|After our visit to Auschwitz, our drive out of Poland was quiet because we were both unnerved and dazed…eventually the conversation picked up as we got a little lost…we eventually stopped to asked for directions in Slovakia. We quickly learned that Slovakians really don’t speak ANY English…another adventure: Language..up until now most people spoke enough..and our attempts at Slovak were fruitless…but the Slovak man who helped us did understand our hand language and pointings…he drew us a map and through non verbal communication, we had a great conversation with him and found our way successfully to our hotel in Terchove, Slovakia(not on the map)…What a beautiful place, at the foot of several mountains…in a very quiet village…that tends to pipe in symphonic music very reminiscent of soviet style big brother!…
Slovakia was the most adventurous place we have been so far…for many reasons, but most of all the roads…the roads are pitted or rather gouged with potholes big enough to swallow our small car up without a trace!…. but if that wasn’t bad enough, I had to dodge every bike and pedestrian in the rather narrow 2 lane road…Slovakia is rather poor and most people walk, ride their bike or take a bus where they need to go…And you must keep in mind that a proficient driver in Europe, rather Eastern Europe, to be exact, must move and rather fast at that or you will be hit from behind…Oh let me not forget the passers…both from behind and the other side of the road…that’s another driving game…passing, being passed and avoiding a head on collision when someone from the opposite direction decides to ignore the solid no passing line!…You must do all this while managing to find where you are going…Thank God for Tucker and his love of maps and navigating…but you’d be surprised at how adept I’ve become and how we even are able to hold conversations, look at scenery and even change the radio, in search of that next great cover song…swerving every once in awhile…but after 3 weeks of this, I was definitely ready for a couple of relaxing days in the mountains…
My goal was to hike in those beautiful mountains…rain or no rain..it was rather dreary but I did not care…Tucker and I took a nice hill walk in the AM and then we watched a local soccer games and off the the trails I went…they looked relatively easy…and looks were certainly deceiving…after Tucker dropped me off, I hiked up and up until I hit a huge boulder with a large chain hanging down…I figured it was there for me to use to climb up…I was not convinced..so I sat and contemplated my options…then a Slovakian family appeared and surveyed the situation…and the kids bounded up without a thought..their parents(my age) continued right behind them…they looked down at me…and not to be outdone, I reluctantly grabbed the chain and began my unceremonious climb to the top of the rock face…it may not have been graceful…but it was successful…after the family stopped for pictures, I continued on and on…up and up…this was a challenge but I needed it…then another rock and another and then the chains ceased to be offered and I had to climb without assistance…eventually I got the feeling this trail was not going where I thought so I pulled out the map(something I should have down much earlier) and realized I had taken the wrong trail and I had no choice but to turn around, seeing the weather was changing and the wind had picked up and these ridges were too narrow for any protection…I did not relish returning the way I came because it was soooo steep…but thank Gob for my padded derriere, because I used it to slide down all the rock faces…I know, it’s not how I was supposed to do it, but broken bones at my age are not pretty! Hey I survived the hike and went across the highway and did another one up the other side…4 hours later I was under the hands of a Slovakian Massage therapist hoping she could ease all the tense muscles I had squired!
But I think the biggest adventure was ordering food…when you can’t speak the language at all it is always a crap shoot as to what you are eating!
Basically the Slovakian roads are a mess, the mountains are very steep and difficult, and the language is very hard. But Slovakia is one of my favorites… what an adventure…and the perfect place to visit before our final city: Vienna!