About Clunegapyears

Travelling around Europe with James in our motorhome

Slow Road to Crete: Another First And Farewell to Kerstin


Was That on my Bucket List?


The lady in the TIC had mentioned a 7 Ladder Gorge Walk.  Kerstin and I are old hands at this now, so it had to be done!  J nobly stayed home with CO2.  A walk up to the start of the canyon.  A lot shorted and easier than the other Slovakian one and the max ladder climb was 15m.  The ladders and handles seemed a lot more secure.  Pretty.

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But the real adventure started on the descent.  We could have walked down, but why do that when there’s a new experience to try.  Zip lining. At only EUR20, it seemed a reasonable price too.  Although it would have been quicker to walk down.  Didn’t know it was on my bucket list of things to do, but it is now firmly ticked off.  And after about 20 of them, I felt done, but had to complete the course of 40-45 zip lines.   On the first line, I failed to land on the platform and had to turn and then hand over fist to haul myself back and up to the platform.  And of course this was in front of all the people waiting!  

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What have we ‘chosen’ to do? 

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One injury.  I caught may trailing foot on the platform.  Resulting in a slight ankle sprain and a shin bone bruise.  Kerstin had and interesting landing technique … if there was a cushion on the tree indicating a fast landing, she opened her legs wide and straddled the tree trunk.  Her bruises were consequently on the inside of her legs!

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Don’t we look the pro’s now?

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 Supper out.  Limited choice within easy walking distance, unless we fancied a burger … Not!  Hungarian in Romania.  Kerstin and I made good choices … the Goulash soup was a meal in itself..

Will She Ever Get Home?


Last night Kerstin had attempted on multiple devices to check in for her afternoon flight to Stuttgart.  Only when she used the MacBook did the flight show as cancelled.  No email from the airline!  And of course the help line just refers one back to the website.  Grr.  Last minute flights with alternative airlines costing an arm and a leg.  So Kerstin booked a lunchtime flight from Budapest tomorrow via Istanbul.  Just as well she had booked the same airline for both flights as the flight arrived late in Istanbul, missing the connecting flight to Stuttgart.  She was put up at an airport hotel but didnt get any opportunity to explore Istanbul by the time she had cleared customs.  And fortunately she had brought her passport, as she needed it here, although within EU she can travel freely with her German ID card.  She let us at lunchtime today as it is a 3 hour rain ride to Budapest (no such thing as high speed trains here), spent the night in Budapest, a second night in Istanbul and messaged she was on the train to Reutlingen the next evening.  A 2.5 day journey!  This is Europe.  Why are things no longer working as they should?  Don’t get me started on service levels!

In the afternoon, J and I wandered into the local shopping pedestrianised street.  High rises either side.  Most of the shops had closed.  Lots of graffiti and broken paving slabs and positively dangerous crumbling steps.  We had a too sour lemonade whilst two Romanains drank 3 beers with chasers each.

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The better section of the street was in sun.

Herman Fortified Church


In the guide books and marked by the lady in the TIC, but we had low expectations.  Started to feel like we are scratching the bottom of the must do things around here.  A sure sign that we have stayed long enough here.  However, the fortified church was lovely.  Peaceful.

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Fortified entrance tunnel.

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Ladders up to rooms … not allowed to climb these!

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 Massive thick stone walls and you could walk through the top in semi darkness.

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My crew waiting for me … O ever anxious.

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There was a tower to climb, and I was conscious Kerstin would have encouraged me up … so up I went.  Dodgyy steps and dark … worthy of a gorge.  

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 Got down just in time to avoid my ears being assaulted by the on the hour bell.

We failed to find anywhere for a spontaneous lunch and so had our meagre packed lunch and drove over the other side of Brasov for a walk.  A short walk as it was raining quite heavily by now.   The area is known as Solomons Rocks.  

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 We felt for the families using the organised BBQs and tables in the rain.  Not all were covered.

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Not a path, but a looong table and benches.  There were war memorials at then end.

