IT was an interesting drive to our next destination, Bojnice to see the impressive Castle. The night before we found a cool place to camp, it was getting late so we took a look at google maps and found a small road leading up to 12th century Castle, the road was very narrow, and spiralled up the hill to the carpark. We were surrounded by fruit trees and overlooking the pretty countryside below, we had an awesome sunset and slept really well. We didn’t know if we were actually aloud to park up there, so we decided to leave early in the morning before anyone arrived.
The drive North was stunning and at first took us up through a valley between two national parks surrounded by lush, green forested hills. There was a couple of small villages we thought about visiting on the way, but the roads were very steep and we didn’t want to push the van too much, it was also getting late in the year and our plan was to be further south already by now, so we decided to get a good bit of driving out the way instead. The scenery soon changed as the road took us up and over the forested hills, down the valley and we were soon driving through flat countryside. We suddenly were overcome with a horrendous smell, The fields had obviously been freshly sprayed and the smell was quite disgusting, making us feel sick. We continued further, trying to escape it!
We had googled and found a campsite, which was very reasonable priced and more importantly had a washing machine, we had enough of driving for the day and we really were quite desperate to get our laundry done. The campsite was abit of a detour, but we really wanted to stop, so went there anyways. Upon arrival the gates were all locked up, and although online it said it was open, it wasn’t. We continued back on route to Bojnice feeling a little stressed.
A little further on, we pulled off the road in a large parking area, with a small pagoda, this would do to have a rest for a while and have some food. As we were getting sorted in the van we noticed lots of cars pulling into the carpark, going briefly down to the pagoda with water bottles, filling them and then leaving, we thought this was odd, especially when a guy pulled up in a van advertising mineral water on the side and he went down to fill up, so after some food, we went to investigate. There was a tiny trickle of water coming from a pipe low to the ground, with a strong aroma of bad eggs, the water was obviously sulphuric and we decided that this wasn’t some sort of beautiful tasting drinking water after all and got back on the road towards Bojnice.
It was dark by the time we arrived and the city of Bojnice was alot bigger than we expected, Its never great arriving somewhere at night, especially in a big city. We had no idea where we were going to sleep and couldn’t find anything on any of the park up apps. We spent a bit of a stressful half hour driving around looking for somewhere safe to park with no luck and eventually we drove up a big steep hill heading out of town and into the countryside and pulled over in a small village, hidden away behind a tree. It was fine to spend the night and we were glad to relax after a long, smelly, tiring day on the road.
The following morning we drove back up the hill and on the way back, we noticed how lovely the surrounds were, there was so many great places we could have pulled off the road to spend the night, this is why its always good to find somewhere to park in the daylight. Once we got to the top of the hill, there was a forest area with a road going through and lots of really nice places to park, we stopped for breakfast and had a look around. There was a viewing platform that overlooked the city and great views down to the castle, also there was lots of cycle tracks and walking areas.
We found somewhere to park back down in the city and went off on our bikes to finally see the Castle. Its definitely very impressive and the best Castle we have seen of our trip so far, very fairy tale like with a mote, great stone work, perfect towers and lush vines creeping up the walls, the surrounding area around the castle walls are cute alleyways, with a few stools selling souvenirs. We didn’t go inside the castle, as its only guided tours and no English, but that was fine as we were more than happy with enjoying the Castle from the grounds.
Our next destination was an unexpected lakes side stop on the way to Bratislava, we just wanted to find somewhere to chill for the afternoon/evening before hitting the capital and this place did just the job. not that far east of the city, a large lake where there were mainly fishermen and one other camper. We found our own little pitch and made it just before dark. Nick enjoyed a late evening dip and after getting a campfire on the go, we chilled out with a few glasses of wine, enjoying the mild evening and our crackling fire. The next morning the weather had changed somewhat and it was drizzle and quite cold. We cooked a hot breakfast and chilled for a while before heading to Bratislava.