Two of ‘the lucky few’ are still relaxing in the same spot as yesterday, apart from a little bike ride and a few chores…nowt’s changed. The weather is fab, just above 25° by day, a bit chilly by night. But all this lazing about did get me thinking back to about a week ago & a bit of our adventures I didn’t get to share with you. Truth is, we’ve done so many attractions just lately our heads are spinning.
Deep in the craggy, forested hills of Slovakia, there lay a castle, a very pretty castle, a castle which has also a very varied history, (this is not the history channel). It looks very much like the titles when a Disney film starts, but we didn’t find a Mickey Mouse anywhere! Apparently, “one of the most visited & most attractive castles in central Europe!” Another claim-to-fame is that its “home of the International Ghosts & Spirits festival”, held once per year in May, thank goodness it’s September! I can’t get a decent shot of the place from the ground & I can’t quite afford to hire a drone, so I nicked one from the internet.
Guided tours start at 10:00 and you have a choice of languages, Slovak or…err Slovak. “Most visited castle in central Europe?” I’ve just checked with my mate, (the internet) which has English-speaking adults in ‘Europe’ at anywhere between 50-70% (depending on whose statistics you believe). Slovakian at only 5.5 million people is down in the <1%, normally grouped in the pigeon-hole ‘Other’ box of languages. The talking head in the ticket office thrusts an English pamphlet at us for an extra 50c and ‘orders’ us to join the 30 Slovaks in the court-yard for the next tour. Would you like to pay extra to take pictures ‘inside the castle today sir?’ “no I would not!”
I felt like one of those Oriental tourists in St. Petersburg I was so happy to take the piss out of…, “Blah..Blah..Blah..Oooo…Ahhhh…Clicky…Clicky …next room” It went on like this for about an hour. The interior of the castle was nice enough, Angie was doing a grand job following the pamphlet, but it could have been so much better, a head-set audio tour in bloody English would have been nice.
Parking was a free spot just up the road, a plot recently bought by the Zoo close by. The builders are just putting up a wall around the car park, so it won’t be free for long…that’s progress!
Where 3 countries collide:
Since the creation of the European Economic Community, the treaty of Rome and the Schengen Area Agreement, crossing boarders in Europe has become childs-play. For how much longer this will remain, we don’t know. How deep the ‘Brex-it’ severance axe will fall, we will see. I hope not too deep. Looking through European legislation, it amazes me how much of a task this exit really is. But at the moment, for a Brit, it couldn’t be easier, no border guards, (other than a few guards looking for tax dodgers at the Hungary/Slovakia border) we ‘Europeans’ have free movement across Europe. Whoop-Whoop!! That takes some serious red-tape burning and bureaucratic rule shredding … and I love it!! Every now and again, there will be a row of cameras across the motorway, just to let you know Interpol know where you are, but let’s face it, using your debit/credit card will trigger the same flashing lights …somewhere. Maybe that’s not a bad thing altogether, I’ve nowt to hide.
I’d been looking at a spot on maps.me (a free map app I’ve been using for over a year) on the Hudl2 and I spotted area in the middle of a field where 3 countries meet, I wondered what it looks like now, a mile from the road we were intending to travel down, so I thought…why not.
Barbed wire and ‘Keep Out’ signs littered this field many years ago, all no longer required. How many border guards did they ‘let-go’ when the barbed wire dissolved?
At a point where Slovakia, Hungary and Austria all meet, it’s simply marked as SK-A-H on the map. (n48.00670 e17.16085) Each country had placed a marker and statuette of former differences. The barbed fences removed, former no-mans-land ploughed into the earth with the rest of the field. I just wonder if it will stay this way forever?
…is anything ‘forever?’
Hope you had a nice weekend, may the week pass quickly…Kindest, Wayne.XX