We wake up with some clouded skies. When we are nearly finished packing the tent, our German neighbour comes over to check out the bikes and a chat. He is on his way back home and has some great tips about northern Slovakia and southern Poland. He also used to work in Ukraine so he is very interested to hear that we plan to travel there.
We aim for Ruzomberok to do some shopping again and then have breakfast in Vlkolinec. But that was not taking into account this little fellow…
Just outside Dolny Kubin, Jo’s rear starts to feel a bit wobbly. When I check it out it’s clearly flat. Bummer! We stop beside the road and out come the tools…
An hour and a half later, we are ready to get going again. Breakfast in Vlkolinec becomes lunch. It’s getting hot as well.
Vlkolinec is a nicely preserved village up in the mountains. It is also part of Unesco’s World Heritage, although we feel they splashed out a bit too much with all the heritage sites in this area. We have definitely seen more interesting and more authentic villages the past few years in the Balkans for example.
We park for free and after paying the photography fee of 5 euro, the old lady at the register offers to look after our helmets and vests.
We walk up hill and start looking for a nice picknick spot. Having missed breakfast we are both quite hungry by now.
The surrounding countryside is quite impressive and after a short walk, we find some nicely carved benches in the shade next to the playground.
After lunch, we walk further into the village and visit the local museum. It’s not really big, only 2 rooms, and it’s more a souvenir shop than a museum. The houses are nice though.
The second museum is more interesting and shows an original farmer’s cottage. Very small but cosy and probably nice and warm in winter times.
With a lot of spare time as well.
We walk down to the parking lot again to pick up our gear. The lady tries to sell some fragrant bags and when I give her a euro she will not just take it. We have to take the souvenirs in return.
When we reach the bikes, a car with Belgian license plate has stopped beside us. We start chatting and they turn out to be 2 couples from Braine-l’Alleud who have been travelling through Slovakia and southern Poland. They too tell us that the latter is very beautiful and green, but also very hot when they were there.
After Vlkolinec we turn back to the original route to ride the part that we missed yesterday because of the rain.
As soon as you turn away from the main roads in Slovakia, the countryside changes, and also the road surface deteriorates exponentially. But you get peace and quiet in return and some impressive views.
Since Jo’s rear inner tube was damaged beyond repair (the valve was ripped off) we need to find a replacement. We had been looking without success in Ruzomberok earlier today so we keep looking for Pneuservis along the way. Just before we reach Oravsky Hrad, we spot another one, this time with a motorbike parked in front. Might this be the place?
We stop and Jo goes to check it out. Turns out that Eduard doesn’t have inner tubes himself but he knows a place around Dolny Kubin. And he is kind enough to take us there!
So we return once again to Dolny Kubin. Seems we cannot get away from this place… Eduard guides us to a very small shop that mainly stocks bicycle gear and we finally find our replacement tube!
Then it’s back to Oravsky Hrad. This is the castle where they shot the movie Nosferatu and it is located on top of a very steep hill. It’s really hot by now so we do not fancy the walk up there in our riding gear. Instead we opt for the bar: a children’s ice cream and a coke!
We stop for some pictures and then it’s on to the lake near Namestovo, where the map and gps indicate some camp sites.
We find a spot, with restaurant, right next to the lake. This must be one of the best views ever from our tent!
While we are pitching up, a couple of British bikers decide to stay the night as well. Since we took the only flat spot on the entire camp site, they have some difficulty in finding a right spot. In the end they opt for a place closer to the lake.
Jo has a look at our stove to find out what the problem is, while I do some more laundry and take a very cold shower. By the time I get back to the tent, the msr stove is working as a true smithy again.
And then it’s dinner time! Turns out the restaurant is more of a posh chip shop and only serves deep fried stuff and burgers.
Our British neighbours follow us into the restaurant and when one of them orders a coke and gets a Kofola, we watch his face in eager anticipation. We tasted the same stuff yesterday and it’s not quite what you expect when you order a coke. Kofola is the local version from the time that coke could not be imported behind the iron curtain. It’s quite impossible to describe the taste. It looks like coke, smells like coke but it tastes really different, a bit like they put too much syrup into too little fizzy water.
Anyway, Kofola is a nice opener to start talking to the Brits and we exchange some tips. They too find it a disappointment that you cannot seem to cross the mountains here in the Tatra’s. You ride along the mountains but never over them like you can in the Alps or Pyrenees. We have a nice chat with them until the girl behind the bar kicks us out at 10 PM.