25 April 2009

Likavka Castle

Landscapes like this are why I came to Slovakia.  In addition to the beer and the people.

So this castle is a place that you can see from all over the area around Ružomberok, and a place that I've wanted to go to for months.  Like so many places in Slovakia, there's a well-marked trail to help you more efficiently and effectively reach your goal, but in a rather comical way, we ignored it:
Self (in not-good-enough Slovak): Perhaps we should follow those white flags?
Others: Let's go straight / in this other direction (even though we haven't a clue)!
So we went up an obviously improvised path that involved scrambling up a quite steep hill, though it was obvious that many had gone before us.  Which elicited the following:
Others: See what we're willing to do for you, Maria?
Self: Meh, you're Slovaks, this isn't that far, so kindly refrain from complaining!
When we got to the top, we saw where in fact we had erred and that there was in fact a real trail, which we took on the way back.

Aerial Google satellite view of the castle.

The castle wasn't yet open to the public -- it's only open in June, July and August, but we walked around it and it was so amazing, because it is kind of perched on a huge, bare rock.  Along the one side, we kind of mountain-goated along a narrow trail and on the south-facing side, the wall is more undulating than Borromini could have done:
We couldn't walk completely around because it was quite steep, but ohhh was it cool -- much bigger than it looks, also perhaps.

So in addition, there were some special flowers collected that will be dried and used later for tea.  In Vlkolínec we collected coltsfoot, I'll have to ask again what the flowers were in Likavka, because I can't remember and it would be interesting to know.  You totally have to grow up with such things, and it's so important that this information be passed on, because I think it leads to a more valued relationship with nature.

After, we went to a (the) krčma in Valaská Dubová (which is gorgeously situated, by the way) where the famous brigand Juraj Jánošík was supposedly caught, which is quite possible except that in certain places in Slovakia, that Jánošík drank/was caught somewhere has the same connotation as George Washington/Napoleon slept somewhere.  But it was totally cool.

The nature around Ružomberok really is its greatest asset.

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