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Published: November 6th 2011
We headed South. Ish.
Dodging an a unmarked police bike – a black R1 cruising up and down the highway, trying to tempt young folk into competing, then giving them a ticket, crappier roads and crappier driving. The Tatras loomed majestically – I'm not sure if you can loom majestically, but there they were, looming away, and there was a definite sense of majesty, so there you go. The craggy peaks were covered in cloud, on the road to Poprad. The foreground littered with rolling hills of barley and hops and little white villages. It looked like a beer ad.
We rolled into the campsite at Trencin. The lady was cheerful and spoke zero English, but we got by with single German words. It's not real hard to say 1 tent and 2 people. When Klaire went back for the passports the lady said “Need to sign, for Polizei.”
Klaire duly signed, then asked “What about Adam? “ The lady replied, “No, Polizei not that smart, you just sign both.”
The setting was magnificent. Right in the middle of the river, separated from town by an old iron bridge, the campsite was overlooked by huge Tito era stadium
lights and the imposing turrets of the town castle, directly across the river. Saw some white swans on the river. Quite the picture, really – white swans on the river with the looming castle in the background.
The old Dutch bloke that wandered down to say hello had clearly just spotted a young bloke using a computer, so he came over and asked me for help to fix his wifi. I couldn't help – first, it was all Dutch to me, and second I need to be able to google the question.
Still, we had a chat. At first he had thought I was French, because of the plates. When he found out I was Australian he was very excited. He used to be a sailor, and sailed to Australia with Dutch immigrants. He was also scathing about the French reluctance, even refusal, to use English.
He translated the dutch in the screen, but like an old person, so it was difficult to make any sense of what the problem was. I said my goodbyes and left him and his wife to their giant van and solar powered gnomes.
First thing in the morning, the
campsite began to empty. One at a time, slowly but surely, people packed up. By ten there were only the French remaining. Then they left too. We were the only ones left – it was a bit surreal.
We could hear some actually decent trance music coming from across the river, from the stadium with awesome lighting towers. What sounded like a festival was in fact the football team from Bratislava having a training session, so we kept wandering towards the town.
We had a look around the town, and bought a postcard. There was an excellent one with two naked people laying on a surfboard in the middle of the creek, superimposed over a picture of the castle. We got a different one.
The town itself was great. Quiet, and not really touristy at all. We were to find that we had left country that was likely to be full of Western tourists, and wouldn't be there for a bit. There were more than enough local tourists to make up for it.
We headed south and found our way to Levoca. We arrived at a lovely campsite near the town, where we had to dredge
up some more German to check in. Lots of green grass, little cabins – and not a single other camper. Until later, when some Dutch people arrived.
Then more Dutch people.
Then some more.
Just us and the Dutch. I wondered who was in fact in Holland at that moment. We chilled in the arvo, having a nap, drinking beers, waving the bees away and watching our new electric esky drop in temperature – exciting.
Spis Castle was the local attraction. And it wasn't exactly hard to find. It stuck out like the proverbial as we headed along the main drag through half a hundred towns called Spis-something. Then, in the morning, a drive to Spis Castle. Huge, and in a great spot – on a craggy hilltop overlooking the region. We had a look around it, but realised, as impressive as this castle was, that we were starting to get a bit castled out. That, and some dude was randomly firing a cannon, scaring the shit out of us.
We did our survey for the students, and went back to Levoca to have a look around. Lovely town, had a very cheap, but great
On our return to camp there were yet more Dutch people.
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