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.
We took the train up here, on a short rail-spur from the main rail line at Kral’ovany up towards Trstena on the border. The trains were more like light-rail trams, and were very modern for such a small spur line serving such a small population up the valley. On the way up to the castle from the train station, we stopped to have a $4 set menu lunch. We had a simple and good soup, with pork schnitzel, potatoes, cabbage salad and sheep’s cheese. Pretty good and cheap.
After the tour, we wanted to hike up through some fields in the back of the castle to get a view of the highest part of the castle on the razor thin rocky spine. Jason had a run in with a thorn bush and got some nasty long thorns stuck in his knees. We didn’t get the photos, but you can safely view someone else’s photos on the internet here, without getting thorns in your knees.
We had an interesting trip to a hospital when we got back to Žilina. We had a really hard time communicating and even finding a doctor, once we got to the hospital complex. We finally managed to sort of communicate with a doctor in German, who then promptly injected some local anesthesia and whipped out a razor (out of a sanitary packet) and cut open the skin on the kneecap to ensure no remnant material was in there. After digging around to clean it out and ensure it wouldn’t get infected, a few stitches finished the experience. Jason will be resting for a while and we won’t be doing the backpacking in the Mala Tatra’s as planned while the recovery takes place.