Okay, folks. Here’s how this blog series is going to run: I did a lot over the last two weeks, and I didn’t get the chance to blog about it (since I was too busy having fun). However, I thought it might be nice to be able to write about it, and share some pics with you at the same time. (I took about 900 pictures in 2 weeks. You gotta love digital photography.) I might interrupt the series from time to time, if there’s something else I feel like discussing, but for now, we’ll stick to the game plan. Since I’ve already talked about Vienna, I’m jumping ahead on my vacation, straight to my first full day in Slovakia: July 12.
Did I mention I got sick on my vacation? Because I did. Never pass up an opportunity to get really ill. That’s my motto. Denisa and I had just gotten back from Vienna, and I spent the first day in Slovakia in bed asleep. She had a visit with some of her high school friends arranged in Trencin that evening, however. And there was a problem: she needed a ride to town. We were borrowing her mom’s car, and it’s a manual transmission, which Denisa has trouble driving. I had to get out of bed to remind myself how to drive stick. (The last time I drove stick being three years ago, when I was in Slovakia before). It turned out that driving stick was much easier for me to remember than how to ride a bike (long story there–I can explain if you want to know.) So having successfully shifted into first, up to second and third a few times, Denisa, the kids and I piled into the car and off we went.
We parked outside of the city center and walked in, at which point Denisa went to reunion-ize, and I checked out some of downtown with the kids, taking some pics of places where scenes in Vodnik occur. First, the castle:
An alley where Tomas has a meeting with some characters that leave a lasting impression on him:
The Well of Love:
(And a close up of the kids, to keep the fam happy):
As well as the Vodnik statue from downtown:
The city pool from above:
And a view from the castle walls:
Plus, a pick of the kids with a cannon. Because cannons are cool:
Meeting my brother in law is always exciting, and he took me and the kids for a tour through downtown Trencin (after he let us wander the castle grounds after it was closed to the public. Love having that backstage pass).
Has Trencin changed in the last three years? Certainly. It doesn’t help that the town is seriously short on money. They started a big project to build an underground parking lot, but ran out of funds halfway through. Now, they’re left with a big hole in the ground where one of their squares used to be. In my wildest dreams, Vodnik sells like hotcakes, bringing a flood of tourists to Trencin to check out the city. It really is an awesome place, with one of the best castles I’ve ever been to–particularly noteworthy because the castle is authentic, large and an inherent part of the town.
Of course, there are signs of growth, as well. The main hotel downtown is getting gutted, with hopes of making it more modern and tourist-friendly. There are quite a few new stores (mainly clothes and restaurants), and the downtown seems to be doing well, more or less. (Having just come from Vienna, I was again impressed with just how inexpensive Trencin is. The best way to illustrate this? Ice cream in Vienna was 1 euro a scoop. In Trencin it was .3 euros. Nice.) This was now my fourth trip to the city, and it really is becoming a place I feel I know well.
It’s an interesting experience, being able to walk through the areas where parts of my book happen. When writing Vodnik, I made a special effort to have it all happen in real places, basing much of it on actual legends from Trencin. I think it helped make the book as good as it could be. I took some more pics on a different day–those will be posted in time.
Anyway–I’m out of time for today. Work beckons.