Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Eastern Europe - Slovakia

Since the break up of Czechoslovakia in 1993, Slovakia fell behind its western neighbor in both economics and tourism. However, there are still plenty of things to see and do and Slovakia’s economy is booming with the planned adoption of the Euro to replace the Slovak kroner in 2009. Slovakia is a land of fairytale castles, with about 180 castles scattered across the country. The most impressive of these castles is probably Spiš Castle (aka Spišský Hrad), located in the northeast of the country. Spiš Castle is located in the northeast of the country, overlooking the town Spišské Podhradie and is one of the largest castles in central Europe. The of and from the castle are mesmerizing and fans of movies such as Dragonheart, Kull the Conqueror or the Last Legion will easily recognize Spiš Castle as they were all filmed here.
I arrived to Slovakia by night-train from Krakow to Košice, Slovakia’s second largest city after Bratislava. I didn’t stay long however and soon made my way up to the walled-town of Levoca, a stoppover en route to Spiš Castle. After spending the day at both Levoèa Spiš, I made my way west to Bojnice, located in the heart of the country. Bojnice is no more than a small town located in the outskirts of the city of Prievidza. However, it’s famous for… yep, you guessed it, a castle… located right in the center of town. After overnighting in Bojnice, I made my way to Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital and largest city. Lively Bratislava is located on the Danube River with both neighboring countries Hungary and Austria just a stones throw away. Bratislava was in fact the last leg of my journey with nearby Vienna airport (where I was due to fly out of) not even an hours bus ride away.
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