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.
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.
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.