In four visits to Slovakia this is possibly the fullest day I have ever spent here! We began the day with a bus ride to a ski area called Chata Vratna-Chleb. We rode gondolas to the chalet, and then hiked to the top of the mountain for the reward of stunning views of the Tatra Mountains and surrounding countryside. Even though the distance wasn’t terribly far, the steep, rocky terrain and gravelly trails, coupled with the slightly thinner air made it a challenge for me.
After our hike we ate a lunch of traditional Slovak foods at a nearby restaurant before continuing our trek to Orava Castle a little farther east. One of the hallmarks of this castle are the series of 663 steps from the entrance to the to the topmost room, not counting the steep cobblestone road leading up to the first door.
Following our castle tour we visited a historical wooden church built in the 18th century during a time when there were many restrictions on the building of non-Roman Catholic Churches. There we learned about church persecution during the communist regime. A painting of the old wooden church is to the right. We also had the pleasure of examining a 400 year old Czech Bible!
Our final stop was dinner, featuring traditional meats and vegetables. A lovely ending to the meal was the singing of Amazing Grace in English to the delight of our gracious Slovak hostess.
It was a pleasant ride home as we talked quietly of our experiences, looking forward to the good rest generally provided by such an active day.