ALTHOUGH Rosznava was only a few miles away, this felt like having stepped back in time. A small brook coming from the nearby mountains provided me a guide as I trekked uphill in a still sleeping town.
Although I had planned a simple jaunt into the Slovak republic, as a shake down cruise, as so often happens when I have time on my hands and no particular place to go... I would not be returning to Hungary this day.
Cousin Erzsi knew roughly where I was going and when I would be returning.
Within minutes of my ritual walk around checking tires, lights, shaking the mufflers for tightness, my mind had been made up.
It was a clear choice, left to return the way I had planned... or right into the Tatra's.
I was headed to Poland.
STEADILY climbing, the road was incredibly smooth and wide, unlike most of Hungary. It was obvious to me that Slovakia was more affluent, perhaps not by much, but certainly the homes were more modern, better kept and the highway in better condition.
BEFORE long I was bending around higher speed mountain curves, downshifting several gears for the increasing hairpins, climbing higher and higher. Little villages came and went, streams became swifter and rockier, sport bikes more numerous, and the first of what would be hundreds of European tunnels came into sight.
The Slovak Paradise National park passed under the cast alloy wheels of my Divvie, as I made my way North on route 67. After a short coffee stop in the Industrial city of Poprad, surrounded by Roma (gypsies) who were very curious at my arrival, keeping their distance but obviously talking about me and my bike, I continued on.
Reaching a cross road at Spisska Bela, I kept to 67 and climbed through a narrow valley with a large industrial plant decaying to my left. There were few vehicles on the road and what there were, I passed easily with just a twist of the throttle. It was as if I were travelling by bike through British Columbia. Sicamous, Vernon, Salmon Arm... but instead of McDonald's and houseboats, there were ruined castles on hilltops. Just before noon, I came to my second EU border crossing with the same result, a rusting shell, no gates, just a thin road leading into Poland.
MY European adventure was beginning...