Search the Community
Showing results for tags 'trenčín'.
Although we had flown to Košice yesterday, we actually needed to be on the opposite side of Slovakia today. Fortunately, Slovakia is not a huge country and the trains are amazing, so this wasn't going to be a problem. I had already arranged our train tickets in advance online, booking us onto a train which was leaving Košice at 09.07. Our hotel started serving breakfast at 08.00, so we made sure we were there at the start to make the most of it before setting off on the short walk back across down to the train station. I'd paid slightly extra to travel in first class and it was definitely worth it. The tickets were unbelievably cheap, with what was ultimately going to be a four-hour train journey to Trenčín costing just EUR 20 each. The first class carriages were really nice and we had two comfy window seats with a table to ourselves. We even got a free bottle of water. Considering it costs more than £13 to get between Nuneaton and Birmingham these days, it felt like a real bargain! Slovakia is very scenic and it was a lovely journey. The weather wasn't as good as it had been on Friday, being quite cloudy and misty in places, but the landscape was still really beautiful. We went past hills.... ...and alongside rivers. Some time after 1pm, the train pulled into the city of Trenčín. This was another place we'd been to on our 2016 holiday, coming here to visit the large castle which is visible from just outside the train station. We were meeting some local Esperantists here, who came to pick us up and took us for a walk around the town centre. When we're last been here it had been August and I remember it had been incredibly hot climbing up the hill to the castle. It was much cooler today, though luckily the weather was staying dry. We didn't climb up to the castle today but we had some beautiful views of it from the centre of town. We had lunch in Trenčín before travelling to the nearby town of Nová Dubnica, which is where the Esperanto organisation we'd come to visit is based. We spent the afternoon visiting their various premises, before going out for another big meal in the evening. We stayed the night in a hotel in Nová Dubnica. The room was rather basic, but we couldn't complain about the price - just €40 for the night! We had breakfast at the hotel in the morning, before getting a lift to the small nearby station of Trenčianska Teplá. From there we had a much shorter train journey than yesterday - around 1.5 hours - to Bratislava. We couldn't visit Bratislava without staying in the hotel formerly known as the Mercure, near to the train station. We weren't technically allowed to check in until 3pm, but we decided to go and ask whether we could leave our bags at reception. Our luck was in because they found us a room and we were able to check in nice and early. Despite the hotel seemingly changing its name, the rooms look very much the same as they always did, including the bathrooms with the strange windows! Today was a bright sunny day, so once we'd dropped off the bags we decided to head out and make the most of the daylight. Bratislava looked lovely in the winter sunshine. As we walked down towards the main square, we found they were in the process of setting up booths for the Christmas market there. That meant most of the main square was blocked off, though it looked like it would be a while until the market was open. We made our way down past the national theatre... ...and back round past the cathedral. When we first came to Bratislava, I remember this being completely covered in scaffolding for restoration. It looks fantastic now. We had lunch, then another stroll around town. As we were walking back towards the hotel, we popped into a large bookshop to look around and found it had a cafe. I had an amazing piece of Sachertorte with my coffee. Bratislava is a lovely city and it's fun to be back here for a short trip
Our destination for today was the city of Trenčín, approximately 120km northeast of Bratislava. Trenčín was a place I had never heard of before I started reading the Bradt guidebook to Slovakia, but once I read about it I knew I wanted to visit, because it is home to one of the largest castles in Slovakia. The train journey from Bratislava takes around 90 minutes and so it was mid-morning when we stepped off the train in Trenčín station. I had suggested we carried the guidebook with us so that we could make use of the map of Trenčín when trying to locate the castle, but it soon became clear that the map was going to be extremely unnecessary, because this is what we saw from the station platform. Wow, that definitely is a big castle! It also looked like an extremely high castle, so we decided to warm up by exploring the lower part of the town of Trenčín before we tackled the ascent. Trenčín is one of the ten largest cities in Slovakia, but it's actually not quite as big as Nuneaton, so the town centre is compact and has a pleasant feel. We walked through the city gate and found a cafe which was advertising iced frappés for the amazingly low price €0.90. It seemed like too good an offer to pass by so we decided to give them a go. They turned out to be quite different to frappés in England (very foamy and not very sweet) but it was a hot day and nice to have a cold drink. We walked into the main town square. It had a rather bizarre fountain which seemed to be providing endless amusement for the children of Trenčín. At the far end of the square, this unusual building turned out to be a synagogue. The main church in the centre of the town was unfortunately in the process of being renovated, and so completely covered in scaffolding. We did, however, see this pretty yellow church set on a hill above the town. We contemplated climbing up some steps to it but in the end decided to save our energy for the main climb up to the castle! The path to the castle was quite steep in places, but we were soon within the lower walls. As we got higher we began to be rewarded with views out across the Slovakian countryside. Finally we were there! We only paid €3 to enter the castle grounds. You can pay more to go inside the buildings, but this is only possible on a guided tours and the guided tours are in Slovak, so that didn't seem like the best idea. There has been a castle at Trenčín since Roman times, though the origins of the current castle date back to the 11th century. As we walked around the fortifications we had some brilliant views back down to the town. The synagogue in particular was easily recognisable. In the distance we could also see the surprisingly large river Váh. And we realised we were now significantly higher than the church we had decided not to climb up to earlier. As we followed one of the paths along the walls we were surprised to come across a display of birds of prey. Some of them looked rather mean. Though some of them looked quite cute (if you ignored the claws!). Once we had finished exploring, we started making our way back down again towards the town. We had some fantastic views of the castle on the way down... ...and the path was definitely a lot easier going down rather than up! On the way down we finally found the yellow church... ...from where there was also a great view back up to the castle. Once back in the town, we found a nice Italian restaurant for a late lunch. I had a spaghetti bolognaise, Tim had a caesar salad, and between us we had a couple of glasses of wine and a beer. When the bill came we were amazed to see it was only €15! Slovakia seems to be even cheaper once you get outside of Bratislava. Trenčín is a really pretty place with a very impressive castle, and we definitely succeeded in getting off the beaten track today, away from any other English tourists Tomorrow we will be leaving Bratislava behind and making the long train journey to Poprad, where we will be spending the rest of our holiday.