Evenfall I would reach Bielsko-Biała in the car of a young couple. Hitchhikers themselves they told stories and gave advice. One of them being to not continue the road I was following, although beautiful, luck was required to make it to Slovakia soon. Time being on my side and having lingered a day against will in Bialystok, I did not quail. So stubbornly I dismissed their advice and thus moved onwards. The night I slept a deep, alcohol fueled sleep in the garden of one of the locals. The mother and his son had given me a tasting of the translucent drink that makes all blurry, before I rested my eyes. Protected by a small, yet fierce barking dog and an army of tiny kittens, I surely felt safe. Drifting off to the place where impossible is possible, a soft smile sparked. Whether it was the vodka or the day that had been, I can not tell. Come morning, before blissfully claiming my free ice cream, I frolicked and kicked ball with the young son. The act did not last long as the boy stared at me disappointed of my skills – or the lack of – in simply kicking a ball in a straight line. To be fair, as the ridiculing 5 year old showed derision, his attempt in hitting the ball was not exactly repugnantly. Nonetheless, a smile stayed upon departure. Let’s see how much luck I have!
Sitting on a veranda after a warm shower, taking in the smell of the nature as I lift my cold beer for a sip, it was needless to ask if luck was with me. Normally, the guy with the unpronounceable name – Przemek – takes his two-wheeler to Żywiec. However not this time, allowing him free space for the lost wanderer. Before dropping me at Zvardon, at the border of Slovakia, I could take some rest at his house. Welcomed by his carrying wife and a worker, I grew reposed. A house situated away from the city with surroundings serene and peaceful. A grand, wide forest filled with wildlife and smells stood beside his house. Trees standing still and strong, their tops swinging calm from the wind. There I rested, awaiting dinner. A supper made to tease and please the taste buds. Pasta with delicious cheese from a local farmer’s goat. Nuts used for sprinkling instead of Parmesan cheese. An addition welcomed! I finished two plates before a bowl of homemade ice cream was placed before me. The flavor pine cone had been an idea of the wife. Also welcomed. An appetizing meal rich of flavor gave me the bottom I would need with upcoming event.
Setting my first step into a land of beauty, I was already overwhelmed by the amazing landscapes and nature. The hilled villages gaven an appeal welcoming and entrancing. The route went downwards, and with astonished eyes I gazed around. The people smiled and enjoyed the sun. Sipping drinks on a laid-back chair or mowing the grass, giving a delight of a smell to the air. Children running with a cone poising the scoops of ice. An old lady walked her dog, cheering me on. Happiness resting on my face, I carried on. Then a guy I did not know by name nor face seated around a busy table shouted Slovakian words in my direction. Confused I paused and asked to repeat. I could see his lingering look as his mind began to change his language to English settings. Beer, he shouted loud, holding a glass filled to top up high with a promising content, gesturing an invite. With this movement some liquid escaped and made a way down over edge to drip on the ground. Seemingly friendly, I joined the table of the group. Peter was the one that had invited me and also the one with most knowledge of the English language. Twice my size, the man spoke with a voice louder than any, claiming me a new friend, as he downed a shot of rum. For the rest, all would respond to ‘Jozef’. Together we shared beer, rum and fish. Fish caught by a friend and cooked in front of our nose. Giving that watery feel in your mouth for a decent lasting minute to chew it all in a bite or two. An evening passed with laughter, loud voices and joysome conversations when time came to move on. A sober man had arrived and gave me a ride, to avoid a situation I had faced in South-Africa. Metres away from a church on a small field I opened my tent. Mumbling I thanked the Old and New Gods for a 2-second tent as I stumbled once it stood. That night I sinned twice on the small field yet woke feeling an angel. Not aware I was a day away of learning Slovakia’s beauty, my legs walked the road without knowledge of the destination or direction.