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We had been told this was worth a visit. King Carlos 2 had used the town as a summer residence and then had his own castle built.  The noble and wealthy followed, building their own graceful residences.  A local told us the town mayors have always had a tight control on planning thus ensuring the elegant nature of the architecture is not spoilt.  What we hadn’t realised, until we tried to park was that it was the town festival.  So it was buzzing with life:  people, music and food stalls.

Sadly our car was bumped whilst it was parked up.  Someone had kindly waited to pass on the reg number of the perpetrator, who apparently refused to stay or leave his details.  We contemplated informing the police, but a) proving it if he denied it, b) the hassle, c) the changes of getting recompense – low, and d) our excess is EUR650, so not worth making a claim.  Much as we hate for the bugger to get away with it, it was not worth pursuing.  Karma will get him!

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A mime troupe perfuming a war tragedy.

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Coffee and 2 kinds of cheesecake … yummy! 

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Loving the tin roofs, but probably not the quietest in rain.

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King Carlos’ Peles Castle.  Couldn’t go in as J stayed down in town and I had CO2 with me.

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Another renovation project.

Last Day in Brasov and a Close Shave


We had a slowish day … loading some stuff into and on the car.  In the afternoon we wandered up and over the base of the hill to Brasov old town.  Found more old streets and engaged with it a lot more than we had when we arrived in Brasov.  One of those where you go with the flow … Brasov City’s festival day … not a patch on Siaia yesterday’s efforts, but a good vibe.  We had a glass of wine and decided to stay in town for supper.  No supper for CO2 with us, so into a supermarket for a purchase of Pedigree Chum, which normally gives them the squits!  Ho Hum … fed off the pavement.  What started as a twilight walk back over the mountain ended up as dark stumble.  Thank goodness for phone torches!

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Found more pedestrianised streets.

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Yes, J is sporting a rather short haircut.  We’d bought a replacement beard trimmer yesterday.  It does hair too, and not having been happy with the styling from the Bratislava hair cut … I had a go at it.  Now I am used to doing J’s hair … usually do it with the dog shears after I”ve pruned Oscar!  Did a good job and just checking it over … oooh missed a bit.  Grabbed the shears to trim …. Oops … wrong guard on it…. a very short stripe on top  So had to give J a prison cut all over!  Thank goodness he’s not a vain man!

Slow Road to Crete: Based in Brasov


A Long Driving Day


Rather than erect the 2 tents after a long driving day and break the journey, we decided to do a loooong driving day and get to our AirBnb in Brasov, Romania.  830km but 3 drivers.  we struck camp and set off10 mins ahead of schedule at 8.50 a.m, despite my having to completely repack the roof box so we could close it.  I’d done the Hungarian and Romanian road tolls online last night.  We stopped about 3.00 desperate to use the toilet, so had soup or omelette.  No Romanian Leis yet, but fortunately could pay the EUR11 for 3 dishes and 3 drinks on a card.  Going to like these prices!  Or so I thought, they were never to be matched until Bulgaria.  Roads pretty slow through Romania as no motorway … a very limited transport infrastructure.  

Tired and in the dark we struggled to find our apartment … I expertly navigated us to the bins … it was on a map the host had sent!  Thankfully it was ground floor for all the unloading.  And we pretty much unloaded everything, thankfully a large hall with cupboards to stash it all.  We even managed to dry out the tents over the next few days … the smaller we erected in the lounge, where K slept.  The big one went over a washing line I strung up outside.

Flat was fab … bath and shower.  Comfy bed.  Coffee machine.  And …. a washer / dryer.  And all for £40 per night.  we’ve been paying EUR30-35 for the 3 of us … so a no brainer really.

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Tent drying, but kept CO2 out!

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Dirty laundry is comfy!

A Slow Day


J and I got up rather late … not sure what time K was up.  But she’d managed to have a cold shower (tap round the wrong way … must be perfect plumbing in Germany) … I had a long soak in a hot bath! 

