Tuesday, 29 November 2011
Road trip moments: Spiš Castle, Slovakia
Hey guys! Thank you for your response to the giveaway, I'm really really happy you like it. :) Someone asked me what the green base for Waking up in Vegas is on that picture - it's Essie School of Hard Rocks, here's my post on it. :)
Today I continue with my road trip moments. We left Košice and continued up to the northern Slovakia for this beauty. I think we planned the whole trip around it at the back of our minds. Spiš castle, or as Slovacs call it Spišský hrad. I've already shown you castles on my blog and so regular readers already know how much I adore castles, as long as they don't look too modern or baroque. They are my great love, if I get the chance to visit one, you can be sure you'll meet me there. I'm lucky enough to live in a country full of castles, I even camped for a week at one once (still remaining one of my all time favourite castles in the world, Rihemberk castle near Branik or Ajdovščina if that makes it easier for orientation) ... in short, castles are my thing.
Spiš castle is ... unbelievable. It was really foggy that day and so we were worried a bit how everything will turn out and when will we actually spot it. The thing is, you don't really get it how huge this monster is until you actually see it with your own eyes. Monster is a pet name and I mean it as a compliment. The castle is enormous, it's like the mother of all castles. It's also a part of UNESCO heritage, I'm glad about that, since that usually means someone will keep an eye on it.
We were visiting it off main season and they warned us in the email (they do reply, thumbs up!) that in case of snow and ice the castle will be closed and that there are no guided tours in November. So I held my fingers crossed the weather will endure and it did. Mind you, it was cold as hell, but dry. We understood the moment we started walking up to the castle why they close everything when there's snow. Don't even try to reach it with ice and snow on the land, you'll break your leg, seriously.
When you come in a very sweet lady welcomes you - we spoke in German, in general I think Slovak people find it easier to communicate in German. A pleasant surprise: we got the mic guide for entire castle (they have it in English and German). The guide itself is very well made. It explains the history of every point/part of castle you visit and there is usually an extra explanation or story/legend with pushing the red button, if you want to hear more about anything. Yay! I LOVE to hear more about what I see, so we gladly took the mic and went discovering.
Again, some pictures, I held back, trust me. Maybe you should enlarge them, they look really tiny as I type the entry.
This is how it looks from far away. Really far away. The picture is not blurry, it's really foggy. ;)
You can see by the main tower we're getting closer to the castle hill here and yet we're still not under the castle. It's already so huge I cannot capture it entirely.
A picture shot from the battlement, one of the crenel anyway. You could see entire village from the hill. Or we could, if the fog would rise.
The orange signs were the guide stops. :)
I found the location of this cannon very amusing. You bearly notice it, we stood on that spot for a couple of minutes before I looked right and noticed it. It seemed to me like it was trying to fit in the wall like "just standing here, minding my own business, lalala". Eh, I'm weird sometimes.
The really REALLY narrow staircase up the tower.
Two pictures from the top of the tower. On the second you can catch a glimpse of the forest near the castle (on the other side of the parking place), it was SO gorgeous, covered with rime and with the autumn colours still peeking through the whitness.
Another one from the crenel ... yeah, I liked the photo idea. ;)
My mani, with the part of the castle in the background. I thought Misa Toxic Seduction rocks hard enough to visit the coolest castle in Slovakia. :) The reflection on my nails is so clear I can see us in my nails, lol.
The whole tour lasted for about an hour and a half, with us stopping quite a lot to enjoy the view and the castle itself. I love the microphone guides since they allow you to discover the place at your own speed. The castle wasn't too crowded, which was a major plus too. And the entrance fee is stinkingly cheap, we payed 5 € for both of us (again me with the student discount), but maybe it gets higher in the season (May-October, if I'm not mistaken). The only thing I regreted was that the souvenir shop was closed. I really wanted to buy something about the castle. Bummer. Well, it's an excuse to go there again! Quite close to Spiš castle is also Drevenik with stone caves and awesome flora, and we'd love to see that sometimes in the Spring. Why not stop again at Spiš castle then too? ;)
Any castle lovers out there? Do recommend them, the more the better! All I can say is, if you're in Slovakia, make plans for Spiš castle too. You won't regret it.
Thank you for reading!