We ummm’d and arrrr’d about going to Wieliczka salt mines until we saw Simy and John. They were very disappointed with their visit and said the crowds were horrendous. That sort of made our minds up, so we got ready to move on.
Craig had a chat to our Dutch neighbours, a lovely couple on their first motorhome adventure whilst I sorted out some pennies. I loaded our caxton card with extra Euro’s to cover Slovakia and Forint for Hungary. As wifi options are uncertain for the next month, I thought I’d better check out Romania and Bulgaria too. This will cover us all the way to Greece…if we ever get there!
The Romanian Leu and Bulgarian Lev are not available as direct currency options through the caxton card, so best options for bank withdrawals. Looking at our current account bank fees for international currency withdrawals verses Caxton, it looks like Caxton is slightly cheaper. Good stuff, so I loaded our Caxton card with sterling. The sterling will stay on our preloaded caxton card until we withdraw against it in Romania or Bulgaria and then it will be exchanged on that days rate. If we don’t use then we just transfer the sterling back, simple.
We waved good bye to everyone at Adam Camping and hit the road. Slovakia here we come! Once out of Krakow we searched from the nearest Lidl. With £100 of Polish Zloty in our wallet we opted to spend rather than stash, after all Poland is so cheap we’d be daft not too. Armed with two Lidl trollies we made supermarket sweep look easy. We stacked our trollies with every conceivable item on a Lidl shelf from the practical fairy washing up liquid to oooeer, what’s this? Dont know. Looks good. Lets try it. Mac n Tosh even got a few treats from piggies ears, chicken feet, chappie pouches and dog treats. Our £50 shop had Vin looking a tad full. Good job we have a 5 ton limit.
With £50 to spare, I though Craig might treat us to a lush lunch but nah, LPG, diesel and tobacco. The nearest I got to an extravagant meal was the whiff of a microwave hotdog rammed in a stale bun at the petrol station. But you know what, its been that long since I ate out, I drooled over the hotdog, how bad is that. Time to tuck in to a Lidl donut and put on a sad face.
With all the talk of new countries and new currencies, we were all giddy and excited. We where off to the mountains and in a strange way, I was looking forward to the dangers of the mountain roads. As much as I hate the thought slowly teetering across a crumbling mountain pass with terrifying vertical drops, I find combination of terror and excitement rather exhilarating.
The Polish ski resorts of Tantra mountains were pretty and inviting with alpine houses draped in summer flowers and neatly mowed lawns. Outside the main resorts, the sleep villages looked the idilic retreat for the elite with large villas and exclusive spa resorts. The array of ugly billboards still lined the road side but instead of Media City bargains, BOGOF cosmetic procedures dominated the headlines. As we entered Slovakia, the billboards disappeared and an uninterrupted tree line took over. Immediate, it felt different.
We arrived at Tatranska Lamnica and staring us straight in the face, the Tantra mountains. Wow they looked fab, but as I stepped out of Vin, I felt slightly cheated. We’d spent a whole day getting here (including 3 hours in Lidl and 1 hour drooling) but the drive had offered none of the mountain cling on, ‘oh shit’ we are gonna die, adventure that I had hoped. Lacking adrenalin, I grabbed a donut, looked around before we acquainted ourselves with the multi tiered car park. Negotiating a flat parking spot with prime viewing requires skill.
By 9pm it was pitch black and by 10pm the night sky was alive with twinkling stars. As Mac n Tosh watered the wild flowers against a black outline of mountain peaks, we looked up. The sky was so black and yet so bright with shining stars. It was amazing. Its seems such a long time since we admired such a clear night sky. A glimpse of a shooting star. Whoa. We smiled. This is one beautiful place. We stepped inside and slept at the foothills of the Tantra Mountains.
Our sleepy spot: Ski lift car park, which is advertised as free all day and night. With no one around we have the pick of bays and uninterrupted view of the Tatras.
Wild Camping GPS position Tatranska Lamnica N049.167700, E020.270363
Route: Krakow to Tatranska Lamnica, Slovakia