Spiš Castle

28 05 2009
Spiš Castle

Spiš Castle

On our way up to Poland, our last stop in Slovakia was to the large Spiš Castle.  We took the bus to Spišské Podhradie and ate lunch at a traditional Slovak restaurant called Spissky Salas before hiking to the castle through some fields and a village.  This was one of first decent hard-food meals Alexa has had since her 24-hour flu. Read the rest of this entry »





Levoča

27 05 2009
Levoca

Levoca

We headed to the town of Levoča in northern Slovakia, after our time in the Malá Fatra Park.  On our way, Alexa had a stomach flew that resulted in a classic travel scenario, involving loading our bags onto a bus, getting tickets, sitting down, immediately barfing into a small plastic bag, getting off the bus by the back door, more public humiliation and a trash can (one of those times where you are too ill to care), and then getting back on the bus before it left with our bags, clutching a new plastic bag as the nausea continued.

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Mala Fatra

22 05 2009
Vrátna Valley

Vrátna Valley

While Jason rested in Žilina, Alexa did some exploratory hiking in the Malá Fatra National Park, just north of Žilina.  The park is very pretty, and the bus ride out is easy, so two days later we headed up there so that Jason could rest and enjoy the scenery and Alexa could do some more hiking.  We stayed in the nice village of Stefanova, and brought lots of our food we had planned on using backpacking to cook in the kitchen at our lodging in Stefanova. Read the rest of this entry »





Orava Castle

18 05 2009
Orava Castle

Orava Castle

We took a day trip up to see the Orava Castle, on the border with Poland.  It is on a very tall rock and is one of the most impressive restored castles we have seen.  The tour was pretty good, and involves many stairs up to the top of the rock.  It is built on this massive stone spine and was never conquered, seemingly because it is on such a high cliff. Read the rest of this entry »





Žilina

17 05 2009
Strecno castle in the rain

Strečno castle in the rain

We have been using Žilina as a base to explore some of the castles and ruins in the area before heading into the Mala Fatra mountains.  It rained while we went to Strečno Castle, but we’ll get more views once the weather clears up and we go hiking on the other side of the river. Strečno Castle has an impressive location up on a steep cliff overlooking the Váh River. From the castle, we could see the ridges through the rain that we hope to hike up to see the Mala Fatra park, further to the north.  Of course, we hope to do this with some nicer weather.

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Bojnice

15 05 2009
Bojnice Castle

Bojnice Castle

We are now in Žilina, where we have a nice room with a kitchen and in a location near to the center.  We took a day trip to see the “fairy tale” castle in Bojnice.  It is a fancy looking castle from the outside, with many fancy decorations on the rooms in the inside.  The most recent owner was a Count John Palffy, who seemed to spend his life buying fancy stuff from around Europe to fill up this castle.  Now it is full of nifty interior decorations for tourists to look at, including some very impressive wood carving work on the walls, ceilings and furniture.  Historically, it was a castle that belonged to Matthias Corvinus, but has been significantly changed since those times.  Matthias Corvinus, also known as Matthias Hunyadi, was an important Hungarian King who controlled the region in the 15th century, among many other areas. Read the rest of this entry »





Trenčín

10 05 2009
Trencin castle

Trencin castle

We headed up the Vah River valley from the capital of Bratislava to the city of Trenčín.  We stayed at a nice campground that is on a island in the river and close to the train station and downtown, with showers, a kitchen, bathrooms, etc.  From our campsite we have a great view of the castle on the hill, which is lit up at night. Read the rest of this entry »