Our downhill journey from high Tatras to Levoca was very pleasant indeed. We passed through oodles of lovely countryside with rolling hills that reminded us of a patchwork quilt. From vibrant pea green to pale shimmery wheat, the natural shades in the warm morning light set the tone for the day. All complimented with the odd small village perched on a hillside with pastel painted houses and a tiny church tower. It so reminded me of Sicily and the stunning views from Ragussa to Erice. Its moments like these when nothing else will do but plonk the feet on the dash, slide back the chair and soak up the view. Perfecto.
Wifi! We have wifi but the signal is so weak it means we can’t upload any photo’s, so I have the blog posts ready and as soon as we get a good signal I will upload and publish….hope that’s OK pops!
We entered the walled town of Lavoca, parked up on the main square and popped €2 in the parking meter. Lavoca is gorgeous, an infinitely charming little place full of 16th and 17th century buildings all set within a medieval stone wall. In the heart of the town, a small square named the námestie Majstra Pavla (don’t ask me to pronounce, I haven’t got a clue!) with the church of St James located in the middle. Inside the worlds tallest gothic alter at 61ft but no photos permitted and if you get caught taking a snap they fine you a whopping £50. No sneaky snaps then (Click to enlarge photo’s)
The village has not long received its UNESCO status and as such, European funding for development and renovation is flooding in. Scaffolding and construction works on every corner. In between the scaffolding, pastel coloured buildings with ornate detail and dotted with tables and chairs from the cafés. At point, Craig shot off to one of the bistro’s. I got all giddy, lunch, oh my lunch, we are going to eat out. I nearly pee’d with excitement. Lunch arrived in the name of a grapefruit ice-cream, sigh. I closed my eyes, switched in my imagination and licked my way through a 2 course lunch.
At one end, the town hall with a collection of arts and craft stalls selling items made by the local school children. To the rear stood the tower, dignified and white, with steps leading up to a small museum with terraced arches and an open view. As you peer down the long sweeping streets, your eyes are drawn to the elevated church in the distance. We have no idea what it is called but it sure looks rather grand.
Outside the town hall, a small fountain, monument and the cage of disgrace. A public place for women who committed petty crimes! Horrible really, but then it wasn’t that long a go since we put kids in the corner and stick a dunce hat on them!
Well I didn’t get put in the cage but instead I got sent to cell block H! Little did I know that within half an hour I would be trundling through the psychiatric ward of Lavoca hospital asking anyone in a white uniform “do you speak English?” With seriously ill folk slowly shuffling towards me in big fluffy slippers, I was more than happy to take their lack of response as a no. Eventually, I wandered in to the radiotherapy ward and I found a lovely nurse who spoke English and took pity on me. She kindly walked me around to a rather depressing, khaki green corridor with what can only be described as prison cells doors at either end. Along the wall, a row of plastic chairs with 20 pairs of eyeballs watching me. No seats, I stood and waited. The eyeballs never moved.
Eventually, a nurse unbolted the door and beckoned me inside, I jumped to attention. The eyeballs weren’t impressed, for some strange reason I was given priority and clearly jumped the slow moving queue. The drunk, drugged or sick eyeballs watched me enter the large sterile room.
Inside I ask if anyone speaks English. In the corner, a voice shouts “I speak English”. A blonde, middle aged doctor has a powerful presence. Her glance over her spectacles is intimidating, penetrating and stern. As she looks me up and down I feel like I am being frisked and as she starts to question me about the need for a B12 injection, I feel rather nervous. When she realises I am in Slovakia on holiday, she starts to thaw, smiles and when she asks me drop my shorts, I realise I have passed the test. A sharp jab in the buttock, a quick wipe and I am on my way.
Our Bumble Verdict: excellent little village with plenty charm, character and eyeballs.
With a sore arse we set off towards through more glorious countryside. This country is so pretty and even though we are only darting through, I know we will come back at some point. We stopped at a few villages to have coffee break and a toot. Stop, start all the way to Spis, taking it in turns to rally to the end point with a whole load of snow ploughs. A sure sign winter is only around the corner.
Its mid afternoon when there’s first glimpse of our final destination. Spis castle is an 11th century fortress ruin perched on a hill top. Its on hell of a monster castle and can be seen for miles around. Not much remains of the castle and inside, the open air is home to some great views and the odd museum. At the bottom of the hill a quaint town with a nice square and to the north, a walled village. Inside the stone wall, one long cobbled street with St Martin’s Cathedral located at the top with some fine detail and a few famous tombstones.
Our Bumble Verdict: Collectively all 3 sites make for a good stop off and a mooch at Slovakian heritage.
Our motorhome sleepy spot: On guard duty at Spis castle, a free car park over looking the valley and flood lit castle.
Wild Camping GPS position Spis N048.998550, E020.771143
Route: Tatranska Lamnica to Spis