Slovakia

Slovakia

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  • Day21

    We reached the Danube which means from now on we continue the well-known flat Danube Cycle Route and ended up in Vienna where we stayed at Samuel's place. For rainy reasons, we had a rest day in Samuel's cosy apartment by sleeping in, breakfasting late, reading, talking about cycling and other bike travelers and planning our further route. In the evening we explored the city center by foot and went to the cinema for the Viennese comedy 'Die Migrantigen' with Samuel and his girlfriend.
    As yesterday we were blessed with better weather we hiked uphill to the Leopoldsberg from where we had great views of the Danube and Vienna. We went out with our bikes which felt quiet weird not feeling the weight of our panniers.
    This morning we hit the road again and followed the Danube till Bratislava - 5 hours of steady rain. We took it calmly as we can't change the weather anyway :)
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  • Day1

    Dneškom som započal môj týždenný výlet do Banskej Štiavnice, kde mám popri práci (5 dní home office) v pláne pozrieť pamiatky, múzea, prírodu, čo sa len bude dať stihnúť v tomto meste.

    Ubíjajúca štvorhodinová cesta vlakom zbehla rý.. naozaj trvala fakt dlho. Cestovanie som si spríjemnil počúvaním hudby. Škoda len, že v mptrojke sa mi vybila batéria už asi po hodine a v mobile mám až dva albumy. Tak som ich dával dookola.

    Každú zastavku, aktuálnu i nasledujúcu, vo vlaku pekne hlásili. Teda až na tú moju. Keďže vlak nabral aj meškanie, neodhadol som čas a nevystúpil som tam, kde som mal... Si hovorím, že fajne teda! Zviezol som sa o kúsok ďalej do Žarnovice, odkiaľ mi nakoniec tiež šiel autobus, tak som zostal pokojný. Naskytla sa mi tak príležitosť ochutnať v miestnej pizzerii burger. Spojitosť som nehľadal, ale najedol som sa dobre.

    Bolo mi povedané, že Štiavnica má plno kopcov. Dokonca, že tam možno nieje ani len jedna ulica rovná. No a je to tak! Mal som pocit, že som celý čas len šliapal hore, jedno kam som zabočil. Mesto je však veľmi pekné a čistý vzduch po daždi priam lieči.

    Ubytoval som sa a šiel som si pozrieť prvý tajch, tak 5 minút cesty, čo je fakt paráda. A čo je ešte paráda? Majú tam streetworkoutové ihrisko! Wau.

    Čo nie je až tak paráda? Reku že spustím počítač a pozriem, čo je nové vo svete a ono akosi nereaguje klávesnica ani touchpad. Tak to ma vystrašilo. Zapnem mobil, že vygúglim problém, no narazil som opäť - wifi signál tu na mojom poschodí ako-tak ide len vo vedľajšej izbe, kde od zajtra už budú ďalší hostia.

    Neviem zatiaľ, čo s tým. Na prácu to zajtra nevyzerá :)
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  • Day24

    Four hours by train from Prague and we ended up in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. The small city, situated along the Danube and boarding on Austria, has a population of about 500,000. The Old Town was a short stroll from where we were staying. Unfortunately, much of the city has been vandalised with graffiti, even many of the historical buildings.

    Along the Danube, Bratislava Castle sits high onto of a hillfort. From the Castle, you get a bird’s-eye view of Bratislava and the border of Austria.

    Close by the Castle complex is the Old Town which includes a number of significant (and historical buildings), such as St Martin’s Cathedral, the site where many Hungarian kings and queens were crowned. Other attractions included Primate’s Palace, Devín Castle, Church of St Elisabeth, Michael’s Gate and a strange sculpture piece called “Man at Work”, which is a bronze sculpture of a sewer worker protruding from the ground.

    It seemed that the area we stayed in didn't get too many tourists from the way that people looked at us, and from the occasional “dobrý deň” that we got from people passing by. In the supermarket, a woman approached Jason and, in Slovak, asked him about the ingredients in the packet (well, that’s what we figured she was asking). Jason shrugged his shoulders and politely said that he doesn’t speak Slovak. We were not sure if the checkout assistant was having a bad day but she didn’t look too happy and almost pegged the checkout divider at us. When we had fresh produce that hadn’t been weighed and labelled, she started asking us questions in Slovak, to which Jason quickly replied “English please”. She obviously thought that it was futile trying to explain to us what needed to happen so she took off from her cash register, went to the fresh produce section on the other side of the shop, weighed the contents and stuck the barcode on the bags, came back to the register and continued to scan the other items. At the end of the transaction, she threw the receipt on the counter and quickly moved onto the next customer. Oops!
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  • Day287

