Thursday, August 23, 2001

Well, hmm, yes. It was supposed to be Bratislava we were going to yesterday, but there turned out a slight change of plan. We were waiting for the Brno to Bratislava bus, a two hour wait, and as I waited I idly flicked through the Lonely Planet guide, which came in useful for the first time in its existence. It mentioned a town called Trenèin, in north Slovakia, of about 50000 people. Just smaller than Inverness then. However, what really jumped out at me was that there was an island in the town, within the river that flowed through it, and on this island was camping facilities. Plus a big castle. Camping on an island in a river under a big castle. A few quick enquiries later and it was found the Brno to Trenèin bus was a mere 30 minutes away - the decision was made. To Trenèin it was.

So apologies to all those who saw I was intending to go to Bratislava and went there to meet me. I'm sure there were a great many of you.

So Trenèin, as it turns out, is pretty cool. Forget about the fact that these damn Slovak foreigners can't speak a damn word of English, the castle truly is tremendous and the whole place has a nice chilled atmosphere. The town appears entirely dominated by two things. The castle is the obvious first, it absolutely towers over the town, mounted on a giant rock a bit like Edinburgh castle, and can be seen from anywhere. Well, anywhere within Trenèin. Obviously in the Shetland islands you're not going to be able to see the thing. The second thing is the massive sports complex, with two outdoor swimming pools, a very large sports centre, a football (and other sports?) stadium which has awesomely gigantic floodlights that look like they're made of concrete, and various other sports stuff. Apart from these two dominating landmarks, there's a very pretty centre of town, which is pedestrianised and has a very laid back feel.

It also had a supermarket with 10p chocolate. 10p dude! I'm so happy in this backward part of the world. And vodka, a big bottle, for 3 quid. Man. I haven't boguht the vodka yet, but I can see that drunken night ahead already. I did buy heaps of sweet stuff, it was all so cheap, although one particular item - a heap of sugar-type sticks - was two months out of date. Hey you manky Slovaks, I'm going to sue.

Nah, the Slovaks have mostly been pretty decent. Not as surly as the Czechs but, conversely, the mullets have been very poor. Only a couple of decent mullets. It's better than Heidelberg, but nowhere remotely close to the joy that was Prague. I can't imagine ever seeing so many mullets again in my life. I saw TWO whole benchfuls of mullets there at one point - all sorts of styles and varieties, including two females. Prague, I bow down to you.

Yeah, so camping last night on the island, and again tonight, before getting an early bus to Kosièe. 9am it is, and it's 7 hours. Yikes. Just pray I'm not stuck next to a guy smelling of sweetcorn again.

Yeah, slightly odd night last night. Me and Simon had gone to sleep in the tent, and were woken up by the sound of some very loud and very drunk Slovak girls who were staying in a nearby cabin. They were making a hell of a racket - in the joyous days of Communist rule they'd have been shot within seconds. Alas, drunk tarts are allowed to thrive in democracies and they were making one serious hell of a noise - you could hear all the surrounding tents and cabins grumbling. And one of the drunk tarts even tried to break into our tent. First of all she stumbled over the ropes, then unzipped part of the outer tent and was trying to find how to get into the inner layer when Simon leant forward and yelled something you would not expect to hear from the son of a minister, and the drunk tart screamed and ran away.

Looking back, it's quite obvious she saw me earlier in the day and after a few drinks, just needed a bit more. Oh well, girls will be girls.

On a slightly related note, I bought sweets yesterday called "Sweet Love"

Ok, so plans are for tonight in Trenèin, then a long bus to Kosièe tomorrow. However, we've realised plans are liable to change at a whim, so expect your next post from Beijing.

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