Slovakia, Day 6 - 9

Trip Start Apr 16, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Slovakia  , Zilina,
Sunday, April 26, 2009

Our cheapest accommodation yet which probably had something to do with the fact that the guesthouse is actually closed from Monday.  The owner has showed us where to post the keys and he will be back on Wednesday to clear up after us!

It seems we are very much between seasons.  The ski season has finished but the hiking season doesn't really get going until June and most things are closed, including the cable car at the head of the Vratna Valley so no cheating, we'll have to start our walk at the bottom of the mountain.  As it happens, we turned back after getting a couple of hundred metres from the summit due to the strength of the wind - really gusty, enough to knock you off balance because there is no warning as to when it's going to hit and that's no fun on a very steep slope where the soil is so dry and crumbly that there's nothing for your feet to grip on.  Ok so maybe we were wusses but we've got another 15 months to survive yet!  Did a lower level walk instead and were rewarded with seeing an alpine fox and a roe deer.

Walked again the following day after spending a good 15 minutes absolutely mesmerised by the Terchova Bethlehem in the foyer of the church.  This is a large wood carving of the nativity scene, traditional Terchova village life and also scenes from Jerusalem of tavernas and Roman legionaries.  Most of the carvings have some sort of moving part to them and the level of detail in the carving is superb.  The whole thing is about 3m across, by 2m deep and 1m high as the scenes are tiered.  Pamps - we think a Blandford version would be a good project for you!  Caught the bus to Stefanova and walked back to Terchova along an interpretive nature trail (which gave useful tips as to what to do if you see a bear, which unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, we didn't) through the river canyon.  Very spectacular.

Brano at Gril Terasa was very friendly and cooks delicious food.  We found the roof terrace there a great place to soak up the sun, chill out and sample his award winning honey mead.  Our only regret is that we don't have enough time left in Slovakia to visit all the places he recommended.
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