Another country - Slovakia!

Trip Start Sep 04, 2010
Trip End Sep 24, 2010

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Flag of Slovakia  , Zilina,
Friday, October 8, 2010

Today we drove down over the border and into Slovakia. What a beautiful country! We saw lots of beautifully coloured buildings, lovely houses and green mountains with dense forests. We went to Namestovo which is on a lake. It was very cold and so foggy when we arrived there at 11.30 that we couldn't see the water! But by the time we had warmed up with a cup of coffee the fog had started to lift. We drove around a bit and then by around 12.30 the fog was mostly gone and we could really enjoy the scenery. Drove on a narrow forestry road to the top of a nearby mountain and what a view!

Getting lunch was interesting. Stopped in Trstena on the Slovakian side of the border. Took us awhile to find a little cafe/take away shop because most shops are not very well signposted and are shut indoors. When we got inside, the shop assistant didn’t have a word of English and neither did the menu! John said he wasn’t hungry enough to eat something randomly picked off the menu but I wanted the experience. So after a 'conversation’ where she obviously didn’t understand a word I said and I definitely had no idea what she was saying, I pointed to something on the menu and she went to get it. It turned out to be what looked like a pork fillet surrounded with something like sauerkraut (it wasn’t but that’s the nearest thing I can think of to describe it) and a type of bread on the side. Whatever it was, it tasted yummy! See John, we don’t need English to order something to eat!!

On the way home we found one of the oldest wooden churches in Europe. It’s on the Polish side of the border. Quite spectacular from the outside. Wish we could have seen the inside too!

We made it home. I know that doesn’t sound like much but today it was good. Something we’ve noticed here is that people don’t talk to strangers. If you pass someone in the street, on a hike, even in our own building sometimes, it’s rare for them to say hello. They mostly avoid your eyes or just look through you. No one stops for people waiting at pedestrian crossings unless they have to so they don’t run the people over. If cars do stop for pedestrians, the pedestrians don’t nod to say thankyou. When driving, cars won’t necessarily let you into lanes and no one will thank you if you let them in yourself.  Drivers are generally fairly aggressive and not very patient. We see and have had many drivers pass us in places which were not safe or which had minimal room for passing. Today was our closest call yet. Coming straight towards us on the open high speed road was a large semi-trailer passing another semi-trailer. When he realised that he wasn’t going to make it in time, he blinked his lights at us for us to get out of the way. We had no choice but to mount the footpath completely (the two trucks took the whole road) until they were both past us. They were still side by side when they passed us on the footpath!! It was just sheer luck that there were no light poles in that particular part and that there were no pedestrians either. It was a bit scary. It would have been a truly horrible choice if there had been pedestrians! Like I said, we made it home!!

Speaking of cars, someone stole our front number plate yesterday afternoon!!!! Isn’t that the pits! We phoned Marzena in Australia and she said not to worry, people do that! As I write this the sirens just keep going out in the street. We hear them every waking hour in a constant stream! Thank goodness we have our 24hour security guard downstairs. I can see why they think it’s necessary! She (there’s been a series of different women) has her own special area where she can see all comings and goings and has a bank of TV cameras which she monitors carefully. She’s always watching and keeping us safe!!
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