A COUPLE OF MUST SEE SIGHTS IN SLOVAKIA
We did a short trip from Krakow (Poland) into Slovakia, visiting Trencin and Bratislava (the capital) and across to Vienna (Austria) in January 2017. My blog posts on Slovakia, from this trip, are linked above. It is a beautiful country of snow covered forests (in winter), layered mountains and open landscapes, with lots of castles and historic buildings.
Crossing the border into Slovakia, from Poland, was the next hop on our mini-trip in Eastern Europe. There's no border really - you drive up into the mountains, where there is a "EU" sign at the top of a hill, and then you drive down the other side into Slovakia. The buildings and roads are largely similar and the signs of the cultural change are subtle. The roads are pretty good and snow covers forests, countryside and towns in winter, in a relatively open landscape. You get the feeling that this is not an affluent part of the world, but neither are there obvious signs of poverty in the strictest sense either. The cold and snow does denote a harsher life than that with which I'm familiar though.
Driving through Slovakia in winter is quite magical: there are forested mountains half covered in snow and often layers of mountains in sight in a otherwise generally open landscape. Driving from Krakow to Bratislava (as we did) there are also numerous castles on route, some of which you can see from the highway, high up on their hills. Then you arrive in Bratislava, which while still uncomfortable in the snow, is perhaps also the more charming for it....As I like to do, first stop was Bratislava castle above the city... Bratislava castle is large and grand, with building, destruction and ruin over centuries, and a final rebuild and restoration in the 1950s. The castle's site has also been occupied for thousands of years.