    It's been great hanging with my cousin again. We've been going to the gym everyday and taking long bike rides. The weather has been hot. My funds have pretty well dried up and so I spent a couple hours the other day finding flights back home. I'll be flying to London Stanstead on the 29th and then from there transferring to Hearthrow with a Finnair flight to Vancouver. It will be exactly nine months of travelling. It's been a great ride and I have the jitters about returning home already. I'm sure I'll have some sort of sadness but an incredible amount of memories too. I finally found a beautiful green linen dress for my second cousins wedding on the 24th and my sandals are coming in from Dubai through Natalka's friend. I still have to buy a gift and I've decided on a Himalayan Salt lamp. It's big to give money here but I want to leave a memory of me behind.Read more

  • Day17

    2nd August - 5th August 2017
    Caught the bus this morning to go to Hungry. Ainsley got us these bus tickets real cheap for EUR8 each. Seven hour bus drive. Very pleasant scenery. Our hotel is amazing. Window faces the Danube

  • Day23

    Our last day in Prague was spent gathering in graveyards, exploring greater Prague and involved endless steps up and down metros and mountains.

    First stop was Vyšehrad, a historic fort that commenced in the tenth century. After climbing a steep set of stairs, we reached the first cemetery of the day. The ornamentation and opulence on some of the gravestones was intriguing. There was even a few famous residents, such as Dvorak, the nineteenth century Czech composer. Following on from the cemetery in the same complex was another massive Basilica dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul. The view of Prague from the hilltop fort was breath-taking and provided a perfect landscape for some great photos.

    Next stop: the New Jewish Cemetery. After about 400 years of burying bodies in the Old Jewish Cemetery, a new cemetery was established West of the city centre. While the graves were not as ornamental as the cemetery at Vyšehrad, and in fact very uniform in design, there were a number of famous burials, including Franz Kafka, Ota Pavel, Jiří Orten, Arnošt Lustig, Heinrich Porges and Kurt Deutsch.

    After the graveyard gatherings, we decided to explore Greater Prague. It was our last opportunity to see areas of the city not yet explored. So we jumped on trams and trains, travelled up and down what seemed never-ending stairs and hopped out at any stop or station that took our fancy. At one point, we ended up at a nature reserve in the northwestern outskirts of Prague called Divoká Šárka. The gorge and mountain scenery was such a contrast to the urban streets of Prague.

    We couldn’t leave Prague without tasting some of the traditional Czech cuisine, and on the recommendation from our Air B&B host went to a restaurant on the north side of the Vltava River. Unfortunately, the food at this particular restaurant wasn’t quite as great as the city but an experience nonetheless.

    Sbohem Praze! We will be back.
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  • Day94

    Didn't really know what to expect and hadn't found much was going on but what a great city! Smaller scale than Prague etc and although touristy in the Old Town, it didn't feel cramped. Lots of great cafes/bars/restaurants and lots of sights to see.

    Even though we arrived from Brno on Saturday at 3pm we headed straight for another free walking tour at 4pm. The first thing we learnt was that people often mistake Slovakia for Slovenia. A mistake apparently made by George W. Bush when talking to a Slovak reporter in 1999. Now I have a little sympathy as Slovakia is "Slovensko" in Slovak and therefore a similar spelling to Slovenia ... but as we had recently been to Slovenia we could happily say we could tell the two apart.

    We learned that Slovaks love Statues. There are countless statues in Bratislava and some really quite random, including a man called "Cumil" popping out of a manhole. Is he taking a break from working in the sewers or looking up women's skirts..? Who knows! Apparently if you are female and sit on his head you will fall pregnant within a year. Needless to say I ran away from that one :)

    There are also statues of Hans Christian Anderson and Napoleon amongst famous Slovak personalities whose names I wouldn't dare try to pronounce. But I have included a picture of a Slovak poet's statue found in the square named after him in the Old Town. Our Slovakian is about as bad as our Czech and so I am just generally smiling a lot. I stupidly told the guide that I would really like to learn some basic words - as I hadn't had a chance to consult the vocab section in the guidebook before coming out - and she later had Stuart and I up in front of the group to practice. Namely "stick your finger through your throat" .. "Strč prst skrz krk". Not that sticking your finger through your throat is a 'thing' in Slovakia but just a saying without a single vowel. Needless to say we sucked at that.

    According to our tour guide, local wine is only available in Slovakia as although they produce around 300,000 gallons per year, they consume about 900,000 so there is none left to export. My recollection of the exact volumes and figures may be tainted by the subsequent trying of said wine along with a chap called Henry from the walk. But I do remember that the wine did not disappoint! Our guide had also recommended a restaurant so we headed there to try a local dish called Bryndzové halušky. It is potato dumplings with sheep's-milk cheese and bacon. Sounded so wrong and tasted so right! Bit like Slovak Mac n' Cheese.. mmmm

    Today we wandered up to the castle which was reconstructed in 1953 based on a former incarnation that burnt down in 1811. They've done a really top job and although there was a storm looming overhead today, the gardens and the view were beautiful.

