We’ve just spent a week and a half in Prague, Slovakia and had a quick trip to Poland too. That’s four currencies in as many days, a situation I found mighty confusing. We started in Prague and took the train out to a town called Kutna Hora. I’ll confess to inadvertantly purchasing first-class train tickets, meaning we got to travel in Czech luxury, even if it was all a bit retro.
There’s an ossuary at Kutna Hora containing the stacked bones of around 40,000 people, and the town is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This was the first of three heritage sites this trip, adding significantly to my running total. The whole town is very nice, offering a glimpse of the history and architecture seen in Prague, but without the crowds. I’d also highly recommend the silver museum with a trip down the mine.
We then took a sleeper train to Slovakia, based near the High Tatra mountains. The following few days saw us with plenty of possibilities, and we managed to get in some walking, a bit rafting (the sedate, “drift slowly down a river” kind), cycling and also got a trip on a Polish disco bus (Euro-trance on the stereo, blacked-out windows and lit entirely in blue).
Spissky Hrad was the second World Heritage site of the trip, and it’s honestly the most awesome castle ever. It’s partially ruined, but it’s basically what you imagined the perfect castle to be when you were about eight years old. There’s a huge central tower and loads of outer bits to wander around. Ace.
Dobsinska ice caves are a series of caves which, by some fluke of geography, remain at or below freezing all year. This means that all the water draining into them freezes and has built up over the last 7,000 years or so into a massive space-filling block up to 25m deep in places. It’s a surreal experience to go from the heat outside into a crazy world of icicles (which, incidentally, are just screaming out for axes and crampons).
Despite a 3-way UNESCO heritage site bonanza, I think the highlight of the holiday was the last night, which we spent in a five-star hotel in Prague. I knew it was going to be awesome when we arrived at 08:55 and the first thing they did was take us up to the restaurant and feed us cheesecake! We then delighted in the delicious complimentary finger food, massive DVD library, jacuzzi bath, and the utterly ridiculous “pillow menu”, offering a selection of head-and-neck support options. Our driver arrived the next morning to take us to the airport in style, after which we came down to earth with a bump in the scrum for the Easyjet check-in desk.
In terms of photography, there wasn’t that much potential as we weren’t out and about at the right times of day, but there are a few pattern shots I’m reasonably pleased with. I also managed to get two shots of the moon at different locations, which seem to have worked out quite well.