Slovakia
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Camp and day’s information: Friday, 17th  June 2005

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Narodny Mala Fatra Nat. Park
NW of Martin
Bushcamp

 

     

Warm day, cool breeze. Max

Potato salad, cevapi sausage. smoked ham.

We had an undisturbed night, which we were thankful for.   We both has brief washes and put more ointment on our sores.  Michael chatted briefly to a Belgian tourist who was free camping about 1km further along.  He said they had some bad experiences since arriving in Hungary.  Firstly, some guy on a motorbike rode past and kicked their satellite dish and then in a separate incident a group of youngsters came along to where they were camped and started stoning the vehicle, so they had to leave!  Luckily, we haven't experienced any animosity like that.

We drove kind of parallel to the Danube up to Visegard.  We were both disappointed in the Danube.  We had expected a more powerful and evocative river, but it was pretty much like most major European rivers.  We left Hungary from Esztergom which was a great little town with lots of atmosphere.  We crossed the Danube River and entry into Slovakia was no problem - a matter of minutes.

One of the first things we noticed was the dearth of cars in Slovakia.  In the small towns and villages bicycle is the main mode of transport.  There was a lovely homely feel to Slovakia with individuals selling fresh produce outside the gates to their homes.  we saw local farmers turning the hay, their horses standing patiently by, resting before getting back to work.  I saw a couple of people watering their gardens in their underpants with socks and sandals on - very sexy?!

We are not entirely sure why, but we prefer the feel of Slovakia to Hungary, the people are certainly more friendly and laid back and the towns look more cared for.  Nyathi was photographed quite often en route as we entered the capital, Bratislava.  It is a wonderful capital city with a strong mix of modern and old.  We visited the Castle, which was lovely, but didn't hold the intrigue and grandeur of other castles we have seen.  Perhaps that's in keeping with the unpretentious style of Slovakia?

The wonderful thing about it was the lack of crowds around the back of the castle.  We wandered around the grounds and probably only saw a dozen other people.  The river running down below is spanned by lots of different style bridges from the ultra modern to old, chunky and functional.

  

We walked down to the old town has lots of character and we discovered that's where all the tourists were hanging out.  There are sidewalk cafes, shops and old gothic chapels interspersed with one another. We got caught out trying to take a short cut back to the car and we were pretty hot by the time we'd walked back up to the castle.

We drove north east out of the capital towards Poland.  We definitely enjoyed the rural feel of Slovakia and the countryside was scattered with hilltop ruins and churches.

We drove through some fairly dramatic scenery, but it was quite hazy, so didn't make for great photographs.  We found a secluded camp site up a fairly steep dirt track in among the trees and bushes.  There was a waterfall trickling somewhere, but we couldn't see it through the dense forest growth.  The ground was muddy and the grass quite long, but we flattened an small area out and took the opportunity to have hot baths!