Morning of departureDecember 16, 2019 in Australia ⋅ ☁️ 20 °C
Last good cup of tea for the next few weeks?
Last good cup of tea for the next few weeks?
Arrived with no problems. Found the bus to Bratislava and currently using the free wifi on board. We’ll then need to order an Uber to meet Dale at the IKEA car park.
From the airport in Vienna we boarded a coach booked in advance to Bratislava - it was only about 40km and took less than an hour. Once there we ordered an Uber which arrived within five minutes and he drove us to the meeting point with Dale (the car park at IKEA). Hopped in the car with Dommy and Dale only about 1 minute after the Uber dropped us. We then drove for about 1.5 hrs east on the motorway to their town of Povazska. It was basically dark by the time we arrived just after 4 pm.
Spent a bit of time catching up with Marta and meeting Patrik at their flat then Dale dropped us here at the Penzion (small hotel) where we had a dinner of chicken soup which is a local staple.
It’s not yet 7.30 but Guy is already fast asleep and I wont it’s be far off. The room is quite warm so I’ve had to open the balcony door which makes it quite noisy. But I will shut that before going to bed. Hopefully we can both sleep through the night!Read more
Today started quite foggy but got nice and sunny by midday. We made the most of the sunshine and drove only about 10 minutes away to a well known climbers spot called Manínska Tiesňava.
We then drove to the castle ruins and had to walk quite far to the top of the hill where the castle is situated. There was no one else around and there was a magnificent view from the top. Weather really wasn’t that cold today especially in the afternoon.Read more
Dale picked up the hired van to fit everyone in and we drove about 1 hour away to a small village filled with wooden houses decorated with patterns and symbols on the walls.
We then continued on to Fackov where we had a traditional Slovak lunch of Bryndza cheese on fresh sourdough - yum!
In the late afternoon Dale took us to the climbing centre close by that they go to and showed Guy how to climb the wall. Patrik and I watched on.
In the evening we walked around the small Christmas market and enjoyed the music of a band of Slovak group who played cimbal and violin.Read more
We headed out of the town of Povazska with the van packed with everything needed for the weekend and our first stop was the Slovak astronomical clock located in the village Stará Bystrica which is the biggest wooden sculpture in Slovakia, according to village information. It originated in 2009 with Slovak sculptor Viliam Loviška. We also stopped and had the lunch special at a local restaurant (pork tenderloin with postmarked and mushroom sauce) which cost about 20€ in total for everyone.
We drove on into the mountains with a quick stop to take in the amazing views. We arrived at the home of Marta’s mother and dropped of her and the boys and then continued on to the Museum of the Orava Village, 3 kilometres away from Zuberec, at Brestová, a unique open-air museum of the Orava Village where we spent about 1 hour. Over an area of about 20 hectares is a village containing the typical folk buildings moved here from various regions of Orava.
We enjoyed meeting Marta’s extended family over a coffee and some korbàčik (a type of string cheese). Our accommodation for the next two nights is a small but very nice B & B sort of place.Read more
Visited Orava Castle this morning. We were first in line for a guided tour (1 hour) and were lucky enough to have a guide who spoke English. Also in our small group was a family from Perth. Orava Castle is situated on a high rock above Orava river in the village of Oravský Podzámok, Slovakia. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful castles in Slovakia. We had good weather in the morning but by the afternoon it was raining.Read more
It’s our last day in Slovakia and after visiting many, quite different places and meeting interesting people, this place has made a very positive impression on us.
The language was the first thing that struck us as being unlike anything we’d expected or experienced before. It’s also spoken rather fast with seemingly much punctuation. However, it’s been the people we’ve met and of course our family that have helped us with this. A shout out to my 7 year old nephew and his mum Marta for teaching me (Guy) some of the points of proper pronunciation.
The scenery here is simply stunning, even in winter. There is so much to see and as they say, a new view around every corner. It would be lovely to see this country in summer or autumn.
The culture is deep, authentic and still alive. In the country, it seems every house has hens, a plot for potatoes and vegetables and room for pigs. Also, everyone has skills in everything you would need to make, create, cook and repair almost anything. This is normal. Also is the link between church and community. Community, and particularly family in Slovakia is everything.
Above all, this trip has shown that Slovakia has the capacity for amazing hospitality and friendliness. We have experienced this from family, which you would expect, but also from more distant relations who have been very open to hosting us or talking with us or even just greeting us at the shops.
This is definitely a place to return to, soon. Maybe we’ll even get here in the summer next time.Read more
Dale and Dommy drove us back to Bratislava this morning and the heavy rain. We caught the bus back to Vienna where Jakob and Elisabeth met us and took us back to their apartment building - we also met Ashleigh who is their Australian exchange student. After a lovely hot lunch we went out at about 4.30 to walk through two of the many Christmas markets here, having a look at all the lights and stalls and tasting some hot punch. We met up with Jakob’s dad Alois at a restaurant where I had a classic Wiener schnitzel - yum!
We are staying in a spare flat that they own on the same floor of the building which is very nice.Read more
We discovered that Christmas for the Rosenberger family (and most Europeans) is celebrated on the 24th. The day started with a beautiful breakfast of breads, jams, cheese, spreads and coffee with the family. This was a leisurely meal in the sunshine coming in the windows. We caught the underground train with Elisabeth and Ashleigh to the city centre to buy some tea and then got back on the train to the Schoenbrunn palace. There would have been a long wait for tickets to go inside so we met up with Jakob and just walked through some of the gardens and up a steep hill to the summer house for a nice view of the palace. The weather was nice and sunny so we looked around the Christmas market for a bit and had some hot food for lunch. Not long after returning back to the flat, the family had plans to meet up with friends at the Prater which is the big amusement park across the road. We went up on the Ferris wheel just as the sun was setting.
The Christmas dinner was delicious - salmon and rice with a pavlova dessert made by Ashleigh. The three boys followed this with a quick concert of carols on their instruments - recorder (Jakob), bassoon (Flo) and french horn (Lucas). We then opened the presents while enjoying some champagne.
We accompanied the family to midnight mass at their local Catholic church. This was a very different experience to see the ceremony and tradition of their service.
We finally got to bed close to 2 AM.Read more