We set off around the mountain to Brasov.  Actually more like up and over the base of the mountain next to us.  Must be a mountain and not a hill as it had beware of the bear signs and a cable car.  First stop was an ATM.  I took out 1500ROM … seems like such a lot, but roughly 5ROM to £1. So many notes … there is even a note for I ROM.  Then lunch … despite moving away from the main square, the soup was double the price of the roadside country caf of yesterday.  Not for the first time have locals told us they cannot afford to eat where the tourists do.

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View of Brasov from our FLAT (LOL) walk around the mountain. 

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In holiday mode, so a mojito.

We wandered the old town.  5th largest in Romania.  Lots of history.  Attractive, but didn’t wow us.  Perhaps we are a bit architectured out.  German is widely spoken here. Saxons were brought in to run the area.  

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The so called Black Church as it had been burnt at some point, hence the name.  Some lovely Ottoman carpets too … saw others in another church.

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They adopted Lutheran teachings and changed the Black Church layout to reflect.  Services are still held in German.

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Kerstin translated some of the German sayings … such as when your’e older you can look back with wisdom.

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The narrowest street was a disappointment … more like a London underpass … graffiti and urine!  Actually none of the latter, but ugly.  Graffiti allowed … but this ain’t art.  Bristol has a graffiti festival where art is created.  They missed a trick here.  

School went back today.  The youngsters looked smart in blazers as they queued calmly for cones of chips.  Only a few in MacDonalds.  And no litter, they put their rubbish in bins.  As if!!!!  We read that they take flowers in for their teachers at the start of term … we saw a number of high school children with bunches.  Can’t see that ever happening in city centre Bristol where I taught! 

Chance encounters often give a really warm feeling.  I spoke to a lady briefly by the wine.  Then she was by the beer.  Romanian, but lived and taught in Leeds for 30 odd years. She taught French and after years of reluctant learners moved from secondary to higher education.  


Not All-Bran


As we arrived in Bran, it tipped down … coffee and local honey cake (Yum).  We took turns to go into Bran Castle.  I walked CO2 round the other side of the castle and saw the old customs house, Bran chapel, the first hydro power station in Romania … the Queen had had it put in and it benefitted the whole village.  The castle did have some info boards on Dracula … Bram Stoker based his book on Bran Castle.  But what was particularly interesting was the information about the post 1900 royal family.  Queen Marie did it up around1910 and it had a homely feel … none of the room were large.  Her daughter Ilena lived here until 1945 when the royals were banished.  Both queens were skilled and talented.  Marie successfully negotiated a unified Romania after WW1 in 1925.  Ilena was a pilot, artist and finally a nun in the USA.  Strong ladies.

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We set off for a short walk not too far away near Zarnesti.  The rains had stopped … just along a river, said I!  But to a viewpoint which should have been a clue to the ascent.  A bit of a steep climb up and the paths I’d selected for the down was missing or cordoned off.  So a slightly longer walk than planned.  But so worth it for the views.  This is what we came to Transylvania for … and it delivered.

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 Rather than get her feet wet, the agility dog flew across this pipe.  Several times as we made her do it again so I could take a pic! 

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Slow Road to Crete: Under and On Top!

Ice Cave


Expecting to be aching after yesterday’s gorge ladders etc, we were amazed we both felt fine.  Just slightly heavy legs.  I think taking it slow and carefully, and all those chocolate stops helped!  We had planned an easy day, just in case.  But the sun came out.  Should we change our plan and get up to the High Tatras?  We’ve been waiting for a sunny day to get a cablecar / funicular up to walk, but didn’t want to spend the money if we were just going to be in the clouds.  We nearly did sway, but I said we weren’t prepared for the mountains … we hadn’t bought ingredients for a picnic etc … so no.  Mountains when ill prepared are not a good idea.

