Slovakia

28 06 2014

After spending the night in Brno the following day started with two really great caches on the outskirts of the city that put me in a really good mood. I am starting to get a little tired with micros unless they take me to an interesting place. Finding creative caches give me much more enjoyment.

We drove south from Brno towards Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. The last time I was there was either in the late eighties or early nineties and I remember the journey mostly for having to get off the bus at the Austrian / Czechoslovakia border as it then was and having to change money. The catch was that it was a non-reconvertible currency so you were stuck with it unless you could spend it all. But, that’s another story. Today there are no noticeable borders with the Czech Republic or Austria that I could see, other than the old buildings at the Slovakian / Austrian border where I had to change my money.

However, before we reached Bratislava I had localized an earthcache that I wanted to stop at and that gave me a great excuse to get off the terrible D1 motorway. It is a concrete slab motorway and each of the joins shook and rattled the car. Kerdunk, kerdunk, kerdunk. Monotonously, mile after mile. It was really bad but once we crossed over the virtually non-evident border into Slovakia the motorway became smooth asphalt.

We found the right exit off the motorway and shortly after arrived at the earthcache Artesian aquifer. There was an older guy there filling a water bottle. As the bonnet of his car was up I wasn’t sure if the water was for him or his radiator. He greeted me, assumably in Slovakian, but just waved when I answered in English. He left and I was able to do the measurements, take photos and taste the water, as required in the earthcache description. It was potable but I wouldn’t like to rely on it as my sole source of water.

ds8300 in front of the artesian aquifer earthcache

ds8300 in front of the artesian aquifer earthcache

From there we continued on and I stopped at the first traditional cache we came across, a micro in a parking lot, to ensure that we were able to log a find in the country. For all I know my earthcache answers could have been rejected and I could have wasted a new geocaching country opportunity. I was also uncertain about where in Bratislava we would find an interesting cache. Things weren’t as bad I was expecting though and we were able to drive into and around Bratislava with relative ease although their parking system is rather unusual. There are no parking meters but you have to display a ticket showing arrival date and time. Each ticket has a time duration and different values are used. However, to buy one you need to find a physical parking attendant who wanders around. We didn’t see one where we parked but a motorist I spoke to kindly gave me a couple of tickets from a pile he had in his car.

After that we saw parking attendants on just about every street corner on our walk across town from our parking spot close to (Modry) Kostol sv. Alzbety to Hradna vyhliadka (View from castle).

The cache at the church was placed in plain sight but of little interest for anyone but a geocacher. The church was, well, very blue. Both inside and out.

I have never seen a church like this - really blue.

I have never seen a church like this – really blue.

Deatils of the blue churches tower

Deatils of the blue churches tower

Even the inside of the church was blue

Even the inside of the church was blue

We walked along the banks of the Danube towards the castle then took the steep winding path up to the top passing by the more or less obligatory grafitti on the way. I didn’t know where the cruise boats were heading but subsequently learnt that there were cruises from Amsterdam to Bucharest and all combinations of destinations in between.

One of several tourist cruise boats that we saw on the river

One of several tourist cruise boats that we saw on the river

The Danube runs across Europe from Germany to the Black Sea. (Picture BBC)

The Danube runs across Europe from Germany to the Black Sea

Of course we passed grafitti on our walk across town

Of course we passed grafitti on our walk across town

The cache was quickly found. It was a regular in the hollow trunk of a tree in a high muggle area. Luckily all the muggles were enjoying the view over the city.

Cache on the parapet with a view over Bratislava

Cache on the parapet with a view over Bratislava

View of the Danube from the castle

View of the Danube from the castle

As my partner had arranged with some old Austrian friends to meet up with them at four pm the same day we didn’t have time to stay any longer. We then drove on to the centre of Vienna and checked in to the hotel before meeting up with her friends. Of course, during the couple of days we stayed there we found some caches, but more on that later.

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