Sunday, 25 November 2018

Slovakia here we come

Hello again. I trust you are all sitting comfortably and ready for further tales of our travels in Europe?

Prague - Everyone always says how lovely it is and, of course, they are right. Stunning buildings, squares etc. But there is nearly always a trade off with beautiful tourist spots and, in the case of Prague, it’s the people. Just thousands of tourists. So many tourists that you have to sit upon the shoulders of other tourists in order to fit into busy streets. 

There are lots of restaurants - no surprising with all those hungry tourists and bars and stuff but if, like us, you have a cultured bent and want to elevate your minds above that of casual beer drinking and stuffing your face then check out very accurately named  ‘Sex Machine Museum’. Yup. A museum dedicated to automated sex in all its glorious forms from inny-outy machines with huge pokey bits to the ingenious, although I doubt not terribly sensual, licking seat. A seat with an hole (a little like a commode) with a wheel beneath that has numerous leather tongues fastened to its perimeter. The wheel is powered by pushing pedals that are in front of the seat. The faster you pedal the faster those tongues whip past the hole and titillates either dangly mens bits or, hopefully, not so dangly lady bits. It's an interesting journey into another world which is finished off (pun intended) with a grainy 1890's porn film about a stern schoolmaster and his naughty students. I tell you, they deserved the cane for things they got up to.

That's us (bottom right) sleeping in the grounds of the monastery
So, overall Prague got a 6.5 from us. Maybe next time we should visit early on a sunny Sunday morning (possibly the best time to see any city)  and therefore be able to truly see what is there instead of who is there.

Poland – GOING BACK TO MY ROOTS – YEAH! Is it because of my dad being Polish that I was wearing rose coloured specs or were the people friendlier and the buildings really nicer. I like to think the reality is that the Poles ar not only bloody good plumbers but are a pretty hospitable lot whose star is on the rise. I was thrilled, when I paid for some petrol and the attendant was intrigued by my name on my credit card (an uncommon name in Poland as well as England) and the fact that I drove a UK registered car. Apparently he was taught by a guy with the same surname and this teacher was a great teacher. I explained as best i could that it ran in the genes. I don't think that the other Lenartowicz teacher was as good as he suggested because he replied "Yes, Levi's". 

Krakow -  A good city – Its big and sprawling but who goes outside of the lovely old bits unless you live there? I was last here ten years ago and I was pleased to see that little had changed. Maybe there is more money in Poland nowadays but everything still seems reasonably priced. The roads and buildings are in great condition and the people seem content. We wandered about the usual sites of the city - Although once again shunning the Auschwitz tour and the rather macabre option of being able to stay in the grounds of Birkenau concentration camp overnight - behind locked gates. 

In the Jewish section of town known as Kazimeirz – coincidently, my dad’s very cool name as well– we had one of the best meals we have ever had at 3.30pm in the afternoon. We sat in the squares and sipped beers. We sat in a church and had our ears soothed by a pleasing rendition of the 4 seasons (a staple for this kind of thing) whilst candles flickered on the golden altar ornamentation which served as the backdrop. 

We had parked up about 5km outside of the city in a motorhome dealership who provided us with a hard standing, all the water, lecky and poo emptying facilities we could ever need. For our 6 Euro we also got a 24 hour manned security gate so fell warm, cared for and safe. The only downside is we had to park next to other motorhomes for sale so occasionally a perspective buyer would peer in the window. Anyhow to get to the city we would bike along a lovely cycle path that ran beside the river, park our bikes and walk.

There is a lot to see in the city (although no sex related oddities spring to mind). It's home to the largest city square in Europe and its scale helps dissipate the numbers so its pleasant to wander. One of the other attractions are the salt mines. This vast network of tunnels and antechambers stretches for 240km crossing and recrossing one another over multiple levels. Plainly they don't let hoards of ill equipped tourists roam through the entire labyrinth but the tour still covers 2.4km. Down hundreds of stairs and along tunnels lined with crystallised wood. The highlight being several huge chambers housing sculptures made of salt and an impressive church with carved tiles in the floor. 

Final stop in Poland is Zacopane in the Lower Tatras (a mountain range in southern Poland). A ski town with rising hills around the pretty centre where mulled wine and toasted cheese with raspberry sauce is sold from little kiosks. Its nice. We stay in a clearing in forest by a river that looks like its a movie set and take a long walk up into the hills. 

We then hop across the mountain road into Slovakia. My goodness, what a difference. THe houses have gone from chocolate box to cardboard crates - no style whatsoever. Driving has suddenly become a challenge. It seems all Slovaks drive like idiots with no one thinking about consequences. They even overtake in towns with 50kph limits and enjoy heavy brake usage due to driving a couple of metres behind you. Its really bizarre. As is the fact that no one smiles. There is a collective dourness that pervades everyone from shop assistants to waiters; new mums through to old women. 

Lets hope that its a glitch and not evidence of the national psyche.

1 comment:

  1. Trust you to find a museum associated with sex. What did you there buy anything interesting?