Day 32 - Visiting Spis Castle
|Omelette for breakfast|
It's a grey morning and the castle is shrouded in the mist. We have an omelette breakfast and are on our way by 9am. We have learned to visit tourist attractions early, especially on a Sunday.
To allow the sun to burn away the mist we first visit Spisske Kapitula, a catholic chapter a kilometre outside the village on the opposite side of the valley to the castle. It is a walled enclave dating from the 13th century enclosing St Martin's Cathedral and a quaint street of gothic houses. Sadly the cathedral is locked so we cannot see inside.
|St Martin's Cathedral|
Now the day is heating up and the castle is revealed. We ride up the single track road to the car park and change into lighter attire. It's still quite a hike up to the outer gate and into the castle.
Entrance cost is €5 (€4 for the old git) and is the best four quid's worth so far on this tour. The climbing continues up to the most intact part of the castle, the main keep.
|Climbing up the high tower|
|Mick on the high tower|
|High Tower selfie - wow it's hot!|
Sadly a massive fire devastated the castle in the 18th century, so much of it is in ruins.
We continue climbing up very narrow stairway tunnels onto the top of the tower. The views are phenomenal from up here.
|In the museum|
|The village down below|
|View from the tower|
|The cast take a bow|
Next back down to the main keep and the cafe and souvenir complex, quite tasteful and unrestrained for this part of the world. They obviously don't allow the gypsy traders in here.
After coffee and ice lollies I take a walk round the vast walls of the lower castle. It is sweltering and Mick opts for a rest in the shade of the wall while I sweat it out getting the photographs.
|On the castle wall|
|Stage for opera|
|Dominates the landscape|
|Girl and castle|
We have spent a good three hours wandering around this fantastic castle. It's now 1pm and time to get moving.
Back on the bikes we are now heading for the Pieniny National Park. This is an area around the Dunajec Gorge where a fast flowing river cuts through 500 metre high sheer cliffs. In the summer the big attraction is river rafting through the gorge. There are dozens of narrow rafts running from Cerveny Klastor to Chata Pieniny. The trip takes about 90 minutes, and looks a bit wet.
|River rafts at the head of the gorge|
We ride up and over to Chata Pieniny on a lovely road over a small pass the mountains of the High Tatra range loom ahead of us.
We decide not to stay here and double back over the pass to Cerveny Klastor and find lodgings in the Hotel Pltnik (thanks Lonely Planet).
The room is cheerful and well equipped. It's been a long hot day and we are fast asleep by 10pm.
Tomorrow we head into and out of Poland to see the Polish side of the High Tatras.