I’d been looking at Atlas Obscura again … an Ice Cave (also mentioned by the TIC chap who had suggested the gorge ladder walk.  A derelict iron works with a huge blast furnace and another cave of argonite formed into amazing shapes.  Fortunately, we read that the ice cave was by guided tour and there was one at 9.30, early enough for it to still be cool to leave CO2 in the car.  What we hadn’t realised was that there was 2km walk uphill to the entrance.  Kerstin strode on ahead and purchased tickets.  When J and I arrived, she was ‘discussing’ whether we would make it on time.  Just as well we, did, as the next tour was not until 11.00.

We have done lots of caves and generally don’t bother now.  But never an ICE CAVE.  I had not realised ice caves were a thing.  Apparently Dodsinka Ice Cave is one of the best to visit.  Spring water flows in, and then freezes.  During summer, some partially melts but then re-freezes in lower caverns.  Again, a Slovak only speaking tour, but as we hung back an English speaking guide held up the rear and was able to give us some more information.  Some years ago, locals used to ice skate in one cavern.  In the winter, bats move in, as it is warmer in the cave than outside.  Reckon, they must have to clear the bat poop before opening up to visitors.

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A toboggan slope?

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Kerstin was on photo duty … we paid extra, so think K took about 100 pix!  She likes to get her money’s worth!! 

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The scant English info. 

The rest of the day did not go to plan.  We found the iron works, but stern looking guards told us to go away.  We think it was being worked on to turn it into a museum.  And we decided  against the 50 min extra drive to the aragonite cave … one cave a day (week, month, year?), is more than sufficient.  So we drove to a small lake we had seen on the drive down and had our picnic.  Then back to base camp via Decathlon (again).


The High Tatras – Extended


We extended our campsite stay for a further night a second time.  The weather was set fair and we were determined to get into the High Tatras mountains.  We were up and at ‘em early doors … with copious supplies of fodder and liquid.  We thought we would arrive nice and early at Vysoke Tatras, but so did everyone else.  Car parks full, so we parked on the road 1.5 km from the funicular.  An early indicator how popular (busy!) walking here is.  Return tickets purchased and we joined the throng in the funicular up the mountain side.  Yes, it was very busy, but the scenery was lovely.  We took it slow and a number of folk over took us.  One lady nearly had a serious accident as passed me … Kerstin was behind and saw the rock she trod on wobble … all I could see was windmill arms … so I instinctively grabbed one.   Didn’t even get a thank you!!!

I failed on navigation duty … missed a turn.  To be fair none of us had seen a path off.  Chatted to a lovely Czech couple who have a motorhome and get away as often as they can.  They recommended that we keep going up (down would have been harder on knees and we would have struggled descending over all the rocks and scree) to a cable car.  Then train from next town.  It was further than J has walked for a long time and when we reached the cable car, he was rewarded with a beer!  We bought tickets for the 3 of us and CO2 for the cable car and didn’t hang around as damp cold clouds were coming in.  What we hadn’t realised was that it was only cable car so far.  The next section was chair lift.  OMG, we’ve 2 dogs with us!  No problem, just lift them on.  So K and I grabbed a dog each and hung onto them tightly.  Only 2 people per chair so J followed with the back pack.  It’s obviously considered quite normal, as another dog was sat (with owners) in a chair going up.  Both CO2 quivered for a few mins once back on terra firma.  Another K9 adventure that we’d not planned.  Oops. We just caught a train to where the car was parked … so I attempted to buy train tickets online with the help of the lady sat next to me … managed to get one adult fare … all of EUR1 for a good 20 min trip.  

A great walk if busy.  If passing we would definitely stop around here again … and further east is supposed to be lovely.  But until this trip Slovakia had not really grabbed us.  There are only so many Austro Hungarian faded towns and castles one would want to visit.  Off to Romania tomorrow.

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 Managed to elbow a small child out of the way to get the view from the front of the funicular! 

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Hard to get pix without other walkers.

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Lots of rocks to clamber over.  Sadly CO2 had to be on the lead … I did let O off a few times towards the end when everyone was already off the mountain!

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Did they have porcelain up here???

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Mist coming in.

