Getting our Barings
In June, I spent a week in Slovakia with my boyfriend, it was part wedding part holiday, so we took some time out before the wedding to get our baring’s and enjoy the weather and surroundings.
We stayed in a small roadside hotel known as ‘penzions’ (pensions), called Daymont which was on a main road surrounded my mountains. I was worried initially about the noise factor, but after days out walking, we were often to tired to hear anything once our heads touched the pillows.
We were greeted by the hotel reception staff, where I had to present my passport and sign a form with my details on. This is custom in Slovakia for anyone not national, it is so the police are aware you are in the country and they have your details in case of any criminal activity. She explained (not that I understood much) that breakfast was 6-10AM and dinner 6-9PM.
Our room was spacious with a double bed and sofa bed. It overlooked the mountains and we could see the chickens and lambs from our window. I having a portion of my favourite dish halusky ( a dish made by boiling dumplings and mixing with a strong brynza -cheese) We rounded off our first evening in Slovakia with a bottle of Palava-a wine local to Slovakia and the Czech Republic. It is very fruity and easy drunk. I was a little worse for ware the next day.
Our first morning began with breakfast. Slovaks often eat bread for breakfast along with meats and cheeses. The tradition is to leave the roll closed and butter the top of the roll, adding the cheese and other condiments on top then just eating it. Where as in the UK, we often open the roll and add the fillings to the inside. Not so here, I learned very quickly how bread is eaten out there. Another thing I noticed, was how fresh the bread was. Often it is baked that morning and you rarely find the packaged sliced white that is seen so readily in British supermarkets. It is freshly baked and sliced and feels so soft. I definitely prefer it.
I also insisted we talk to the chickens and lambs the roamed freely in a big pen next to the hotel. I think I amused my boyfriend with my awful clucking impressions and admired him for actively joining me in said clucking.
We then went to Spania Dolina. A mining village not far from where we were staying. Considering we were injured last year through dance, our legs served us well on the wooden trails that faced us. We stopped to talk to two women were sat outside there house, they wanted to know how I liked Slovakia. I did my best to use what little Slovak I knew and Julian filled in the blanks. We followed the trail that seemed the shortest and least steep (according to the map) and came across a quaint little wooden bridge, that Julian subsequently broke when following my lead and swinging on it. Opps!
We visited the ruined castle and saw the place where the mining well once stood, then enjoyed walking around the village homes and visiting the small chapel on the hill. We walked back down to the main village via the church and dark wooden steps, stopping in the village for a glass of Kofola, (Slovak version of coca cola) and baked cheese with peppers (known as paprika).
The Friday, Julian wanted to take me to ‘Nova Hola’ (New Mountain)’ in Donovaly, which is a popular ski resort in the Winter months. There was quite a high wind that day, so the ski lifts weren’t working. We sat having our Vienna coffees (coffee with whipped cream) I decided why not just walk up, the weather was nice and there was a breeze so we’d not get too hot.
It took us in total, and that was with regular breaks. It was worth the strenuous walk up, just for the views alone. They were simply sublime. It was rather windy at the top, so we didn’t stay there long, then it was a downhill walk for half an hour to get back down. We both had Halusky as a treat for doing the climb, mine ‘bez maso’ (without meat). It was more enjoyable from having done the “workout”. For the rest of the day we chilled in our hotel room and packed ready for our early start the next morning.
We were up and ready early Saturday morning. It had been a beautiful few days in Donovaly, but it was time to drive on to Hbova. We had a wedding to get to.