August 30th/31st Slovakia

August 30th, 2015

The plan was to get up and check out the castle that was near the accommodation, then hurry to the next castle so we could catch the only English guided tour of the day.  The castle road was closed and would have been quite a long climb up so we made the executive decision that the next castle with the tour would be more worth while.   I think we made a great decision!   The Orava castle was massive, dates back to the 13th century and the guide was very good!

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The View!
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Part of the castle, from about 1/2 way to the top.
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Had to take a picture of this fellow, because he bears the last name as the town I went to high school in. The Esterhazy family was very rich and influential in Hungary, however the fellow that my town was named after was baptised Johannes Packh. He later changed his name to Count Paul Oscar Esterhazy. He was an immigration agent, who, in 1886, settled south of the present town of Esterhazy, in Saskatchewan, Canada with 35 Hungarian families from the vicinity of Kaposvár. His claim to the Esterházy name was never recognized by the Esterházy family, although he claimed he had undeniable proof of the legality of his claim and of birthright.
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Each of the chairs had the coat of arms of the Different aristrocratic families. This is the one of the Esterhazy Family.
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A typical heating system and hand painted walls
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View form the top over looking the courtyard we entered.
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Incredible view from over 500 stairs up!
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The Canon is said to have taken 20 min to load
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The doorways are all quite short as at the time the average man was just 160 cm which is about 5’2″
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The courtyard entrance
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The entrance to the castle
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An old horse carriage. Me with Ludmila and her Dad
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The castle as seen from the town.

We then headed to another historical village called Vlkolinec, which was in a stunning location in the hills.

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From the village looking out to the hills and the access road.
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Typical wooden village homes. 16 families still call the village home.
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Traditional dress. I wonder what the little ones cut is! 😉
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roof construction/supports was much different then I’ve ever seen.

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We also stopped for lunch at a restaurant where the famed Janosik was reportedly caught.   The story is that this fellow went off to law school and when he returned he noticed how poorly his people were treated by the king, working tirelessly and being taxed all the time.  He started to steal from the King and give it all to the poor.  He did not keep any for himself which sets him a part from our Robin hood stories.  He was eventually caught because a ‘friend’ turned his location in.  He was tortured and given a slow and painful death and hung up in the street by hooks as a warning to the people to never try this again.   His real friends though stole him in the night to give him a proper burial. Not all Slovak legends are hero’s though: I was also told of Elizabeth Bathory,  I won’t go into the gory details but her Wikipedia page is here.  In Slovakia’s defence she was actually Hungarian and the location was ruled by Hungary at the time.

After a great 2 days, we headed back to Komarno to another amazing gesture from Ludmila’s mother!   She made Paprika Chicken for me!  This is a dish that my Grandmother made when I was a child.  Its been at least 15 years since I tasted it!  Speaking of food, I was able to try many traditional dishes while I was here, it was all really good and I’m afraid of what would happen if I lived here!   Some of the foods are:

– bryndzové halušky (bryndza cheese, dumplings)

– bryndzové pirohy (bryndza cheese filled pirohy)

– strapačky (cabbage, dumplings, bacon)

– kapustnica (cabbage soup)

– pörkölt (paprika chicken, dumplings) – somlói galuska (hungarian dessert)

– chestnut puree (dessert)

-bryndza = typical sheep cheese

Kofola = black soda drink made with apples

tvaroh = something like cottage cheese

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Paprika chicken and dumplings!
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– bryndzové halušky (bryndza cheese, dumplings) – bryndzové pirohy (bryndza cheese filled pirohy) – strapačky (cabbage, dumplings, bacon)

 

Later in the evening we went for a walk to the Hungarian Border which is the centre of the Danube river, and since both are members of the EU, there is no longer any customs offices used or an official border crossing.  Was still pretty neat to set foot in Hungary for the first time, since that is where my Dad’s side of the family immigrated from.

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Entering Hungary for the first time!
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Ludmila and her Dog Lea

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