Day 65 - Banska Bystrica to Levice: Why do you hate me so, Slovakia? - No More Taxi Drivers - CycleBlaze

March 21, 2015

Day 65 - Banska Bystrica to Levice: Why do you hate me so, Slovakia?

The day started off deceptively easy, but I wasn't fooled--I knew I had a nasty climb ahead of me. But early on my mind was free to wander and I found myself mentally counting my cash and determining I would need more before I reached Bratislava. I then progressed from thought to loudly quoting that famous line from the Oliver, complete with very exaggerated accent: "More? You want more!?" Naturally it was at that instant that a cyclist passed me. Why does that always happen?

Getting to Banska Stiavnica was slow, very slow, especially compared to the many fast cyclists on that road, the ones with light bikes and no luggage. But it was going to be worth it, everyone said so. When I finally reached the top, I saw a puzzling, steep descent in front of me. Puzzling because there is even more climbing on the way out of town, as if they mined so much material that the whole town sank 100m. The descent was marked with a 12% sign. I turned around to look at the hill I had just climbed. Sure enough, it was also marked with a 12% sign. Probably a good thing I didn't see such a sign on the way up.

I descended toward the centre, which was full of weekend tourists, and started climbing again, on cobbles, which meant it was time to start pushing the bike. I went up to the hostel. It was closed. I went down and then up to the other hostel. It was full (or so he thought, but didn't actually check). I went down and then up to the affordable guesthouse. The door was open but nobody was there, and nobody was answering the phone number posted at reception.

Eventually I tired of this, decided I had seen enough of the architecture during my unintentional tour, and would continue, stopping at the mining museum on the way out. The museum wasn't worth my time. Fine, screw you Banska Stiavnica, that hill will make me stronger but you will be weaker without my tourist dollars.

More climbing. I passed a frozen lake, the ice looking weak and a bit slushy. I looked around for a rock, but all of them had been thrown onto the ice already.

Endless climbing, steep climbing, stopping every time I saw a sign for accommodation. They were all closed. After far too long, I at last reached the top of the last hill.

I was getting really tired and decided to camp, but after descending far enough to not freeze in my tent, I had left the treed area and entered open agricultural land. Suddenly swarms of bugs were bombarding me every time I went down a hill--and there were many, since two ludicrously steep hills guard the entry and exit of every village, in addition to the hills in between villages. The bugs got in my eyes, and because of my sunblock, they all stuck to my face and it wasn't long before I looked like the front end of a car after a rural summer road trip.

In the end, I had to go all the way to Levice, turning a 55km day into a 97km day. I think that's a new record. Just as it was getting dark, I found the cheapest hotel in town and went to sleep early.

Banska Stiavnica from the closed hostel
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Out of the mountains
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 97 km (60 miles)
Total: 2,889 km (1,794 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 0
Comment on this entry Comment 0