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Restoring a property in the mountains … kitchen base layer delivery!

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I had to strip a number of times as I’d expected it to be cold up in the hills … ended up just wearing my base layers, so effectively I was in my underwear!  

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Cable car – the easy bit.

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Difficult to grab a pic unhanded whilst clinging onto a dog. 

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Finally some Romania planning … all base layers on.  It was only 5C at 6.00 the other morning.  I’ve turned into a fair weather camper so we have booked an AirBnB in Brasov for 8 nights starting tomorrow!



Slow Road to Crete: Via Ferata Style


A Travelling and Shopping Day


So a leisurely start.  Owners had absconded and so had most the campers.  We pretty much had the place to ourselves so we spread all our stuff over their cafe terrace to dry, having cleaned mud off first!  Kerstin manage a swim in zipped off shorts!  She didn’t loose these!

We didn’t leave till nearly mid day and since Decathlon was on our route … Kerstin now has a new cosie, but will she get to use it?  I bought base layers and hats for James and I.  We have these, but in Crete … never thought we would experience 5C at 6.00 a.m. in August and super chilly, moist evenings!  This is our SUMMER holiday!  Also tried to find a new electric hob … one ring had a crack and now it had started shorting out.  Amazing it didn’t trip the switch in the Glamping site!  Oh silly me … what trip switch??  

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New base layer, fleece and hat.

Our first choice of campsite could only accommodate us for 2 nights as he was going for a rebuild of the facilities.  Was this a lucky escape?  How much in need of refurbishment were they?  So a few miles on we arrived at a HUGE site on the edge of the Paradise Park!!!  Ooh err Mrs!    The web site states it has room for 600 tents … festival sized perhaps.  Initially we were not over keen … large site with chalets and tokens required for showers etc.  But it had hot water for washing up and you never had to wait for the toilet or shower.

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We’d carefully left space in the middle of our pitch for the table and chairs … they only made it out once … far too cold!

Poddling over Chata Podlesok


My back etc have been playing up.  Sleeping on and air bed?  Possibly.  Lack of Pilates – more probably.  2 months worth of un-stretch!  Kerstin and I were up and at ‘em.  Morning dew so we threw down our pilates mats (dog bed and reformed tyre mats) on the road.  Until a flat bed went past us, then returned with a chap sat on the rear, hanging onto a skip … Bin day!  He held up 2 fingers, in a nice way (!), to indicate 2 more skips.  So we decamped to the less flat and slightly damp grass.  I then braved the shower … 1 token = 3 mins.  It was a generous 3 mins but I didn’t brave a hair wash. 

Lots of walking directly from the campsite.  A helpful chap at the tourist information enthusiastically gave us lots of info … in German.  Fortunately I had my personal translator on hand.  We set off for a castle / monastery … not sure which as we didn’t make it.  Decided to take the river route there.  Had been warned there were metal steps, but not quite what we were expecting.  After the vertical short section where I had to shove CO2 up, there then followed steps high over the river … proper via ferata style.  Our mountain goat Corrie shot across and 40 m around the bend.  To start the steps had a criss cross weave, barely OK for a game Oscar. Still a panic for me.   But then they were like parallel bits of wire … and  a chap coming the other way said the rest of the steps were like this. No good for Oscar.  In fact, he really should not have been up there at all.  He is not agile like Corrie.  J wasn’t happy either.  Not sure if I was more worried about O hurting himself or us trying to rescue him!   I knew this was one of those situations where I should have listened to me head … so an about turn and back to terra firma.  

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 Ice cream for late brekkie on way up.

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This section was just fine!

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CO2 were shoved up here.

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The solid (!) steps.  Would have been easier to swim.

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Yes, do come back!!!

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Let’s all go back.

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Beer and lemonade machine back near the campsite!   We used it.  Beer was so good, apparently, K and J had two.

Then K and drove to Poprad for supplies … Mahoosive Tesco – even had sofas in stock.  Food for next few days.  Then after several stores, we found a single electric hob .. that’s fine.  Only EUR16 and I’ve a Remoska with me for stews etc.


