Saturday, 27 July 2013

Day 13: Levoca

Levoca is a historic town just south of the foothills of the High Tatras and is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The town is in fact very small and really of little interest, just a few churches and the "cage of shame" (see below).

Cage of Shame

Day 12: High Tatras

After a full day of hiking up and around mountains the day before, we took our last day in the mountains a bit easier and went for a short hike around a nearby village, before relaxing in the hotel. Not much to tell just some photos.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Day 10/11: High Tatra Mountains - Strbske Pleso & Mount Rysy

As the 7 hours of travelling around Vienna and across most of Slovakia towards our next stop in the mountains was nearing it's end. Our train had other ideas and broke down in the middle of Slovakia.

It seemed no one spoke (or was willing to speak) English and was unable to let us know what was going on, asking the conductor only led to being pushed out the way as she jumped down onto the tracks. It appeared it was everyone for themselves..

As nearly 200 people disembarked from the train walking across the tracks, avoiding incoming trains and the live lines, it became apparent that there was no health and safety procedure for this and it was a case of picking a direction and walking to the previous/next station.

A bit disheartened by the experience, finding the nearest train station had a pub and it was £0.65p a pint was the lift we needed. Giving the best of my Slovakian a go, we attempted to order 2 beers. We did end up with beer, but 3 pints, which wasn't a complete disaster.

By this time we had given up all hope of the train being fixed and coming back for us. Fortunately the hotel we were staying at could speak English and were able to have a taxi sent to collect us.

I decided against taking photos of this spectacle, and to focus on what I was doing on the tracks, so unfortunately there are no photos.

After some much needed rest, we awoke the next day determined to get some hiking in.

After a short train ride to a nearby starting spot in the town of Strbske Pleso we were on our way.

Two hours of hiking through forests and valleys, we arrived at the next stopping point, at the foothills of Rysy. Rysy is the highest peak that divides Slovakia and Poland, standing at just under 2,500m above sea level.

The mountain has zig zag "paths" all the way to the top, however the paths are really just fallen stones, giving you about 3 feet between rock face and sheer drop. A lot of stones are loose and it is very easy to lose your footing.

Some photos of our trip

One of the safer "paths"

Mount Rysy


Some other photos of Vienna from the 3 days we were there.

Day 10: Vienna - Schonbrunn Palace

As we had a few hours to kill before our 7 hour long journey into and across most of Slovakia, we decided on visiting Schonbrunn Palace, which is a few miles outside of the center of Vienna.

Built by one Habsburg ruler or another so that they were able to hold meetings outside of the center during the summer. Slightly excessive

We had already checked out of the hotel so needed to find somewhere to store our bags while we walked round, assuming that the main train station would have Left Luggage facilities we headed there, to find that it was under construction and did not.

4 tubes journeys later, we arrived at the palace for an hour walk around, before having to travel back to the center of Vienna to retrieve our bags and go back on ourselves.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Day 9: Vienna

With Laura coming down with the "explosively vomit everything that touches my stomach" bug the night before, it was some solo site seeing (and beer tasting) for the day.

The national museum in Vienna is an architectural wonder built to house the Habsburg empire's immense collection of art, though after about 10 years they realised that this was no longer big enough, so had an identical palace built directly opposite.

Below are photos from the museum. It has taken some photographic genius and pure patience to ensure that these photos contain no traces of Japanese tour groups.