Thursday, August 21, 2008


So, after thinking for a moment along the lines of ''Wait for me mate, I'm getting off too!'', we had an uneventful flight to Bratislava, some 5 hours by road from our holiday destination.
We were met by Marek our driver, and, with the trailer loaded with our bags off we went. I now know, after two hair raising taxi rides in Bratislava, that Mareks driving was typical of the local style. In his case it seemed to be that overtaking (or undertaking for that matter) could only be done following endless tailgating of the vehicle in front; the act of overtaking ALWAYS involved pulling alongside and then changing gear to finish the manoeuvre, usually in pitch darkness with no obvious clues as to whether we were approaching a bend, or falling off the edge of the world.
I was lucky enough to be sitting immediately behind him for the entire journey too!
Perhaps he knew we were 'bricking it' because he did stop twice for the toilets within about ten minutes, leaving me with the uncomfortable thought that he'd been asleep the first time we stopped!
He came good for us though on arrival at Tatranska Lomnica, when we found our accommodation. Unfortunately it was locked up for the night with no sign of life! My contact, one Jaroslav Pec, had told me that our late arrival after midnight would not be a problem. I've subsequently emailed him to say that though it wasn't a problem for them, as they'd simply shut up shop and gone home at 10 PM, it certainly had been for us, as we trailed around until David got us into a former communist built hotel nearby for the night at about 1:00AM.
This hotel had padded corduroy (OH Yes!) doors to the rooms, which Jan thought we could have had fun with if we'd brought our Velcro suits. The breakfast was good though and the views brilliant, then off went Karen, Katrin and I, to find Jaroslav Pec. We looked in the laundry, were sent to the kitchen, then the restaurant, then reception, to be met with blank stares and Slovak shrugs of the shoulders. I accused blokes in the reception area of being Jaroslav Pec, and just the opposite of that film when everyone wanted to be Spartacus, no one wanted to be Jaroslav.
We did however get booked in and held a room lottery for some very good accommodation, then out to the hills!

We trudged up the foothills of Lomnicky Stit, our local mountain, to the cable car stop at 1751 metres for refreshment, then the fun began with a circuitous route back which we could run on, well, at least until Katrin took a tumble and sustained deep cuts and grazes to hands and legs. Fortunately none of the blood dripped onto her dazzlingly yellow running shoes. This showed up our lack of first aid kit ( I think we had a Stanley knife and some fruit gums between us), although we did later on meet a very pleasant German lady who insisted on sticking plasters to most of Katrins available flesh! Now, for a country which produces such technical stuff as BMW and Audi, you would think their sticking plasters would stick, but no, within 5 steps the plasters wilted like a Tory MP caught with a call girl, but 'thank you kind German lady', if you ever read this, it was the thought that counted.
End of day two saw us in a local restaurant, I ordered a starter of bread, lard and onions, fully expecting it to be something like bread with onion gravy and a bad english translation, but no! It really was bread, liberally spread with lard, and piled with raw onion. Generously I offered tasters to everyone, but very few accepted. At about 8p it was the cheapest starter I've ever had, and I thought about that a lot as I burped and belched my way through the sleepless dark hours to dawn.............(next up, the BIG TANTRUM IN THE TATRAS, AND FURTHER TRAGEDY STRIKES)....

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