My friend Ivan and I did a lot of hiking and biking throughout Slovakia during the summer of 2002. One hiking trip had us taking the bus to the gypsy village of Bezovec and hiking from there to the ruins of Hrad Tematin. The hike up was on an easy trail, but it was rocky and hilly and I was wondering if I was going to go back to Idaho on crutches.
After the arduous hike and a couple of hours exploring the castle ruins, it was time to leave to catch our bus back to Ivan's home in Borovce. But Ivan had another path to take to our bus. It was a downhill hike which was a lot easier than the trip up to Tematin to the little village of Luka, which remains untouched by communism and the ages.
Before we entered Luka, Ivan and saw a canal on our path and since it was a hot sunny day, we needed to cool off. So we cupped our hands and threw water on each other to cool off. I had a bandana to protect my scalp from the heat, and I wet that and put it back on my head as temporary relief from the heat.
More relief from the heat in Luka came in the form of the village bar. Ivan and I stopped there for a little refreshment, Topolcany beer. While Ivan was at the bar getting our beers, the town drunk came over to our table and started talking to me in Slovak. Only understanding a little of the language, I pretended to understand the drunk, and I was relieved when Ivan came back and shooed the drunk away after talking with him and giving him about 5 Koruna. I told Ivan I was hoping the drunk wouldn't return to our table thinking he was getting more than a little money, but the drunk stayed away from us while we enjoyed our beers.
After the bar, Ivan and I headed to the bus station on Luka's main street. We passed an old church (Kostol) and the tiny castle (Hrad) that is a public building now that was probably used by the local nobility in its hey day. Ivan and I stopped to take pictures before getting to the bus stop. Both the church and castle were nothing spectacular, but their quaintness warranted a few minutes of taking pictures and looking around before going to the bus stop.
There were some young girls at the bus stop waiting for the bus to Piestany with us, and then our friendly little drunk from the bar showed up and started talking to the girls. They looked a little uncomfortable with the appearance of the town drunk, and then the drunk started taking off his pants either because he was hot or too drunk to control his own behavior. I thought if he had done this at a bus stop in the USA, he would have been thrown in jail the minute he unzipped his fly. It was one of the weirdest experiences with Slovakian drunks during my 3-month stay in Slovakia in 2002.
After a while and to much relief, our bus showed up, and we gratefully climbed aboard for the ride back to Piestany and then to Borovce. Exhausted from the hike to Tematin and fending off drunks, I rested most of the ride and reflected on the day's fun.
Luka can be reached by bus from Piestany if you don't want to hike up from Bezovec to the ruins of Tematin. The trails are rated from Beginner to Expert, and wear good sturdy shoes and be in good shape. Bring a picnic and plenty of water, but there are bars in Bezovec and Luka for you to have a drink afterwards. For more on Hrad Tematin, please read my journal on Hrad Tematin in a previous journal.