Category: Slovakia

Esztergom, Hungary

On The Banks Of The Danube In Slovakia
Crossing The Danube By HGV Ferry

We were a bit puzzled when our Garmin satnav brought us to an HGV ferry crossing the River Danube, the border between Slovakia and Hungary.  Our map showed there was a bridge further along the river but the satnav kept sending us back to the ferry – so we decided to take the ferry.

It turned out that the bridge had been totally destroyed by the Germans at the end of the war and the replacement bridge was designed to take vehicles weighing less than 3.5 tons – which was exactly the weight of our camper that we had plumbed into the Garmin.  Of course, we soon realised that the bridge would have easily taken the weight of our vehicle and we should have overridden the satnav’s guidance, saving ourselves €30 – Duh!  Anyway we did enjoy the ferry ride and we also enjoyed the banter with the ferry men who probably thought we were quite mad to be using their service.

Our camp site was close to the historic city of Esztergom on the banks of the Danube.  The weather was hot 31° but thunder storms threatened.  We ate supper overlooking the river – a couple of beers, a decent meal plus a bottle of wine – £25.

Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Adalbert

We cycled the short distance into Esztergom to visit the stunning cathedral built on a hill overlooking the city.  It was beautiful inside the Basilica and we even (nearly) managed to climb the three long flights of ever narrowing spiral steps bringing us into the cupola to give us an all round view of the city, including the bridge that refused us access!

The Lightweight Bridge
Esztergom Centre


Esztergom Centre


Heading South To Slovakia


Overnight At Katowice, Poland

We spent two more nights in Poland at Katowice (sounds like Katto-veecher).  We had an excellent (expensive) meal in a restaurant opposite, overlooking the river.

Restaurant Overlooking River Vah, Katowice
River Vah

The drive the following day took us out of Poland, briefly into the Czech Republic and then into Slovakia.  Czechoslovakia had been under Russian rule since 1945 and the Communist programme of bringing industry under state control brought the country to total economic failure by the 1960s.  In the years following the collapse of Communism, Czechoslovakia peacefully transformed into two separate nations.  They joined the EU in 2004 and currently receive a net annual income from the EU of €2 billion.

We drove through Slovakia, our route taking us west of the Carpathian Mountains.  We enjoyed beautiful rural scenes of small allotments and fields of wheat, maize, rape and linseed.  The hilly countryside was lush and green and villages we passed through were charming although the larger towns still bore the marks of Communism.

“Butlin’s Holiday Camp” At Trenčin
The Weather Was Hot!

We stopped overnight at Trenčin and walked into town for dinner.  Everyone was exceedingly friendly and the lingua franca was English.  We found a fairly upmarket restaurant – food served on slate plates by uniformed waiters (starting with amuse bouches).  Two courses with a bottle of chilled rosé wine cost £60.