Published: October 18th 2008September 23rd 2008
After getting horribly lost trying to drop Kirstyn off at the airport in Vienna, I hit the road to Slovakia with renewed fear and doubt about travelling the lesser developed Eastern European countries on my own.
Crossed the border uneventfully and managed to find a servo selling the motorway vignettes. First hurdle down, did a relatively big drive up into central Slovakia dropping in at the small village of Bojnice to admire its fairytale like castle. Things were looking pretty quiet at this stage having seen several closed campsites already so I decided to head to one that we knew would be open nearby in Nitriansko Rudno. Found it with not too much hassle but to say it look deserted would be an understatement.
Luckily there was someone inside the enormous bar who after checking with his Dad said I could stay and pointed in the right direction. Site was huge and I had it all to myself except for the few locals who were fishing at the adjacent dam. Needless to say I had a early night!
Early start the next morning took me to the very cute village of Cicmany, complete with its historical painted houses.
From here I ventured further North to the industrial city of Martin which in itself was an ugly post-communist relic of a city, but did contain the impressive Slovensky Dediny open air museum. The museum consisted of over 100 relocated and reconstructed buildings laid out in a village documenting traditional Slovakian lifestyles from different regions. Spent a few hours here wandering about armed with a huge folder of English explanations.
After a late lunch it was time for more driving, heading East as far as Spiske Podhradie to see the enormous ruins of Spiis castle. After exploring the castle I decided to continue driving to make it to the High Tatras that night and give myself more time to explore.
Arrived just before dark at the enormous campground just outside Tatranski Lomnica, complete with 1000 spaces, 2 restaurants, several bars, loads of cabins etc, etc. All looked like it had been abandoned years ago, but surprisingly the reception was open and so I checked in, lucky to get a place with all of 2 other groups there!
Next day was hiking day and the weather was appropriately terrible so that it drizzled most of the day and
allowed only a fleeting glimpse of the snow capped peaks. Added to this ski slope preparations were in full swing which involved loads of heavy machinery making a mess. Eventually found a nice trail through the forest to a river and waterfall. The area was devastated by a cold wind in 2004 which felled about 12600 hectares, so swathes of the forest looked like they had been pulled by bulldozers.
Finished the outing with a fun, but brief go on the Tatrabob luge!
Got back to camp and after a long hot shower to warm up (it was also freezing) and some time on the internet (surprise surprise they had wifi) I headed in to town for a romantic dinner for one, to try the Slovak cuisine before leaving tomorrow. Nice way to finish my time in Slovakia with a hearty meal, the highlight the tasty Garlic and bacon soup.
There are more photos below