The art of Slovakian train travel...
Trencin Travel Blog› entry 6 of 12 › view all entries
After experiencing the sublime smoothness of Austrian train travel I was in for something of a shock when I crossed the border into Slovakia and left the Austrian train behind at Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital.
If I was to give one piece of advice to those considering train travel in rural Slovakia, it would be : don’t! At least, not unless it’s broad daylight, above zero, not blizzard conditions, you speak Slovakian, and you know the area really, really, really well.
Problem number one: the departure board in the main stationhall lists the trains as departing from a platform number- however the platforms are not numbered- they go by track number which is far different because obviously there can be multiple tracks between platforms!
Problem number two: Slovakia doesn’t appear to see the need to name their stations- at least not publicly. So, one sits on a piece of rusty heavy metal claiming to be a train that hurtles along really quite rapidly… it then screeches to a halt for a few seconds at what is literally just a platform (occasionally covered by a concrete roof) before hurtling off at breakneck speed. How on earth you’re supposed to identify which station you’re at is beyond me.
I thought I’d be smart and just jump off at the station that was closest to the time the train was supposed to arrive at Trencin, and look out for the big castle on a hill as a tell-tale sign. So, when I saw the above castle at about the right time, and the train stopped for a milli-second in the blackness I jumped, literally. And, quite predictably with a 13kg pack on my back and landing on ice and snow, I then skidded on my coccyx for a good 30m and took the unconventional exit from the station. The pain was negated by the relief at realising I was in fact in Trencin and had effectively tobogganed myself to the base of the Castle and was in the middle of town and metres from my hotel.
I’m staying at the Grand Hotel tonight- a spanking new very swish and stylish hotel in the centre of this tiny town and am looking forward to a good nights sleep. Exploring Trencin tomorrow then off to Olomouc (aaarrghh….more Slovakian trains!) in the Czech Republic for a few days.