Wednesday 27 August
After a quick walk to Sibir station we were on our way to Poprad Tatry on the electric train. Once there we made our way to the bus station. The helpful info lady directed us to stand 4 and we were soon on our way to Spisske Popradie via Levoča with it’s well preserved old town wall clearly an attraction. After about 50 minutes we arrived in Spisske Popradie where the footpath at the bus stand was getting an upgrade. We looked around a bit and found signage to the castle which we knew was on a hill above the town. We crossed a small bridge and passed the local cemetery. The path started to rise and so did the level of mud! Clearly a few days of rain had had an impact. Pleased I had brought my walking pole we continued up along with a few other caste visitors. About half way up we noticed there was another path leading up and it seemed to be partly sealed but like our path soon turned into a slippery mess. It turns out the castle entry gate is on the back right side of the castle and near the car and bus car park. Clearly foot tourists are second class citizens until their arrival. As we reached the entry gate drizzly rain started. We paid our 5 euro entry fee and were greeted by a couple of young English speaking staff who offered us audio guides for free. All you had to do was pay a 10 euro deposit and leave your personal details. Even though it is now a ruin the castle is mighty impressive, covering four hectares in all. We go up a steep stone path to the middle bailey where our audio tour starts. After moving around seven audio stations we head up the extremely narrow steps to the top of the tower for views to the lower bailey and further to the town with it’s cathedral spire.
The inner walls are 2-3 metres thick which accounts for the narrow steps. After going back down we are able to tour the museum section with artefacts of the Middle Ages but also some dating back 3 thousand years. Finally we return our audio guide and start to explore the large lower bailey. However as luck would have it rain starts as we are at the lower end of the bailey so we quickly make our way back up under cover, briefly checking out the souvenir stands. The drizzle eases so we look for a better way down. However after a sealed section the path again degenerates into a slippery obstacle course. Once back in the town we top up on a few lunch supplies for a very late lunch. The castle has kept us well occupied. At the bus stand we chat to another couple of tourists who are from Brazil and staying in Levoča.. The return bus trip again passes through Levoča. At Poprad we transfer to the electric train back to Sibír where I cook pasta for two weary but contented tourists.