The Slovak republic was a country that we truly did just a whirlwind visit. In fact, we should not even count it as a visit. After all, it was barely a day in which we spend 2 hours for lunch followed by a quick photo stop!
But those two stops were sufficient to imprint memories in us.
With a population about the size of our little red dot, Slovakia is considered a smaller European country though any other nation would be considered large since we are from a really tiny island! So it would not surprise us that its history was entwined with that of the more powerful and populous neighbors just as ours. And it is a relatively young country too, having separated from its cousin the Czech republic only in 1993.
We had driven from Krakow (here) across the Tatra mountains and were destined for Hungary.
Along the way we had to have lunch. And the coach ‘dumped’ us in this little quiet town called Banska Bystrica. It was a Saturday and the town seemed quiet. In fact so quiet that it felt like it was abandoned. Incredible given (hindsight) that the city has more than 79,000 inhabitants. Where have they all gone? But hey the money exchange office was open! And so we filed in to convert our money into local currency which we still have today.
The town while quiet is beautiful. Coupled with the fact it was a sunny day meant that there were no one to be in the background of our photos. Though unknown to us at that time (the town that is), we did not think much of taking photos! Sigh. Knowledge is indeed power. What you don’t know you cannot use. Such an irony now looking back. Therefore folks today ought to harness the available information and see more of the city. We would too if we could return!
With our bellies full, the coach begun her trek across the Slovakian countryside. And it was a green sight all the way. Probably because it was not as industrialized, all we saw were forests and nature along the tiny highway. We say tiny because it was a two lane road though vehicles on it drove like they were on an autobahn…
The only other stop we made was at Zamok Oravski. Built in the 13th century, the castle sits on a crag of rock high above the nearby village. Literature suggests that this is one of the most beautiful castle in Slovakia and we cannot disagree. Even from the vantage point that is the road across it from below… Today the castle is a museum and open to the public, though our coach merely stopped with just enough time to snap a couple of photos. Only to herd us all back on to continue the road journey.
We may not have spent a lot of time in the land of the Slovaks, but we certainly enjoyed that afternoon. Definitely one of those countries off the beaten track that deserve a lot more publicity than it does today.
We merely passed through in July 2001 but would love to go back