Date: September 2019 Duration: 2 days Distance: 380km
It’s the third country today and I’m not really sure where I want to go. As part of my pre-trip planning I highlight interesting places, towns and cities on the map based on guide books and online sources.
I have a few towns nearby that are marked as interesting. The first one appears dead. I arrive and the main hotel is shut also the streets are almost deserted. I decide to ride-on.
Eventually I end up on the outskirts of Košice. I pull over and get out my mobile phone. As I now have roaming data, I use booking.com to search for nearby hotels. I do not book anything but just program the address into my SatNav. I know now that they have availablity but I will take a look at the place first.
As it happens, I am staying in the same building as the German Consulate. The hotel and the consulate share an entrance and car park.
Košice is a good find. The city was founded in the 13th century and retains a lot of old architecture centered around the main street, which is a pedestrianised area with a cathedral at its heart.
The weather is still warm, providing another great opportunity to have dinner sat outside in one of the numerous restaurants in view of the cathedral on a balmy evening.
The next day is my first proper wet day of the tour. There’s light rain as I leave Košice and riding through the forest there’s a lot of mist which I eventually ascend above.
My rough plan for the next few days allows me to have another night in Slovenia, two nights in Czech and then my final evening in Dresden before I return home. That gives me all day to have a gentle ride to the western part of the country, enabling me to stick to the more interesting backroads.
I cut straight through the damp quiet forests and stop in Spišské Podhradie for a short break, below the famous castle.
Slovenia, like many countries in the EU has obviously experienced a great deal of investment in its infrastructure. There is now an east/west motorway which runs parallel with the old road. The presence of the motorway means that there is very little traffic on the old road, which I use.
I stop for a surprisingly tasty lunch at a rundown looking roadside restaurant. Right now it’s dry and I have the town of Žilina in my sights.
I carry on following the old highway, parallel to the motorway. Within an hour of Žilina the rain resumes, only this time much heavier than this morning. The early evening traffic grinds to a halt and my boots slowly fill with water.
It is over an hour until I pull-up in Hotel Slovakia, fortunately in a covered car park. The hotel reception is very modern, but the very low cost of the rooms is explained by the fact the rooms do not look like they have been refurbished since the communist era.
My boots and gloves are soaked. Even my wallet is soaked, and I have to remove each note individually to let them dry. The helmet video camera has stopped working, there appears to be water in the unit.
It’s a short walk to the central square, which fortunately is covered along its four sides. Food and beer is easily found, something which I feel very grateful for.
From Žilina it’s a short trip to Czech, on a small road over a mountain. The wet weather has passed and I’m wearing my summer gloves, as the supposedly waterproof autumn gloves are strapped to the pillion seat to dry out.