Just a train ride or a great adventure?

Posted on March 23, 2012

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So the four hour train journey.  Just me with Jack Reacher, Lady Gaga, Neil Diamond, Joan Armatrading and others, for company.  That’s a book and an iPod, in case you were wondering.

The world’s nicest taxi driver collected me from my hotel, it said 0850 on my agenda, and he was there, smiling and helpful at 0848 – like clockwork.

We drove the short distance to the main train station in Bratislava, and immediately as I walked in, even without a word of Slovakian, I could work out where I needed to be and when.  As they say, simple.

The train arrived in plenty of time, and I boarded. First class, four hours after all, and only 25 euros – where else could you do that?  In my seat, and off we went, on time.

I soon settled down with Jack and Neil, but the views outside of the window were too distracting. Frozen lakes, summer houses, ancient castles, snow topped mountains, fast running rivers and majestic fir trees – and all the time the temperature on display told me that outside it was around 19 degrees. 

Another sunny day in Slovakia, in March.

I tried to capture the journey, the sights and the emotions, but I felt that I needed a commentary on what I was seeing and experiencing.  I had thought that four hours would be long and, if I am honest, boring, but I was spellbound by the openness, the blue skies, the crispness – so much so, that I was soon in Poprad Tatry, my destination.

My first impression? Another friendly taxi driver, with no English, but a big smile and a warm welcome.

A (very) quick trip up the mountain and I arrived at the Grand Hotel, Smokovec.

All ready for the next two days in the Tatras Mountains.

But that’s another story.

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