Proper Via Ferata … ain’t it?


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CO2 veers patient waiting for J to arrive with breakfast!

Helpful chap at the tourist information had told K about the Sucha Bella gorge.  Ladder, one at 15m, and lots of metal steps.  Not one for CO2.  K wanted to do it.  No pressure on me … but there was … said I’d come too.  Can’t let the German grist beat the British!  J (Irish neutrality) nobly elected to stay at base camp for doggy day care.  But first, so J had a trip off site (and also Kerstin had been told a0 we may not have to pay if we did the gorge in the afternoon and b) it would be quieter).  We went to Levoca for a morning coffee.  Harassed by a beggar on arrival and all seemed pretty dead so didnt think we would stay long … but then it came to life and the sun came out.

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 The Cage of Shame, Levoca. Theives, murders, cheats and even gossips would be locked up on market day.  People would throw things at them … stocks were our village sport!  Apparently spittle was also thrown … thankfully K is just throwing leaves at J!

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K and I climbed the 216 steps of the tower.  Could see that the large square buildings had courtyards, some covered over.  But would give light to the interior rooms.

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J and I did the church tour.  In Slovak so given an English basic transcript … didn’t have to pay for this one.  The ticket last came to practise her English … explained that the town was part of a Pilgrim route … Camino do Santiago.  All because a lady called Elizabeth had a vision.  She was pregnant so could just have been a baby kick?!  A new church was built on the hill  During Communism less pilgrims but resurrected since Covid.   Other interesting church facts … All the main alter figures are carved from on piece of Linden wood.  The alter is the largest in the former Hungarian empire and has no nails.  A local sculptor was famous and one of his figures of the Madonna was the dace on an Slovak currency note.  Until the reformation, both Protestant and Catholics shared the church.

Once back at base camp, K and I loaded food, drink and chocolate and set off.  And yes, not fee and it was not too busy.  It is a 9km round trip.  At the top of the gorge one can rent mountain bikes, but we were pleased we hadn’t as the track was mostly loose scree.

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Easy peasey.

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Initially I didn’t like the rotten looking planks, but got a bit braver, unless up high.  Kerstin skipped across!

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I walked over some!

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If I could avoid balancing across, I walked the river bed.

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Old and new ladders.

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Which way?

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Series of ladders, the highest at 15m.  Fine on these as always 3 points of contact.

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Kerstin heading up.

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Lunch stop.  Followed by hocolate stops. 

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It was an altogether brilliant experience and I am so glad Kerstin suggested it.  




Slow Road to Crete: Banskas Banked

On the Move to Banksa Stiavnica


Took about and hour and half to strike camp and pack. Seems long with 3 people.  But J largely on CO2 duty and there are two tents and limited space to stash all our gear.

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Things never go in as well as the first time you pack them.  But we still had room for Kerstin, even with O on her lap!

Bit of a drive over to Banksa Bystrica … I’d rung to book and eventually they had returned my call.  Just as well, as later that evening the site was rammed.  It was a public holiday weekend.  It was billed as a Glamping site.  My arse.  Lovely British / Slovak couple who had owned it for 4 years.  Both teachers so this is what they did in the summer.  BUT no investment – at all.  One shower.  Only worked if no one flushed the toilet.  Toilets gradually rocked or lost their seat as our stay progressed.  Nothing to do with us … honest!  And one rusty steel trough with 3 taps all draining down the hill.  This was for washing self, clothes and dishes!  Thankfully only 3 nights and no desire to extend our stay!

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Pitch had some sharp stones so I lay in the mud and wedged a rubber tile under.  Kerstin was determined to catch me on camera in the mud!

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Kerstin and I wandered up to the small reservoir and had a few drinks whilst J napped.  So chilled up there, we collected J and had supper … lamb on noodles and cabbage … I was a bit unsure as I don’t like sauerkraut (it’s the vinegar), but eaten together it was delicious.

