Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Red Monastery - a little surprise

Right when we bought the tickets and entered the Red Monastery, we saw a few birds of prey: owls, ravens... Please, don't make me name them, cause I suck at that. But if you're an expert or at least know the names of these beautiful birds, feel free to share those names with me. It's always good to learn.

We went a little bit closer to them, to look at them and show them to the kids. Not every day a child gest a chance to stand close to wild birds.

We found out, that there are two shows organised each day (I think that was) and we have just missed one. The other one was to start in two hours (or so). We were sad cause we figured we would not spend that much time in the monastery. And it was so hot that we didn't really feel like waiting.

However, when we finally saw everything there was to see, there was only about 20 minutes left till the next show. So we waited. And we were not disappointed.

The birds were flying right over our heads. And if you were slow at lowering your head, you could get hit. And these birds are so smart. They knew which cup to pick up to find a little something hidden under it.

One of the birds didn't really want to take part in the show. Didn't want to fly. The guys were trying to convince it, but there was no way of doing it. It's predator was flying up in the sky, so it was just too scared. So they left the bird alone.

The guys were telling the stories of the birds, talking about them, about their characteristics. But that was only in Slovakian. So even though we could understand bits and pieces, there was no way to get all the information for me.

The show was free of charge. And you could take a picture holding the birds yourself. Also free of charge. They were collecting voluntary donations, though. But that was up to us whether we wanted to pitch in or not.

It all lasted for about half an hour. And there were just two shows (I don't like this word, but can't think of a better one right now), cause it was already exhausting for the birds. And, as it seemed, they guys were trying to get good care of them. I don't know if the birds were harmed in any way, nor do I know how they came to live in captivity. We did not intend to attend such a show in the first place, cause we didn't know it was happening. At least that was not the reason why we visited the monastery itself.

I loved these yellow eyes.

Friday, 13 November 2015

It's time to cross the border - Červený Kláštor

We have already spent a week of our holidays on the Polish side of mountains. But so close to the Slovakian side, that a well thrown stone could easily fly over the border.

It was high time to cross the border. To see what Slovaks have to offer.

Ok, we knew what we were going for, so no huge surprises there. We weren't looking for other things to see, either. Cause it was still soooo hot.

Back in 2006, when we first visited Pieniny Mountains, we climbed all the way up to Okrąglica (one of the summits of Three Crowns, the only one accessible)  for a perfect view of the area. Dunajec River right below us, swirling among the mountains. The little towns in the distance. The lonely houses on the sides of the mountains. And lots of green forests around. And right there, among the trees, on the bank of the river, there was that little red square-ish building. But so vividly visible, that I wanted to visit the place.

We didn't have enough time to visit the place back then. Though we both knew what that was. And we both wanted to go there. When we finally decided that this year we were going to Pieniny Mountains again, we knew that crossing the border was a must. And we were not disappointed.

There were two options for getting to the Red Monastery for us. We could either drive to Sromowce Niżne, leave the car on Polish side and walk the bridge to the Slovakian side (nine years ago this bridge was still under construction, which made getting to the monastery a bit harder for us, too). Or we could drive to the Slovakian side and leave the car on one of the car parks there. We chose the latter.

Walking along the river (and along the road as well), we got to the park with lots of old trees (like really old trees, huge ones). And from that park we entered the premises of the Red Monastery.

We paid the entrance fees (which was not much, but I can't remember the exact prices now), got a map of the place with some information on the monastery, and we were ready to explore, to look into as many rooms as possible, to see all there was to see.

There were not too many tourists inside, so, for most part, we felt like we were the only ones visiting the place. You could find out a bit more about the local culture, and the monastery itself there. Plus the views are just so spectacular!

And in the village, we could either pay with euros or with Polish zlotys. It made no difference. And the exchange rate wasn't a steal either.

You can see the place through my lens below. But that is not all that awaited us in the monastery. The rest was a surprise for us, too. Willing to find out what that was? Details very soon!

On the way - the two castles
On the way to the park - along the road...
...and along the river.
in the park
And, finally, in the Red Monastery
That's where we met some other people. Not in the buildings, but in this little, grassy square with a well.
The Three Crowns in the back
Some interiors