sights done for the day, off to the mountains
where we decided we were too late for mountain walking so settled into a discrete off road layby, high up near Strbske Pleso.
but the lake was pretty, if busy, and the ride back down was well worth the effort to get up, no peddling required - wheeeeeeeee!
back on the road for great views of Slovensky Raj
And later on, an hour and a bit's trek up from Stary Smokovec, first on the path by the side of the funicular to Hrebienok and then on to Obrovsky Vodopad (the Big Waterfall)
All very lovely although we should have taken the bikes again for the long smooth road down. There is also an enteprising company at the top of the funicular who will rent you a scooter so you can wizz back down if you don't have a bike of your own...
And if you're herewith only one day, I would say go to Slovensky Raj in preference to the lower trails on the Tatras - much less crowded (we saw 4 people) and so much more fun!
We had originally planned to go up on the cable car to Lomnicky Stit the highest peak in the Tatras, but at a whapping lp indicated €32 each, that was sadly not to be. Oh well, maybe the one on the polish side will be more reasonable...
We had also hoped to go out for dinner, our last chance for a Slovakian meal out, but sadly at 8:30pm, the restaurant recommended by lp (and all the others in that town) were closed with no indication as to whether they had been open at all :( it is that awkward, not-quite-hiking-but-definitely-not-skiing season and this place is definitely geared mainly to tourists. Oh well, not to worry although with all this hiking, we really felt we'd earnt it!
So special rice and the last half a glass of the Melnik pink in a large quiet layby near the polish border instead - not so bad really then :)
But another unwelcome early morning - honestly, if I wanted to be awake at 7am I would get myself a job to go to... ;) - when two polish truck drivers decided that our layby was just the place to pull over, and right by our window was the only place in the whole vast expanse of gravel was the only place to chat. VERY LOUDLY :(
we crossed the border - only marked going back into Slovakia -
and are just starting to approach something like normality after two coffees each in Zakopane.
Poland here we come! (well, in a bit anyway :)
With love for now from Becky, Will and Jules on Friday, June 11, 2010