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The small lake / reservoir.  Kerstin swam a few times … preferable to the shower?

Banksa Stiavnica and Mine


I do like a good mine.  All mine, mine MINE!  And the attraction of this area was the silver and gold mine at Banksa Stiavnica.  It made the town one of the wealthiest in the Hungarian Empire in it’s hey day of 1770s.  I’d managed to book via email for the morning to join a Slovak tour.  But they emailed back that there was an English Tour at 1.00.  The mine was EUR12 pp and the English tour and additional EUR20 split by the number on the tour.  Another indicator that not many overseas tourists … we were 2 English, one German, one Slovak and 3 Hungarian with the daughter translating!

It was worth every penny.  Not some much for the mine, but for chatting to Emma our 17 year old guide.  A high school student boarding in the town, which apparently is dead out of season … students and old folk.  All her class mates plan to leave Slovakia for university and not to return. This was  confirmed by our campsite host … he thinks Covid may have slowed the brain drain from Slovakia. Unless you work for a global corporate, you cannot afford a house to rent or buy.  We may think there is a lack of doctors etc in the UK, but none here. At least a few 70 year olds who cannot retire as there is no one to replace them.  People do not have money for entrances … we observed crowds around the outside of castles etc but relatively few paying the entrance fees.  We tried to tip Emma … had to force a note on her …. nice lass.

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There was some film footage of the mine … Horses were force fed beer so they could be lowered down to work for weeks on end.  The humans didnt’ fare much better.

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After the mine, we had a second attempt to park in Banksa Stianvnica … had failed this morning.  Got the last space!  Did another App guided walking tour.  The town was much larger than we anticipated … but less than a third of the size compared to its heyday.  So many huge and attractive buildings, again in various states of shabbiness.  Actually i do like they they have not all been ‘renovated’ to sterility.

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Every town has some monument erected by rich and thankful plague survivors!

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Do love a good rooftop view.

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Bojnice Castle and Banksa Bystrica


Bojnice Castle – the most visited Slovak Castle.  Quite sure it doesn’t merit Best Castle Award.  National Trust property presentation takes some beating. Again, lots of folk outside but few paying to enter.  It was remodelled in the style of a Loire Chateau … Count Palfi seems to think a couple of Towers makes it French style!  He had inherited it with little money, but still managed to travel and collect items and ideas.  He rebuilt one side with the plan to open it to the public, but died before completion.  I guess his numerous relatives inherited or sold the contents as very little of his furniture remains.  Lacking information on the life and times of the Count and before … all a bit dry.

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Kerstin had a chance to be tour guide!

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Do love a tiled fire.  They had opening at the back so the fire could be stoked by the servants from outside the room.

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Opulent decoration of the Turkish room.  The best room.

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Not many castle have their own caves underneath.

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As well as a tower.

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DRAMA!!!  Kerstin has lost her swimming cosie.  In fact, we reckon it was stolen!!!  She won’t be able to swim again in the lake!  Or anywhere.  Nearest Decathlon is Banksa Bystrica, so thence we headed.  Bugger – forgot is was a public holiday, so shut.  Oh well, since we are here, we will wander into the town.  This one made its wealth from copper mining.  Managed to get parked and followed the thud of the music.  National Uprising Celebration.  Decathlon may have been shut but the town was properly open.  Bustling.  The National Uprising was when all political parties came together to fight evict the German occupiers.  The uprising was swiftly crushed by German military efficiency, but the day is still celebrated.

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The National Uprising Museum.
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 Wreath laying.

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Couldn’t see the stage, so I watched the Slovak State Traditional Dance Company on the VTR.  Later in the evening it was opera.

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We started to watch the Uprising reenactment, until they set off the cannon.  I guess we should have known it would be noisy … boys and guns and all that.  Had to scarper pretty damn quick as CO2 quivering.

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The main square.

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A pre-dinner drink and then I fetched dog food from the car (we keep it here now so O cannot help himself!) so we could have a spontaneous supper in town.