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SLOVAKIA


Location - Eastern Europe; Capital - Bratislava; Population - 5.5 million; Currency - Euro MORE SLOVAKIA

A train took me from west Slovakia to Poprad at the base of the Tatras mountains, a useful hub for the region - December 2018.

 

euro1Slovakia switched to the Euro in 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakianoteAfter the Czech Republic and Slovakia split, the latter introduced the Slovakian Koruna until 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia327The view of the Tatras mountains from the train station's upper floor is superb - Poprad

 

slovakia329The same view at dusk; the range varies in height from 2,000m to just over 2,600m - Poprad

 

slovakia340The snow trail on the right is the ski run above Tatranska Lomnica - Poprad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia353 I think the peak on the left is Lomnicky Stit, measuring 2,634m - Poprad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia299A firework display coincided with the opening of Poprad's Christmas market. Poprad is nothing special but it's a good base for the surrounding area, it offers excellent views of the mountains on a clear day, plus there's two excellent water-based activites in town (see below)

 

slovakia301I've read that the Red Army mosaic is dedicated to the liberation of Czechoslovakia at the end of WWII - can anyone confirm please? - Poprad

 

slovakia302Spisska Sobota is a small but attractive quarter a 10-15min walk from the centre - Poprad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia307The Church of St George is the centre of Spisska Sobota - Poprad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia312A great place for relaxation, especially after a day of walking/hiking, is Aqua City Poprad - Poprad

 

slovakia321Its outside thermal pools are perfect for soothing aching muscles and to warm yourself up on freezing winter days - Poprad

 

slovakia323The same Tatranska Lomnica ski run pictured earlier - Poprad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia314There's also a 50m swimming pool, restaurant, spa & massage, childrens' activities, slides, jacuzzi and a laser show - Poprad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia354Unique?! Well maybe not, but I've never seen a beer spa where the hot water is mixed with hops, barley and yeast. It's at the central Minipivovar Tatras above the brewery-restaurant that makes the perfect IPL - Poprad

 

slovakia356Get the bubbles going. And the scum around the top is nothing to do with me, that's the beer ingredients, honest! - Poprad

 

slovakia367Making myself look beautiful in a beer mask. Yeah right, but anyway there also a sauna, shower and a cold water dunking pool. To the right is an on-demand Tatras beer tap, brewed on site - Poprad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia261Passing the Tatras mountains by train somewhere near Poprad

 

slovakia277Kosice is 1.5hrs by train east of Poprad, an easy day trip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia265The city's heart is dominated by the Cathedral of St Elizabeth - Kosice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia268Christmas at Hlavna, the main square of Kosice

 

slovakia271This attractive style of Christmas decoration is popular in Slovakian squares - Kosice

 

slovakia286The building to the left of the 14th century St Michael's Chapel is the Shire Hall, liberated by the Soviet army in January 1945. At this time Kosice became the temporary capital of Czechoslovakia until the Soviets reached Prague

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia378Back in Poprad, I took the electric train into the Tatras mountains, first stopping off at Stary Smokovec

 

slovakia379It was a very different day to that in Kosice - very cold with beautiful blue skies, perfect for a trip in the mountains - Stary Smokovec

 

slovakia380A snow-covered peak rises above one of many wooden buildings in the resort, popular with hikers and skiers - Stary Smokovec

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia413Looking down on the plains below, backed by the High Tatras - Strbske Pleso

 

slovakia381The main draw to Strbske Pleso, the final stop on the electric train line from Poprad, is the small lake that gives the resort its name

 

slovakia384The icy waters are backed by Tatras peaks, a lovely setting - Strbske Pleso

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia393Armed with a wad of cash you can stay at the Kempinski Hotel, which overlooks the lake directly behind me - Strbske Pleso

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia391A pint-sized cafe on the water's edge - Strbske Pleso

 

slovakia399A chalet-style hotel lies on the opposite side of the lake, below what looked like (and sounded like) a mining chute - Strbske Pleso

 

slovakia412The High Tatras mountains above Strbske Pleso

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia421The Tatras mountains through the bus window on the way from Poprad to Spis

 

slovakia442Spisske Podhradhie is about an hour's bus ride east of Poprad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia425The town stands below the huge Spis Castle - Spisske Podhradhie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia426Starting the sweaty walk up to the castle - Spisske Podhradhie

 

slovakia438If you're walking up there's a bench to rest and admire the panorama - Spisske Podhradhie

 

slovakia437On the hill, middle left, is the 13th century ecclesiastical complex of Spisska Kapitula. The Tatras mountains are peering over the hills, top right - Spisske Podhradhie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia435Much of the 12th century castle is a reconstruction following a fire in 1780 - Spisske Podhradhie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia449And whaddayaknow, it was closed! But at least I knew before I came - it shuts for the whole of winter, reopening in March - Spisske Podhradhie

 

slovakia452The mist slowly burns away on the other side of the castle hill - Spisske Podhradhie

 

slovakia467Levoca, between Poprad and Spisske Podhradhie, has an Old Town with the square of Nam Majstra Pavla as its focus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia462This is a new one on me. Outside the Town Hall is the Cage of Shame, where naughty children were punished. Not sure what the punishments entailed.. - Levoca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia463Beyond the Town Hall is the Church of St James, both found on Nam Majstra Pavla - Levoca

 

slovakia465On the hillside to the right of the central Christmas tree is the Church of Marianska Hora - Levoca

 

slovakia466Christmas ice skate baubles? - Levoca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia468I headed downhill to the bus station, returning to Poprad for a convoluted train ride to Banska Stiavnica - Levoca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia470A statue of Nacko, a semi-mythical character known for jokes and storytelling in the historic mining town of Banska Stiavnica

 

slovakia480On the corner is the Church of St Catherine and behind it on the left is the Town Hall - Banska Stiavnica

 

slovakia488Another one of many craft breweries that have popped up in Slovakia, this one being Pivovar ERB. All the microbreweries I saw were establishments and this one was no different - Banska Stiavnica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia490The 16th century Old Castle (Stary Zamok) - Banska Stiavnica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slovakia496This is also the Old Castle, and yes you guessed it there's a New Castle, built as a watchtower on another hill just a few years later - Banska Stiavnica

 

slovakia497The low-lying cloud meant views from the castle were restricted to anything within five metres. It was also icy under foot which made walking the steep cobbled streets treacherous. Hold on to the barriers! Banska Stiavnica was the only place I thought wasn't worth bothering with, though undoubtedly I was influenced by a lack of hillside vistas on a cloud-enshrouded day

 

slovakia473This memorial is dedicated to the Slovak National Uprising (SNP), a resistance movement in WWII - Banska Stiavnica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Website and content Copyright © 2008-2019 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.

 

LINKS

http://slovakia.travel - official tourist information

www.slovakrail.sk - Slovak rail

 

I am not responsible for the content of external websites.

 

 
 
 
   
 
   
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