A small gem of a city

Trip Start Apr 28, 2010
Trip End Jul 08, 2010

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Where I stayed
Penzion Svorad

Flag of Slovakia  , Trencin,
Friday, June 4, 2010

We only picked Trenčín because it was on the way. How lucky are we. It turns out to have history going back millenia including contact with Roman troops. We had lovely weather, great food, a good look around in far too little time. It's really lovely and of course to us it's getting pretty exotic and quite different. The Slovenská republika hey - how cool is that? We went through Bratislava on the way which was a bit behind the game in the good luck department from the bit we saw. Lots of grim modernist Iron Curtain era high rises and decaying closed factories. The people we saw looked to be battlers too. Hopefully its doing a lot better than we thought. It might just be the bit we stopped in.

It was a day on the Slovak motorway to get to Trenčín so we could make some time up. A day of very very fast traffic and heaps of semis. When we crossed from Austria to Slovakia it was interesting that for the first time in Europe, there was a much less evidence of cars from other countries going by the license plates. Mostly locals. Lots of Polish semis though. Every time we get on a motorway it's just so damn fast. Including cars Aussies would only buy as city cars getting their rings flogged mercilessly, and the big Euro cars blasting us with their bow waves. We much prefer the alternative routes.

We had side and head winds so strong they must have been near gale force, as soon as we left Graz. A challenging addition to a busy motorway experience. The bikes with their heavy loads were moving around all over, and overtaking the big transports was an exercise in summoning up Zen calm. The weather got warmer and sunnier as we went on and once again we were blessed with lovely blue skies by the time we hit Bratislava. But the wind! Dave's head was wobbling around like a Thunderbirds puppet for the next 2 days.

Trenčín was such a surprise to us. It really needs a good couple of days at least. We'd recomend it as a two night stopover when travelling in the region. We met two guys from Austin, TX called Tom and Elliot. They're indie film makers who are working on two projects - one a travel series called, we think, Travelling with Kids or Travel with Kids or Travel with Children. Anyway, two 9 year old twin boys and their 10 year old sister. The kids love Eastern Europe apparently and so do we so far.They're also making a doco for PBS about the origins of Christianity which has taken them to some great and not so great places. Syria next which they are planning very carefully for. Nice friendly people anyway with fabulous jobs (Tom owns the production company, Elliot works for him) and there's an artistic picture of them up the tower with their camera - which is where we met them.

Tom told us that Turkey is a must-see - some of the friendliest people he's met. We think we must go there, others have told us the same.

Penzión Svorad is in a building dating back hundreds of years but most recently houses the penzión and a gym. Very very basic and dated early 20th century interior with enough modern improvements to be clean, comfortable and reliable. The two concierges we dealt with during our breif stay were both heavy-set older guys, who'd missed the 1/2 day covering Welcome Guest with Warm Smile and Making Happy Joke when they retrained from the old secret police. But great value for money, we were very happy to stay there and it was 1 minute from the lovely town square in the photos.

The town square is called Stur Square and its an ice-skating rink in the winter. Glad we weren't here in winter then...The statue of the man in the top hat climbing out of the well relates to the legend of Vodnik (Waterman) Valentine and he doubles as a fountain. While we were eating on Friday night, all of a sudden at about 8.15, still broad daylight the square began filling up with locals, all ages, generations, gender mixes, walking across and around it in groups. Families, friends, couples. We've never seen anything like it. People just walked around this small space, enjoying the evening, talking, dressed up a bit and maybe on their way to somewhere, maybe not. Our waitperson told us it happens every Friday evening during the warm seasons, and only Friday night. He sort of shrugged when we asked why it happens. He probably thought it a strange question. Why should it not happen? Of course he's right.

Only a brief ride to the Polish border now.
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