    If I can say this from the (what seems like) hundreds that I have seen this trip so far.. I think I have found my favourite Church! It is nicknamed the "Blue Church" but its real name is the Church of St Elizabeth. Once you see the photo you will understand the name and it is blue in and out. In the middle of the suburbs, it is a real change from any other church we have seen and a really stunning sight!

    One sombre lesson in the history of Bratislava (and Slovakia) was the treatment of the Jewish community internally and externally. Of approximately 15,000 jews who lived in Bratislava only just over 1,000 returned after WWII and even before that they were persecuted on countless occasions throughout history. The main holocaust memorial stands in the place of a former synagogue remembering the Slovak jews who were killed. Walking along one of the streets earlier I had noticed three brass plates amongst the cobblestones which had names and dates written on them. I took a photo, having an idea of what they could refer to, and my guess was confirmed by a google search this evening. They are called Stolperstein and they are "inscribed with the name and life dates of victims of Nazi extermination or persecution" (thank you wikipedia). Quite harrowing but a reminder of what horrors people faced during the Nazi regime. Apparently they are part of a project in Europe and I am sure it may be something we find more of as we continue on our trip. There was also plenty of information about Jewish history in Bratislava within the old city walls but we didn't have enough time to study it in more detail.

    Another reason to add to the list of why we would most definitely come here again.

    Dovidenia!
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  • Day94

    What an absolute blinder of a view.. again!

    We randomly booked to stay at a campsite here as it was a cheap option (even tho we didn't pitch our own tent!).

    Storms rolled in again so we were very pleased we hadn't decided to use our own tent, which could quite possibly have slid down the hill the campsite is set on in the downpours!

    We were here for three days and didn't really do very much at all except play games at the campsite bar and admire the view. Turns out there isn't too much close to here but we had a relaxing few days. I went for a dip in the lake as it was still super hot, though you wouldn't know it from my lack of suntan!!

    Whilst the facilities weren't the best - for example only one toilet unlocked at night with no key so I had to be chaperoned by Stuart - the people were friendly. Only Slovakian campers however and as we are finding with campsites, people are happy to enjoy their holidays without interference from us!

    Onwards to Poland...
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  • Day78

    Wonderful day in Bratislava today! We got up went to the shops to grab our picnic for the day. Then we went for a hike to the Tv tower. Which was lovely, there was heaps of walking trails through the forrest and then we had our picnic at the top. Came back in the afternoon and then got some groceries and made rissoles and veggies and mash for dinner

  • Day2553

    Vlkolínec, situated in the centre of Slovakia, is a remarkably intact settlement of 45 buildings with the traditional features of a central European village. It is the region’s most complete group of these kinds of traditional log houses, often found in mountainous areas.
    Info: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/622
    Video: https://youtu.be/ddZHnLMnIHw

You might also know this place by the following names:

Slovak Republic, Slowakei (Slowakische Republik), Slovakia, Slowakye, Slowakei, ስሎቫኪያ, Eslovaquia, سلوفاكيا, ܣܠܘܒܩܝܐ, Slovakiya, Славакія, Словакия, Slowaki, স্লোভাকিয়া, ས་ལཽ་ཝཀྱ།, Slovačka, Eslovàquia, Slovensko, Słowackô, Slofacia, Slovakiet, Slovakia nutome, Σλοβακία, Slovakujo, Slovakkia, Eslobakia, اسلوواکی, Slowakii, Slovaquie, Slovachie, Slowakije, An tSlóvaic, સ્લોવેકિયા, Sulobakiya, סלובקיה, स्लोवाकिया, Słowakska, Szlovákia, Սլովակիա, Slovachia, Slóvakía, Slovacchia, スロバキア (スロバキア共和国), სლოვაკეთი, ស្លូវ៉ាគី, ಸ್ಲೋವಾಕಿಯಾ, 슬로바키아, سلۆڤاکیا, Slovaki, Slovacia, Sirovakya, Silovaki, ສະໂລວາເກຍ, Slovakija, Slovākija, Словачка, സ്ലോവാക്യ, स्लोव्हाकिया, Slovakkja, စလိုဗေးကီးယား, Slowakia, Slovakia (Den slovakiske republikk), स्लोभाकिया, Slowaakse Republiek, ସ୍ଲୋଭାକିଆ, Словаки, Eslobakya, Słowacja, Eslováquia, Isluwakya, Silovakiya, Словачия, Slovákia, Solovakïi, ස්ලෝවැකියාව, Slovenská republika, Slovaška, Sllovaki, Slovakien, ஸ்லோவாகியா, స్లోవేకియా, สโลวะเกีย, Silōvakia, Slovakya, سلوۋاكىيە, Словакія, سلوواکیہ, Xlô-va-ki-a (Slovakia), Slovakiyän, Eslovakya, Orílẹ́ède Silofakia, 斯洛伐克共和国, i-Slovakia

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