Today the forecast is 20% rain, but it is pretty windy and chilly for our ride across Slovakia to Kosice.
We set out first for Bojnice(bod-neet-sa), where we had breakfast with a view of the castle. The funny thing today was we asked the waitress if she spoke English and she said no, but her friend that did not work there said “ yes” and proceeded to take our order and serve us! “The town is most known for its castle, first mentioned in 1113 and originally built as a wooden fort, it was over time built as a stone castle and in the 20th century in the Romantic style.”
From here we continued on the narrow secondary road thru the Low Tatras national park and onto the 18, which wound around not far from the main road. We ultimately had to put on the rain gear at Poprad because of the cold. It then got sunny and warm by the time we were in nearby Levoca (lee-vo-cha). There was a great fair taking place in the old town and we stopped for a break and some fresh donuts.
Our plan was to keep riding from here on the 547 past the hill top Spis Fortress and then onto Kosice.
It was all going well until we arrived to Jaklovace, where the sign for Kosice had a red X thru it. This means in Europe the road is blocked ahead. This is sometime a small detour, but in this case when we were 35 km from our goal it was really blocked and had to re route back 60 km. Later this week we saw why when we approached the bridge from the other side. About a month ago it started to sag in the middle. We were a bit low on fuel, but made it with a few liters left and arrived to Kosice after 382 km and strong wind all day. Of course our Slovakian fiends who were watching us on Spotwalla saw the problem unfolding.
Arriving to Kosice we were warmly greeted by Tomi, Majka, and Lenka. They had a customary welcome drink for us and a hot soup “which you need after a long days ride”.
Tomi reviewing the “program” he has planned for us in the next 4 days. This he had emailed me and the time line is in 30 min intervals!
Crocs for comfort! They thought of everything…5 star treatment for sure.
We had brought a few “Canadian” gift for them. They are small, but as bikers they know that having such items on the bike is “special”.
We have been hosted here for 3 days including a walking tour of the old town, visits to the Dam and boat tour, Cognac tasting and a tour of the Congac institute, a tour of the Old time car collection of Kosice, small airplane tourist flight over the city and surrounding countryside, and, a visit to the KTM event, a number of parties.
At KTM they were setting up for an event, but for us they had a special demonstration of the motorcyclists air bag. You have to pull surprisingly hard on the release, but this simulates being ejected from the bike.
We stopped by the Real estate office to make sure Tomi’s people are hard at work.
Since Tomi knows everyone here this includes the local OLD TIMERS car collector and we had a tour of the restoration shop where they can fabricate everything needed to restore a classic car in house.
We drove outside the city and made a detour for some Venison goulash for lunch. It was the then off to the Ruzin Dam for a visit to Marcella and Peter’s lake house and for another welcome drink or 3! We had a bout tour, which was a bit chilly when we started out, but warmed up out of the wind.
The next stop was at Robert’s lake house for Cognac tasting. He is IN the Encyclopedia of Cognac and is a member of the Kosice Cognac institute.
Tomi and Majka had arranged a special treat for us with “flying lessons” in 2 small planes today! We had an emergency ice cream stop on the way. Daniel was in a Cesna 150 and Sara in a Slovakian Viper SD4. We were delayed a day due to windy weather, but today it was spectacular. We took off outside the city, did some acrobatics, and then flew back out over the dam. From here we did a “low pass” at the Kosice airport and the returned to base. Daniel actually flew his plane except for the takeoff, low pass, and landing for the 45 minute flight.
We ran out of time for touring the city, but did a short walk about, visited and had a tour of the Cognac institute, and had a very delicious lunch!
These guys are such great hosts and they had arranged a Goodbye Garden party for us.
We then all decamped 75 km south to Mád Hungary, which is in the Tokaj (Toe-ki) wine region. Here we had a group of 10 for wine tours and tasting.
A castle view
We stopped on the way at a winery with very old cellars.
Next it was wine tours and tasting. We had an ATV tour of one winery and then a tour of the 500 year old cellar caves of another.
We had a nice walk in the town and a stop at “the Cheese” lady where we actually had the best wine of the day.
A sampling of their wares.
They then brought us up wine from the families private cellar
We had a very nice dinner and a moonlit night.
Today it is rainy, but it did stop long enough for the 15 km ride to Tokaj town for a small boat trip on the river, a walking tour of the town, and a traditional Hungarian Fish soup lunch.