Day 36 - A Ride Through the Low Tatras

Thursday 31 July 2014


A decision has been made. We are growing tired of getting soaked at some point every day here in the Tatras. We need warmer and dryer climes. We decide on one last ride through the Low Tatra region before turning south and west back to Austria.

The pension at Levoca is gloomy and damp. The bed linen is also damp and the beds rock hard. Time for a little luxury.

Penzion Stefanshof
The road through the Low Tatras restores our faith somewhat. Indeed this area is more beautiful than up high, with rolling hills, small passes and small farms between the villages. The sun is out now and we cheer up no end.

 We bypass the busy town of Banska Bystrica on a fast road and are soon climbing high into the Veľká Fatra range. It's a beautiful road, fast sweepers and hairpins, very new and grippy surface. 
The hotel pool


We drop down into a broad valley and take the road towards the Kremnica. In the tour research I had noted a lovely looking hotel, the Penzion Stefanshof. It lies just outside the town of Kremnica in the hills to the east.

 
 
On the hotel terrace in the sunshine

Elegant dining room
It is absolutely fabulous. We are greeted by the lovely Veronika and made to feel very welcome. Everything about the place is classy. Our suite of rooms is bright, clean and welcoming. The guest areas are filled with interesting objects and books describing the region.

Kremnica has been the centre of a gold and silver mining area since the 12th century.
In the14th century over 400 kg of gold was mined annually in Kremnica.

At it's height in the 18th century, 9,860 kilograms of gold and 113,222 kilograms of silver were mined in the mountains around here and there are dozens of abandoned mine workings.

Under the main house there is a cellar that has been artfully constructed to appear like an old mine, with a small rail wagon of ore and very realistic pit props. Here we are treated to a glass or two of 'Geist', a seriously strong (65%+) liquor made from pears.
 
The entrance to the 'gold mine'
Down in the mine


The lovely Veronica

We chat the evening away with two other guests, businessmen from Italy who also visit Belfast regularly.

 It's a touch of western class in 'The Golden Heart of Slovakia' as Kremnica is known.


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