Last night we arrived at Deutsh Jahrndorf just inside the Austrian Eastern border. What an odd out of the way place to come to.
We simply picked this place as there was an Airs here and it was in the right general direction and also close to Bratislava in Slovakia.
We parked at a grass Airs at the edge of the village, for a Eur 5 donation our Airs comes with free geese farmyard sound effects and the delicate fragrance of freshly spread manure.
The land in Eastern Austria and Hungary is flat farmland and we took an easy and pleasant evening walk around the village which has two churches a bakery, bank, the geese farmyard and very little else.
While walking we picked up some internet access on the phone and noted that there was a geocache at the point where the borders of Slovakia, Hungary and Austria meet. We decided to check this out in the morning.
We left the Airs at 11am and our drive to the geocache was on dirt road then a dirt track signed the Iron Curtain Track which was the Austrian Hungarian border located between farm paddocks until we came across an area of sculptures and marker posts. We found the cache and wandered around with time to reflect on the fact that not that not to long ago people were killed trying to cross borders that we can now just wander around.
We found the geocache and again this hobby had brought us to a place we would never have considered visiting.
As we were leaving a Slovakian Police land rover arrived and the police got out and started taking photographs. We said hello but there English was no so good, so Steven took a Trish and Police photo for our collection, said goodbye and we headed off to find our way to Bratislava. Steven suspected that one of them was also a geocacher by the way they were looking around.
Bratslavia was busy and not a motorhome friendly city (not many are) we can usually find somewhere to park near a tourist attraction usually somewhere around the tourist coach parking area. Not here, and parking for small cars was difficult to find let alone a motorhome!!
We found Bratislava Castle, a massive rectangular building with four corner towers stands on a quite isolated rocky hill of the Little Carpathians directly above the Danube river in the middle of Bratislava. It is an outstanding feature of the city but there is nowhere to park. After driving around the city for a while with no success we had had enough so headed out of town to Devin Castle.
We arrived at Devin Castle around 2:15pm with plenty of free parking. Devin castle is situated 8 kilometers West of Bratislava on the Danube, and just a stone throw away from Austria.
The castle was destroyed in 1809 by Napolean’s army, and today lies in ruins. After paying the Eur 3 entry fee we wandered around exploring the nooks and crannies of the castle recently excavated Roman ruins (looks like the excavation funds ran out) sculptures and the grounds for an hour or so. Devin Castle is strategically located on a 212 metre cliff at the confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers. Now a great vantage point to watch the river cruise boats and barges make there way along the fast moving Danube river.
After leaving the castle grounds we walked around the perimeter of the castle where the ruins overlook the meeting place of the Danube and Morava rivers. This place also has historical significance from a more recent age. The building below the castle (on the river side) was used as a look-out for guards watching for people trying to escape the communist east. This area of Slovakia has had a turbulent past, and there is a monument here to those who tried to escape during the Cold War. The bullet pock-marked symbolic gate with its twisted metal iron gate stands out against the backdrop of the rivers, remembering those who went there hoping to make it across the river.
The monument is a memorial to over 500 Slovakians who fled Slovakia during Communism and were shot by the border guards on the river banks. This was also on the Iron Curtain Trail and they were filming a documentary at the time of our visit.
We headed back across the Austrian boarder toward Vienna all the time trying to find a place to buy a GO Box. (An electronic road toll box required for vehicles over 3500kg to use the motorway). There are 220 outlets apparently but we could not find one. We even stopped at a motorway service station and they did not have one. The fine is very high Eur 200-300 and is payable to the police on the spot. So we told the GPS navigator to avoid all toll roads and it took us through the centre of Vienna in peak hour traffic. All part of the adventure!
We emerged 1 1/2 hours later and eventually arrived at 7pm our planned Airs next to the Kristendorf railway station 15-20k North of Vienna.
The monument is a memorial to over 500 Slovakians who fled Slovakia during Communism and were shot by the border guards on the river banks.