End of August 2021, I am on the road, to Berlin via Slovakia and Poland. My route: Munich, in Slovakia: Bratislava – Trnava – Nitra – Žilina – Strečno and Terchová – Dolny Kubin, then in Poland: Wilkowisko – Cracow – Szklarska Poręba – Wroclaw, and finally Berlin.
It is raining, when I leave “my” Central Hotel at Žilina after a quiet night. I am heading north-east to the Mala Fatra mountains. After a few kilometers, I notice a signboard pointing to Strečno. I turn right and follow the signs.
The mysterious Strečno castle in the mist
After some more kilometers another signpost points upwards and says: “panoramic view of the Strečno castle“. A narrow road takes me up into the hills. I reach a large parking area, leave my car here, walk to the panoramic view point and here it is, the Strečno castle surrounded by mist.
The fortification is located 12km east of Žilina and was first mentioned in 1316. To beat the resistance of the locals, the Habsburgian emperor Leopold I destroyed Strečno in 1698. It was reconstructed after 1990 and opened as a museum in 1995.
The Strečno castle sits on a steep cliff above the river Vah…
… and the village.
The viewpoint has been carefully set up…
… with a small restaurant, where I have a coffee break.
Kids must love this place with all the kitschy stuff and the playgrounds.
There is even a (plastic) cow on a rusty van. Well, I imagine crowds of families with kids spending a Saturday or a Sunday afternoon here.
After this wonderful break, I continue my way to Terchová.
Pozor – zebra na ceste
Pozor means “watch out” and “na ceste” means “on the road”.
Well, there is not exactly a “zebra” here. Just a pedestrian crossing. I do like this Slovakian humour.
Nearby is this small hotel. I admire the adventurous cabling.
Terchová – a mountain resort that venerates Jánošik born here
Juraj Jánošik was the Robin Hood of Slovakia (he is also venerated in Poland). The museum tells his story.
Born in 1688, he participated in insurrections. When his father was killed by Habsburgian tax collectors for not having paid his taxes in time, Jánošik started to rob noblemen and merchants distributing the goods to the poor. He is said never to have applied violence. He was arrested and executed in 1711, though a good lawyer defended him claiming that he had never committed a murder and was driven by the wish to help the poor in the mountains (Müller, p. 220).
Terchová is a mountain resort that invites to hike in the area, even in the rain.
A wooden lookout is located above the village.
I return to my car and continue my way to Dolny Kubin.
Crossing the Mala Fatra
To cross the mountain range of the Mala Fatra, my car has to climb up to a pass. I look back, where Terchová is located between green meadows and soft hills.
Then I look westwards in the direction of Dolny Kubin.
I understand that touching…
… this wonderful stone will bring me luck. I do wish to continue my tour safely and to enjoy wonderful days with my friends in Poland.
The nearby farm invites children to meet their animals. Nice.
The Mala Fatra seems to be a welcoming region inviting to relax and hike following the tracks of Jánošik, the local Robin Hood.
To recapitulate: This is my route through Slovakia
Today, I drive from Žilina to Dolny Kubin with two stop overs to see the castle Strečno and Jánošik’s village Terchová.
- André Micklitza, ” Slowakei”, Michael Müller Verlag 2019
- Frieder Monzer, “Slowakei”, Trescher Verlag 2018