16 May 2013

Castle Budatin

to Poprad by train
Walk around town
Menu experiment

Today we had to go check out the local castle.  It is on the other side of the river.  You would not think that this was a problem, but looking at the path we had to walk to get there we thought we could have a problem.  It was a long circulous route that took us to the bridge easily, but after that we had to walk for miles,under and over free ways and railway lines.

Setting out, we discovered it was not too bad.  Although the walk from our pension to down town was quite a way, we were already used to it by now.  Skipping down town itself, we followed the main road, until we came to an underpass.  This was quite sad.  Underpasses are supposed to be full of information.  What gangs are in the area, tags of bored people, half decent graffiti of others and posters of what is happening in the city.  There was a line of posters on each wall, but they were all for the same thing, and were from 2011!  No one had even bothered to tag over them.  Sad.  And I don’t even like tagging!P20postpano1

No escape possible

No escape possible

Coming out the other side, there is a small green patch that leads to the river.  Following this to the one and only bridge in town, we saw a massive construction.  It loomed above us, and the scale is very impressive.  We have no idea on what it was fore.  If you could imagine a mutated watch tower with satellite dishes and radio antennas dripping off it you would be half way there.  Add room for a battalion of tanks and you have the size of the viewing platform.  The hight of thee Empire state building or the Eiffel tower and concrete slabs in all directions to give it a star wars feel.

Crossing the bridge and we started our walk.  The good thing is that every town likes their statues.  There was something to look at occasionally.  Horses and riders looming up into the sky, flanked by marble cased pillars,just as you go down through an underpass, or an obscure war memorial, almost overgrown on the side of the road.  Either way, they are there.P21postpano2

Other than that, the only interesting thing on that very long walk was the overpass for the railway line.  They had put up barriers so people could not climb up and jump down onto the passing trains.  That was a bit annoying, but I am sure that is is necessary, especially as we had the same wish after walking all that way.  Still, the view opened up over the valley that was perpendicular to the river.  There were even grassy fields visible in the distance.  It was pretty nice.  Considering we were on a town.  Well, it was green!

What is looks like now..

What is looks like now..

Moving on, we finally made it to the castle itself.  Now, what is the expression?  It is not the destination that is important, it is the journey.  If that is true we accomplished something today, as the journey was long and not that interesting.  The destination however was under repairs!  We could not go in to see anything.  There were fence lines everywhere with cranes and scaffolding blocking most views.  However there was a nice grassy park around the complex of buildings.  It also does not qualify as a castle for me.  There are no extensive fortifications, and is basically an 18th century mansion with a nice tower.

What it will look like again.

What it will look like again.

Yes, there were probably military units based here to help collect the taxes of riverboats, and protect the area, but the military can come stay in my stables.  It does not make them a castle!  All in all it is a bit disappointing at the moment.  After the renovations are complete, who knows?  To make the trip worth while, we walked around the grass and trees.  There was one famous one, for some reason or another (some one important must have sat under it at some stage) and a replica of one of the wooden rafts used in the area and that was it.  A nice place to hang out if you are local, but honestly.  IT is NOT, I repeat, NOT a tourist attraction!  Now we have to go all the way home.

Stuff going the long way, we found the dead end street that went up to the railway lines and, after a quick look, crossed there.  It was not a problem, many people must do the same to wear down the path we were following.  This did lead to a string of jokes about Belgians and railway lines, but if you haven’t read Jordan, you would miss the joke, so I am leaving them out.  Needless to say that cut an hour or more off our return trip.


Comfy but slow, yet they run on time!

Comfy but slow, yet they run on time!

Another train the next day to Poprad.  I wish that the stations were clearly marked, as it can be quite a problem working out where you are if you don’t speak the language.
Still there were no problems.  We found a hotel easily, and it turned out to be the local body building place as well, so you had all these beefed up, pumped up guys wandering in and out to use the gym.  It is a very popular thing in Slovakia to have your vitamins and beefcake mix.  Too many people exercising every muscle in their body except their brains.  I only say this as it looks as if a lot of these people could be on steroids, and that shows they don’t use their brains!



It's in Poprad!

It’s in Poprad!

We had a look around town.  It is very pretty, with a stream to one side of the town centre.  Then two streets parallel to each other.  Being fairly hungry by now, we stopped into one of the cafe’s and tried the lunch menu.  We have seen these advertised all over the place, and tried them in other countries, but this would be the first in Hungary.  It turned out rather well.  Soup and main.  Considering that the staff couldn’t translate that well, we took pot luck.  A thick creamy broccoli soup, as well as a chicken noodle soup to start.  We thought that was it, but then came out the chicken dish and an Asparagus pancake.  Both were pretty good,so we will endeavour to try more menus in the future!



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