We had two weeks of holiday in August and the first week was spent at the end of the Vysoke Tatry, the highest mountain range in Slovakia. I’ve got a number of posts coming up about different places we saw coming soon (so sign up for the newsletter, if you haven’t already), this is random bits of what we saw on our journey.
There are ruined castles all over Slovakia, tucked up on the hills. I find the ruined castles more romantic, in a way, that preserved castles. And so many times I wonder at how much work it must have taken to build these huge buildings, high on hills with not-modern technology and often in awkward places.
A crooked from-the-car shot of Zvolen, in Central Slovakia. I liked the juxtaposition of socialist-era apartments, hills, and hay bales.
A socialist monument by the road just past Zvolen. I have no idea what it means (anybody know?).
Catching a glimpse of the castle of Slovenská Ľupča. Looks lovely, no?
We drove through the centre of Slovakia, an area of lower hills and pastoral beauty. This is the end of the Nizke Tatry (the Low Tatras). I don’t have much of a bucket list, but hiking along the ridge of the Nizke Tatry is one on the list of things to actually do (as opposed to just dream about).
Clear cut on a hill. I’m for logging, but not like this.
If you look closely at the peak of Lomnický štít, there is little white dot. That is an astronomical and meteorological observatory. A cable car opened in 1940 and was a feat of engineering, unparalleled in the world until 1958.
We stopped in Levoča on a side trip. Levoča is a beautiful medieval town, the Gothic Church of St. James being the focal point. The church houses the highest Gothic alter in the world, carved by Master Pavol (Paul). I marvel at how patient artists must be to work on such a monumental project in such painstaking detail. Unfortunately photos were not allowed inside either, click the link above to see more.
(Random buildings in Levoča) To go for a tour of the church and eat lunch took 3 hrs, and I wish we had taken a whole day. Mariánska hora is a pilgrimage site on a hill beside the city; during socialism, pilgrims congregated there in the hundreds of thousands. The town centre is lined with gorgeous buildings. The intersection on the highway, however, is the most poorly designed I have ever seen in my life, and I am not exaggerating.
The first time I saw these little huts in Žilina, before I had moved to Slovakia, I asked if the area was something like a slum. My not-yet husband laughed. These are little garden huts. Because so many people live in apartment buildings, some people have gardens on the outskirts of the city/town.
The rest of the vacation we spent visiting family…