From Budapest, Hungary I took the Rio Jet bus to Bratislava, Slovakia it was about $8usd and I booked this online. The hotel I had reserved ended up being on the outskirts of town, so my first impressions of Bratislava were cold as the scenery was a mirror of the Soviet Union. The buildings were many stories high and grey block-type all similar and unwelcoming without any distinguishing characteristics. However upon the provided tour the next day I was introduced to a very different city. A city of ancient roots; cathedrals, palaces and a history of many very different governing figures and governments. I actually ended up later in the day having an inclusive lunch at the Bratislava Castle in this city with my new Angloville group.
The next day after boarding our buses the group and I were whisked away into an increasingly scenic countryside. At the end of this journey we found ourselves at the hotel Zarrenpach, the venue for this weeks activities. This hotel sits adjacent to the village of Osrblie and is kitty-corner to the Orsblie biathalon course. Here the word biathalon has a more Olympic games interpretation as it represents xc skiing and target practice shooting in the range . Besides this the hotel had a royal spa which you could access for 6 euros or $7usd for a 3 hour period (words to the most prudent, we enter European spa’s in our birthday suits😉). The spa contained a steam room; sauna, Jacuzzi tub, infrared healing room, a cold plunge and of course massages were available for extra fees. The food on the menu seemed reasonable though I found myself often served rice. This resort was very family friendly and had an above ground outdoor pool, mini-golf, volley-ball and oddly an indoor bowling alley (with more fees attached). One evening our group decided to take over the bowling alley and despite my non-existent skills, we had a blast. Maybe it was the music or the fact that our friends were throwing down some mad english slang, it just went to prove how successful our weeks work had been.
What really intrested me the most was the biathalon course.Though I have very little interest in the sport of target practice, unless it’s a burglar. Now that’s just good sport! I do however have a very big love for cross country skiing. In my free time in the afternoons you would find me clambering around the mountain paths, a little Jacque wild in her natural habitat. So the course not only had miles of trails but judging platforms were placed at various viewing points along the way. The lodge was two stories high and made of glass and cement for the spectators. There were separate waxing rooms in barn like buildings labeled by country, I thought that was unique. The “Cats” or snow- groomers were what brought my mind back into the nostalgic world of skiing. One morning a friend and I went out to rent skate skis and train on the paved part of the course, but somewhere lost in translation I misunderstood and the resort did not have any rentals available. My friend had roller-blades and we had a blast despite a crash and road-rash, OUCH!
This has been a very nice trip up in the lower Tatras of Slavakia and I am greatful for new friends and fun. Luckily the weather has held out. Tommorow it will be time to head back to the city and on with the itinerary, which has me in Vienna by nightfall. I’ll try and keep things up to date during the flip flop trip through Europe. Is it to early for a snow dance?