Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Trippin’ – 20th-22nd June

Stop 3 - Velka Domasa, Slovakia & Stop 4 – Lublin, Poland

Slovakia had some of the most beautiful and dramatic scenery which mesmerised me as a gazed at it out of the car window (no, I have no photos – I was mesmerised, I told you). Mountains, forest, dramatic dark clouds and sunshine breaking through. Spectacular. The scene we were confronted with next however, was gut wrenching.

I was shocked by the poverty I saw in the village in Hungary where Gábor uses to work; poverty that I had never seen in Europe before but even that was paled by the full on shanty town we drove though when we left the mountains in Slovakia. It was comparable to those that I saw in India – but this is Europe! This is Schengen area! This is the bloody Euro zone which supposedly has strict economic criteria for joining! We had to stop the car; I couldn’t breath.  I made a note of the name of the town so that I will remember the people, remember the place and remember that poverty and suffering is not something that happens somewhere else or that you can take a break from. It is here in my home and here in the middle of my holiday.

One I had collected myself we drove on. We were heading to Velka Domasa, to the lakeside, to relax. We just spent the last week in Szeged, packing up our apartment, carrying all our stuff downstairs and loading it onto the truck, doing the moving out clean (Gábor spent 3 years as a cleaner, often cleaning apartments that had not been cleaned properly when people move out – he has very high standards), preparing for the trip and saying goodbye. We were exhausted and were looking forward to spending a couple of days by the lake recuperating.

We had checked out the area and it looked fairly nice (although our Slovak is pretty poor so we were just gauging by the pictures) and there were quite a few campsites marked on our map so we didn’t bother with finding a specific place we would just see when we got there...Well when we got there we found that he lake was a reservoir, the beach was clay and that the campsites were non-existent. Oh yeah, and it started raining as soon as we stopped the car. We found a little patch of grass with a view of the water, although we may have been trespassing but everywhere was closed so there was no one around to complain. We got our water canister filled at the bar a little way around the lake and Gábor stet off to find an ATM in the village to buy some milk for Ernest. There was no ATM (the closest one was 20km away) but a friendly bar tender gave us a couple of cartons of milk and some chocolate too. There is nothing ike the kindness of strangers to brighten your day. The sun coming out helps to brighten thing too.

Things went right back to being sucky though when I realised that the trusty little digital camera was no more(Farewell you were a good friend) and suckier still when I found that my SLR was broken too. The part that the lens screws into had broken off from the main body. I was completely cameraless. My photo challenge plan was utterly screwed. Oh, and it started to rain again.

Not the R&R we were hoping for so we decided to move on to Lubin in Poland in the morning.

Lubin we really had planed. We had found a perfect little campsite; lakeside again, forest, nature walks, just south of the city. Great for our resting place, one day chilling in the campsite and take a little walk and one day to explore the city. Great plan – but for some reason our great plans weren’t going to...well...plan. The campsite so longer existed. It had been turned into a car park. After a little bit of enquiring we found out there was another campsite on the other side of the lake but were told “it’s really bad”. We took this with a pinch of salt; we like simple sites (all we need is a spot where the nature is cared for and we can get clean water) and know that many people want a bit more than we do. But this place was really bad, it was dirty and dangerous. The grounds were set up for caravans but the only place they had to empty their “black water” tanks was the same place ay you got the drinking  water from. We had to sleep there that night though as it was too late in the day to find somewhere else.

We were getting more and more tired with each day that passed and we still hadn’t stopped to recover from the moving. We were too tired to drive on another stretch the next day so decided to stay in Lublin but sleep in the hostel in town and eat out rather than cook. We had a lovely day in Lublin, the old town is charming. It is a contender for the European culture capital for 2016 and they really are making a lot of effort to win it. And after sleeping in a bed we were a bit more rested and ready to move on to Bialowieska where we planed to stay in this perfect little forest campsite...

Gábor's posts about these days:

20th June -  Hungary to Slovakia
21st June - Crappy Campsite
22nd June - Lublin
22nd June - Lublin revised


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