Traditional log rafting on the Orava River
Oravsky Podzamok Travel Blog› entry 12 of 23 › view all entries
I didnâ€™t sleep well as I was concerned. Last night I had tried to use the ATM in the village but, it would accept mine or Robâ€™s. I only had 10 euro on me and a now planned rafting trip.
The temperature here, in the mountains, had dropped last night. I was actually cold. I had two blankets on me as was comfy. I had turned down the option of heatâ€¦..didnâ€™t understand that I would need it.
I had breakfast in my room and headed to Oravsky Podzamok to meet the guys for the trip. I looked in each of the villages that I passedâ€¦..no bank or ATM. I was really getting worried. I was running short on time but went to the village at the bottom of the castle grounds.
The directions given by the manâ€™s wife, made no sense now that I was in the villageâ€¦..what school??? I drove around and finally at our agreed meet up time, I called. What I was worried about happened. He didnâ€™t really understand me and couldnâ€™t convey info to me if he wanted to. I thought I understood 10 minutes.? That came and went and then someone called back. He spoke â€¦.someâ€¦..English. He told me that I needed to meet them upstreamâ€¦â€¦.ok but, where is that from here. He then asked me how old I was. I told him and he said he would send someone to look for a 42 year old guy. I, then, thought that this could make a good comedy routine. Shortly a guy did show up and wanted me to get in his car.
I got in his car and we headed off. We went to the big start sign by the river where their rafts are located. I knew where that wasâ€¦.but that wasnâ€™t what she told meâ€¦..aaarrgghh!!! They werenâ€™t there??? We then went a couple of kilometers farther upstream and into a village and back out to the riverâ€¦â€¦no rafting group. He kept calling people and driving!!! We finally met up with them in the middle of nowhere at the Orava Riverâ€¦â€¦whatever. I was just glad to be there and get started.
I had begun to sprinkle earlier but, now it was holding off. The sky was threatening but, again, holding off.
There was a bus full of geriatrics, Polish or Czech, I think. I was introduced to the leader who gave me a hearty greeting and a handshake. Everyone was getting fitted for life jackets. I joined in.
There were two rafts and they were the real kind not the prefab kinds that look like hollowed out logs. These were the real McCoys. Everyone took their seats and then there was me. No one seemed to get it that I was joining them and needed a seat. I tried to ask someone to let me sit next to them and they thought I wanted to take their picture. I gave up and went to the one guy who spoke some English. I told him that I needed a seat and he made the old bittys moved.
The guides were dressed in the traditional dress of a white embroidered shirt and the black hat with a red band, for that authentic feel.
He shoved off and we were on our way. Our journey would take us 5 kilometers, all the way to the shore just west of the castle. The river was brisk and at points bordering on rough, but not really.
Our view was dramatic, lush greenery and rolling hills, and craggy peaks now and then. Villages of traditional houses and ancient churches stretch our along the banks. We even went under the suspension bridge that I crossed, yesterday. When we passed near the highway, or guide waved as passersby honked their horns.
At one point, the guide asked me if I wanted to row and he would take my picture. I accepted his offer and quickly assumed the position of labor.
Soon we were within view of the craggy eastern peak of the Castle. What a different view. It was an unparalleled viewâ€¦.
The guides brought us ashore and thanked us for taking our journey with them. I paid (10 euro) and began my walk to the village at the bottom of the castle, in the rain.
It didnâ€™t rain for too long, a few minutes or so, The bus driver for the aged had asked if I wanted a ride but I chose to walk.
Iâ€™m so happy that I did. I was able to walk along the river and also get different views of the castle and one of the communities on the bank.
The path lead me directly to the parking lot of my carâ€¦.how nice.