The third leg of our journey was to Budapest, Hungary.
Slovakia was the fifth country in our trip across Europe.
Day 10 : Wednesday 3rd June continued…
My main mission for Slovakia was to find my dad a CD of random local music, he is into world music and this is the only country we were going to where he didn’t already have some.
We arrived in Bratislava and could see the Botel from the bridge. I got unnecessarily stressed out as the sat nav took us too far, the guys had to navigate back using the Maps.Me offline map.
Got to the car park and managed to squeeze into the only space.
Now this wasn’t the first botel I’ve stayed in, I stayed in a really good one in Kiev last year so this had a lot to live up to! Unfortunately it wasn’t anywhere near as nice.
After a short break in the hotel we headed out for some food at Mexican restaurant, it was quite nice, I had a random soup with cheese in as a starter.
Although pretty shattered we went for wander to check out the city centre, though someone lead us in the complete wrong direction so we did a lot of unnecessary walking!
Eventually we were walking through the historic square within city centre, first impressions were good.
Had a swift drink at a bar before heading back to the botel for an early-ish night.
Day 11 : Thursday 4th June
Had the worst nights sleep and worst breakfast of the trip so far. Had the have the windows open all night as it was so hot, my usb fan didn’t do a lot to help. It was noisy outside, the room was so small the guys snoring was amplified, it was just horrible! The buffet breakfast was awful, I wish I hadn’t bothered making the effort to even walk to the restaurant.
Things are starting to blur together now, I fear we’ve crammed too much in, Keith asked me what country and where the brutalist church was, he thought possibly Budapest or Vienna, it took me a few seconds to work out that it was Vienna.
We checked out of the botel, put our luggage in the car, there weather was already very hot!
After taking some photos of Most SNP bridge which looked like a ufo we headed in the direction of a random building Keith wanted to see. The Slovak Radio Building was like an upside down pyramid. I wasn’t a massive fan of it and found it quite ugly with its rusty RSJ’s, Keith loved it.
Next we headed to the more historic sites via a record store for Jon and a Tesco Express stop for food. Found a perfect flag sticker for my bar in the first souvenir shop I went in.
Checked out the castle, Keith wasn’t impressed. Then walked around the squares looking at buildings and taking in he atmosphere.
Whilst walking round Keith had a sudden realisation that we might have some how messed up the amount of nights we booked to stay in Poland. Keith’s thoughts we right, we had only booked Saturday and Sunday. We needed somewhere for Friday. Keith went back to into the hotel to use their wifi, he emailed the hotel to see if we could stay the Friday night as well.
We needed to get some wifi again in a few hours to see if we had an email back or we’d have to book another hotel.
Could not find any local CDs in any of the souvenir shops for my dad.
We set off from Bratislava to high tatras. The drive was pretty easy going, lots of dual carriage ways, some slower parts through built up areas and road works.
We wanted a retreat in the middle of the mountains and we certainly got it! Bilikova Chata has amazing view over the mountains couldn’t find the hotel to start with, the road address on the sat nav brought us near on the main road so Keith had to resort to switching on mobile data and using Google maps.
We got to the the top and there was a sign pointing down towards the hotel. 200m. It was a walk over uneven ground and steps. We decided if that was the closest we could park there was no way we were going to carry the luggage that far.
There was dramatic drop in temperature and it was much more cloudy in the mountains than to Bratislava.
There were cars parked outside the hotel, we discovered there was a steep narrow trak down so I went back to collect the car and drove it down.
Found the check in desk but there was nobody there, went to the bar. Checked in.
There didn’t seem to be any wifi! This was not good as we needed it to book another hotel in Poland as we messed up the booking.
Went to the restaurant, couldn’t find anything vegetarian so asked for the chicken and vegetable potato crepe without the chicken. It was nice but it was just some raw tomatoes, peppers etc with a garlic sauce, the chips were fairly good.
We all tried to order the crumpets and fruit for dessert but they didn’t have them so had to go for apple strudel, it wasn’t bad, think it would have been nicer warm but I’m not sure whether it’s supposed to be served hot or cold.
To finish off the meal myself and Jon decided to try a couple of the local fruit based shots. Tatratea fruit was 62%. It hit the spot! Our throats burned for a few minutes, we then went for original which was only 52%. Both tasted like some kind of extra strong cough medicine!
Jon asked the man if we could use the wifi but he said it was only for the office, he said maybe we’ll have it next time you visit! Didn’t really help us now!
Someone had to turn their data on to sort this out. The Polish hotel had emailed back saying they had no rooms available. We had to look for other hotels. The best option turned out to be the Hilton at Krakow airport, Keith’s booking.com had given him a massive discount off it. There were hardly any other options anyway.
None of the windows had curtains! So had to improvise.
Day 12 : Friday 5th June
Went down for our buffet breakfast, all that was on the bar was so orange squash and a few yogurts, we asked the man and said it’s too late, then he looked at his watch and realised it was only 9.45 and breakfast finished at 10. They brought us the menu so I think the buffet part was lost in translation. They had no veggie options so went for the ham and cheese without the ham. Was ok nothing special.
We then checked out put the luggage back in the car and went for a little ramble in the mountains.
There was a really nice waterfall. The only issue was as soon as we found somewhere secluded groups of ramblers or school children would turn up. Very picturesque though.
Decided to drive to Kosice early, it was a pretty straight forward drive.
Parked in a little pay and display car park and went for a wander. Looked on our offline maps app and headed for what looked like the centre. It wasn’t! We came across a park that had free wifi and worked out the Main Street was right near where we parked the car! Also Jon had an email from the transfer company, he couldn’t make it until 8! Meaning instead of one hour at Tesco we’d have 2. We headed back towards the high street and had a wander up it back to the car. Felt like a fairly nice town with lots of shops and cafes.
Drove to the Tesco arriving just after 5pm. Got out of the car and I was approached by a man, I thought he was trying to charge me for the parking space! I said I couldn’t understand him, I felt like I’d been pretty rude especially when I worked out he was the car hire man who was an hour early!
That gave us 3 hours at the Tesco with all our luggage! We went round and bought some snacks, there were no CDs! Went to a pizza cafe inside the Tesco, really good base but 4 cheese was a mistake as it was a little too cheesy!
There were a couple of other shops in he retail park, a furniture shop, sports shop and an electronics shop which was like Currys. I’d pretty much given up on the cd, in fact almost bought some cdrs so I could at least say I’d got a cd from Slovakia! But hidden away in a small dvd section were some CDs – found the perfect one! Slovakian hit collection! I was sorted, could now leave Slovakia satisfied.
We waited for the mini bus, anxious as to whether it was gonna turn up. 8.10 it pulled in and it was just for us. We boarded and we’re off to Poland. Looking at my offline map and recognising the roads I realised that the mini bus was heading back towards High Tatras so maybe we could have got it to pick us up from there rather than from Kosice which was actually quite a drive in the wrong direction. Never mind at least we were moving in the right direction. Next stop Krakow….