Can you say Ban-ska Bee-schtreek-uh

Banska Bystrica Travel Blog

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Banska Bystrica on a drizzly afternoon

Remember, clicking the + sign to will zoom in on the map to the left and you can see where I am!


Mr. Arneman” a voice on the phone in my hotel room asked. “There is a young man here to see you” I was surprised. Earlier but after I got checked into my hotel room, I e-mailed the two couch surfers that were in Banska Bystrica, and told them I was there, and although it was such late notice, if they were interested, I was staying the the Penzion Bellevue, in room 101, and they should call.


I didn't really expect to get a reply, but here was 19-year-old couch surfer Peter, back home for the weekend from school, and he just happened to check his e-mail and was free.

My pretty little Hotel Bellvue


I arrived in Banska in the early afternoon in the light drizzle. The weather has not entirely cooperated with me this whole trip. The taxi took me to the first choice hotel on my list, and I figured if they had no rooms, I could repeat the fun game of find-me-hotel-room-via-taxi if I had to. Luckily they had a room. The price was a little steep for me, about $80, but it was really a nice place. This time I DID take photos. They even had terry cloth robes folded neatly on the bed. These robe came in handy later.


My priority mission today, was laundry. I realized that I had run out of clean shirts, and the one I was wearing, was now two days old and getting ripe. I asked the girl at the front desk, but she couldn't help. It would take 24 hours. “Check at the big shopping center called Europa, they have a dry cleaners, maybe they can do something.

mega mall Europa
” She recommended.


I walked through the very nice pedestrian center of town, to the end of the street and there was a huge new very modern looking shopping mall. Weird right next to all of this beautiful centuries-old restored buildings and tunnels and such.


I found the aforementioned dry cleaners, but the lady spoke no English, but we managed to communicate to each other that I was out of luck. NO LAUNDRY FOR YOU AMERIKANSKI!


There was a supermarket at the other end of the mall, again a big modern affair, like a Super Target or Wal-Mart. I went in, bought a pre-made deli sandwich, a yogurt, some chocolate, and a bar of laundry soap, the old fashioned kind I used to see used in Mexico and Guatemala.

the launderette operation
Cheap too, at about 50 cents.


I headed back to the room with my lunch and my soap, and proceeded to wash out my shirts in the sink. I later found that I was getting water all over the place, so I moved the operation to the floor of the tiny corner shower. The hand-held nozzle really worked good. But I was working up a sweat, and there was water getting everywhere, so I just decided to strip down, and get in the shower and we would all just get clean together. I had quite an operation going when I started wondering how I was going to get all of these shirts dry. Luckily, the heated towel rack was an amenity the Penzion Bellevue had invested in. Add to that a couple of modern radiators, and I was in business!


After laundry duty, I got down to serious business about what to do with myself, where to go next and how should I get home.

Hurray, the clouds are breaking in Banska
There was the possibility of meeting Michael Vonbanks' brother Peter in Velden, Austria. We talked about it when I was still in Philadelphia. He was going to Austria on business, then driving back to his place in former Eastern Germany.


I checked my E-mail, and found that Peter Vonbank had canceled his trip to Austria. I started looking at options; Go back to Bratislava, go to Venice, go to Munich. What about the flights? I better check those, and make a plan from there.


Bad news. The flights were full. Full Friday. Full Saturday. Full Sunday. Full Monday. Full from Munich. Full from Venice. Full from Frankfurt, even full from Zürich. Crap. What was I going to do? The best options were Tuesday from Munich or Wednesday from Venice.

Peter and I enjoing an evening in a cellar pizza joint


It was then the phone rang, and I was introduced to my new Slovakian friend Peter. I put my plan-making on hold and we went out for a beer and a pizza. Did you know the drinking age in Slovakia is 18. Same for driving and voting. Everything happens when you are 18.


After pizza, he showed me the monument dedicated to the Russian soldiers who liberated the town from the Nazis in WWII. We walked around and saw several other monuments, towers and statues. Then he took me to his house. I met his little brother, who had a big room all to himself most of the week, when Peter was away at school, and the other older brother (who I never met) was away at college. And I met his father, who made us all some tea. I don't know where the mother was.


Peter showed me the way back home and we said good bye.

Peter's brother, Peter and his Dad.
He said if I decided to stay another day, we could go out and see more.


By the time I went to bed, I still had not made up my mind what to do the next day. Go, or stay another day in this charming city?


I woke up early Saturday morning, and got on the internet again. When were the trains leaving? If I wanted to get anywhere past Vienna, I had better take the 8:30 train. But if I waited until Sunday or Monday, could I get anywhere close to Munich to try the flight?


I made a quick decision. Get packed up and out of the hotel in the next 30 minutes and catch the train. I would go to Peter Vonbank's in Erfurt, Germany. A 13 hour train journey. 4 different trains and not more than a 10 minute stop for any of the transfers.


Shower. Pack. Pay the bill. Get to the train station. Quick, quick, quick.


The train adventure on the next blog.

ik-ben-10eke says:
I really enjoyed reading this, it make me not only smile, but I really had to laugh out loud for your "laundry adventure".
Coming Summer we will spend a day (or maybe two) in Banska Bystrica, did you mention there were 2 double beds in the room of that pension you were in? So, 4 beds in total? I am just curious about that, because that is exactly what we need :))

Greetings,
Tineke
Posted on: May 07, 2008
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Banska Bystrica on a drizzly after…
Banska Bystrica on a drizzly afte…
My pretty little Hotel Bellvue
My pretty little Hotel Bellvue
mega mall Europa
mega mall Europa
the launderette operation
the launderette operation
Hurray, the clouds are breaking in…
Hurray, the clouds are breaking i…
Peter and I enjoing an evening in …
Peter and I enjoing an evening in…
Peters brother, Peter and his Dad.
Peter's brother, Peter and his Dad.
Headed to Banska Bystrica
Headed to Banska Bystrica
My room at the Hotel Bellvue
My room at the Hotel Bellvue
Plush terry cloth robe
Plush terry cloth robe
Modeling the robe after doing the …
Modeling the robe after doing the…
Fall colors on the hillside behind…
Fall colors on the hillside behin…
Could the clouds be breaking?
Could the clouds be breaking?
Looks to be clearing up
Looks to be clearing up
Monument to the fallen Russians.
Monument to the fallen Russians.
Russian Monument.
Russian Monument.
Funny drinking fountain in foregro…
Funny drinking fountain in foregr…
Reflections of Pizza
Reflections of Pizza
Flowers on the bell tower stairs
Flowers on the bell tower stairs
Funky statue with injured arm
Funky statue with injured arm
An old factory
An old factory
Watch for men walking with aliens
Watch for men walking with aliens
A Statue of the Pope John Paul II
A Statue of the Pope John Paul II
Slovakian Freedom monument, and et…
Slovakian Freedom monument, and e…
Banska Bystrica Hotels & Accommodations review
I can't remember just how I got the name of this great little place, probably a lonely planet guide book. My room with 2 double beds cost $80.00 US… read entire review
Banska Bystrica
photo by: DADKA