Sunday, 27 November 2011
Road trip moments: Košice, Slovakia
Hey darlings. How are you doing? It was a beautiful sunny day here in Slovenia. And I slept through half of it, I went to bed really really late yesterday. Oh well. I hate being cold too. Our house just doesn't seem to warm up at all. Let's continue with some cool things from my road trip that I wanted to show you.
After Hungary we went to Slovakia/Slovaška, and I was most excited about our visit to Košice. Košice are the second largest city of Slovakia and I am completely in love with them. Such a lovely city, with a very pleasant atmosphere. Since we didn't have whole lot of time, my two major things to visit in Košice were the St. Elizabeth Cathedral (I'm a HUGE fan of gothic cathedrals) and the Mikluš prison museum, where you are able to see how Košice looked like in the Middle Ages and how the prison of that time looked like. I'm a huge fan of Middle Ages too, plus the criminal-law sanctions of any time in the history, so it was a major win for me.
We arrived as planned in our lovely hotel, Bankov. The whole experience of the hotel would be perfect, if there wasn't for the unpleasant waiters. I'm sorry, I hate unpleasant waiters, they can really ruin your dinner. It's not my fault she didn't speak a word of English nor German and didn't even try to communicate with us with Slovak language, and she should treat us just like the rest of the guests. That aside, the food was to die for, and the rest of the staff really nice.
It was quite surprising to see how rarely we found someone who spoke English in Slovakia even on major tourist points. But most of the time they tried their best to communicate with us, which is a major plus. We quickly realized we can understand each other if only we spoke a bit slower than usual - Slovak language is very close to all the other slavic languages, for me it was a cool mixture of Slovene and any language of Southern Balkan (Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian) that I also understand, so it wasn't really a problem, as long as we gave each other a minute.
Btw, a cool little trifle. We call our country Slovenija (it's pronounced the same as Slovenia, as long as you pronounce the "e" as in "love" not as "ee" in "deep") and the adjective of the word is "slovensko". The slovak word for Slovakia is "slovensko" and they call Slovenia "slovinsko". :) It's quite obvious we're all Slavonic brethren.
I'll show you a lot of photos in this one, it's going to be a long post, I hope you'll enjoy it, but I want to emphasize one thing. I'm not a professional photographer. Moreover, I think i'm somewhere in between of a bad and average amateur. I don't see the lights or the angles. I like a thing, I press the button, end of story. So don't think these will rock your world, for that google the things and you'll get a lot of professional photos. Or even better, visit them. It's the best way to see them anyway.
The cute little doggy statue at the entrance door of our hotel (that actually has a function, as one of you lovely readers pointed out :D)
When we got to the centre of Košice it was already getting dark. BTW, for those who will drive there with a car - their parking is really well organized and cheap. But do pay for it, they will check regularly for the tickets and will bust your ass. I don't see the point of cheating since the parking is so cheap, but we saw people do it anyway.
The main street called Hlavná ulica was easy to find and is quite recognizable with the little stream down the middle of the street. I fell in love with the whole look immediately. Wide, spacious street, cool buildings all around, not too many people. We went immediately to the St. Elizabeth Cathedral, since I read on the internet it closes up earlier than the Mikluš museum. Sadly, it is partially under construction and we couldn't see any sign of tours or anything going on. So we just checked it out all around.
The magnificence that is St. Elizabeth Cathedral. The Slovak call it Dóm svätej Alžbety (we'd say Katedrala svete Elizabete) and it's a total must-see. My pictures don't do it justice at all. It's gorgeous with all the gothic details. The pictures on the first day aren't so nice, my camera doesn't work well in the dark, these were taken the next morning.
I love the spikes everywhere and the tall pointy windows!!
Upper and below pictures show my love for these kind of doors. Why are our modern doors so ugly? I want such details on my doors too!
I greatly enjoyed walking around the cathedral and seeing the park and the chapel near it, even in the evening. Then we went to the Mikluš museum or Miklušova väznica, wanting to get there in time, according to the opening hours I found on the internet. And it was already closed. We missed it for about 45 minutes. I seriously advise you to write them an email next time, I'm writing here now and officially: they are opened from 9h to 16h (last entrance), but write them an email just in case.
The problem my BF now had all of the sudden was me being in a seriously bad mood. You don't want me in my bad mood. Seriously, just turn around and walk away. I hated myself for it, because I know how annoying I am when moody and I wanted to turn it off but couldn't, I wanted to see the Mikluš museum and I knew the next day we're already heading for the castles and we will not be able to pull this off. I was in such a bad mood I didn't even want to go shoe shopping (as he tried to suggest to cheer me up). That's usually quite alarming. Of course after some time he did something incredibly cute as he usually does and I started laughing like crazy and so my bad mood passed. I really love him for that. We walked through entire Košice, going through the park and later on stopping at a cool bar that played Iron Maiden so loud we could hear it on the street. FTW! The beer was good and so was the cappuccino and so the day ended well. Btw, another thing I noticed. Punk isn't dead. It just moved to Košice! It was surprising how many punks are in Košice, I guess it's the main subculture there, or so it seemed.
The next day we got up a little late, our travelling already showing on our energy and we started discussing how hectic the day would be if we wanted to catch two castles that both closed at 15 o'clock and a concert that started at 18 o'clock, all being a few hours drive from Košice. We decided to stay in Košice, visit the Mikluš museum and skip a castle, so we'd have more time on the other castle and be on time in Žilina (where the concert happened). I was actually quite happy I was able to see Košice in the daylight and visit the museum so it was a good plan. :) Few pictures from the museum, where all was awesome after a few complications in the beginning.
The executer's swords. They chopped heads with these! Ugh!
As for doors, so for the keys. Can we please bring back the beautiful large, carved keys they used to have? Why the modern ugliness?
Upper and picture below show the prisoners were hardly comfortable. Middle Ages really excelled at torture.
The only picture I'm showing from the basement, so-called "interrogation room", for I do not know how sensitive your are about these things. Basically a torture room, with a gloomy feeling as you walk down the wonky stairs and a presentation of one of the torture devices with the wax dolls. Middle Ages really didn't care about resocialization, no sir. Still, a totally interesting insight. You can probably get a pretty good idea what these spikes below were for.
It was an awesome tour, really. We had the mic with english guide for every room in the museum and the tour lasted for almost an hour and a half. The entrance fee is also stinkingly cheap (3€ for both of us, I had student discount), so I really do recommend the visit, if you're into this sort of things. There is also a good video and an awesome model about and of the middle-age Košice, but I've already posted way too many pictures.
It turned out to be an awesome idea to stay and Košice are now one of my favourite places in Europe. I have to visit them again, really. After Košice we went to the Spiš Castle, but that beauty deserves an entire post for itself.
Tell me, please, do you find these kind of posts interesting? Are they too long? Any comment on the city itself? :)
Thank you for reading!