Today we drove to the village of Babin, to visit our friend Peter L. He is a close friend from Slovakia, who we got to know while he was living in San Francisco a few years back. Currently he has a job that keeps him on the Polish border. He also practices Akido.
He took us to the Oravsky Hrad. Hrad is Slovak for fortress, however a hrad is also a "castle", much nicer than just a fortress. (Zamok is the typle of castle that would have a princess, all fancy etc... Think France or Austria.) This hrad was first built in the 13th century, and was never overtaken by armed forces. It has a drawbride and windows to domp hot oil on intruders. The weapons rooms were awesome - love an old axe or mace.
Afterward we visited an old village - the opposite of the castle, where the serfs resided. It looked like Hobbiton - I loved it!
Peter then took me to me his Sensei. This may have been the highlight of the day for me. Martial Arts in the tiny towns of northern Slovakia - very cool!
We finished off the evening with halushkys, fried chees and bacon. Mmmmm bacon! Sunca!!!
I can't forget to mention... We went to Poland to purchase gas/petrol because they are not on the Euro yet and it is way cheaper in Zloty. On the way back we were pulled over by the police. WE were fine and polite, no problems. But then, after we dropped off Peter, we were pulled over again, near Zilina. This was a random drinking pull over. We have German plates so we look suspicious... Andrea was driving, because she needs practice. I also have violated the contract, allowing my car into Slovakia (not allowed to have it go into any Eastern Block counties... (I this there are some EU harmonization violations with this contract, but oh well...) We only had tea for dinner, so this was not the issue for us either. The worry was that this was the first time Andrea has ever been stopped by a police officer in any country. She played it cool - no tickets! She used my technique I had told her about, act polite and a little scared, like "I am from out of town, and a little lost etc.." This works in any country if your a cute girl. She did and it worked! (I did not want a ticket since it may give away my contract violation....and cost Euro...)
Tomorrow we leave Nova Dubnica and the family. I am sad about this. But we will start a new adventure - Off to Germany!