By the time we made it to Žilina, we were ready to dry out. We were blessed with sunny weather and warm hospitality from Michal and Lenka. A welcome beer and dinner:
Žilina had a cute downtown. Isn’t it amazing how great everything looks when the sun comes out after a big rain?
We saw the balcony where Czechoslovakia independence was declared, a miniature copy of one of those oppressive Vienna buildings, and Slovakia’s strange mixture of historic and ugly.
Michal put us in touch with his colleague, Jano, a fellow touring cyclist. We ended up riding two days with Jano. Together we crossed from Slovakia to Poland, (one of our three such crossings!), and enjoyed our first Polish beer together in Jablonka.
Jano in Stará Bystrica:
Jano was super-generous and removed a customized part from his rear rack. We attached this part onto Snežana’s rear rack to keep her rear bags from hitting the spokes. I used to have this same problem before using a Tubus rack. Sneki also has trouble with her heels hitting her rear bags, but the fix for that is more difficult: longer chain stays (like on a Long Haul Trucker).
The famous Polish ski resort town in the High Tatras, Zakopane, was a great disappointment. It was as bad as Estes Park on the worst summer weekend and about as interesting. Like Estes there are great mountains nearby, but you need to get out of town to get anything besides crowds and whatever the Polish version of saltwater toffee is.
Stará Lubovna, on the other hand, was a wonderful surprise as we spent the morning exploring its castle with a group of Estonian cyclists on a four-day tour.
Jano’s improvement to Sneki’s bike inspired us to add a third water bottle cage for her. At the shop we also picked up a second spare tire for me since both of mine are showing serious signs of wear. The black rubber is just about gone from a center stripe on rear tire!