Civica castle near Vranov which was destroyed by the Hapsburg army in the early 1700s
This view is not from the road to Svidnik
Highway 15 is that small road going off on the blue sign and I had missed that turn
I tried to take a short day today, and failed. I rode to Vranov - about 20 miles - had lunch there and tried to check into the only hotel. It was full. I road on to Svidnik - another 40+ miles - and couldn't find a room there either. I had supper at a bar at the edge of Svidnik and, about 6:30, headed for Poland. I was fed, had water, and even had a cold piece of pizza for breakfast in case I had to wild camp. Fortunately, I found a pension in a small village and have a very pleasant, and inexpensive, room for the night.
Breakfast this morning was better than supper last night and, except for being brightly lit at 5 AM and having serious construction noise starting at 6 AM, my room in Trebisov was nice. The total cost for supper, bed, and breakfast was about $50, and, except for the lousy supper, it was a good value. Tonights cost will be half of that since I had supper at a bar - much better food! - and am staying in a pension.
My bike parked for my first break, about 10 km form Vranov
Vranov in the distance behind a field of sunflowers
The road - nominally an expressway - to Vranov had some bad sections. There was heavy traffic with lots of large trucks and on some short sections, half of the pavement is not rideable! Mostly it was OK or even good, but those sections made it dangerous when there was big truck traffic in both directions!
When I got to Vranov, I rode into the center and had beer and a pizza. I ate five of the eight slices and took three with me for snacks. Then I tried to figure out how to ride out of town toward Svidnik. I now think there are three different ways to do that, and only five ways to leave town, but the Slovakian way of signing roads doesn't work well for me. After being rejected by the hotel, I got the woman at the reception desk to tell me how to do it, and, after doing it, I realized that most of the roads leaving town would work.
The sign, several km after leaving Vranov, that told me I was on the right road
A good part of the road to Svidnik runs near this lake
There are two routes from Vranov to Svidnik and they are essentially identical in length. The women that helped me at the OMV station near the Hungarian border insisted that the route using highway 15 was better. I'd ridden about half of the other route and I must say they knew what they were talking about. This route is really pretty, has mostly very good pavement, and is less hilly than the other route. If a lot of TIR trucks weren't using it to get between countries, it would be a really nice bicycle ride. Even with the big truck traffic, I enjoyed the ride.
The worst stretch on 15 was this long, steep, hill with bad pavement and biting flies
This image only shows a small part of the hill, but it is the part where the flies found me
Although the road runs near a beautiful lake for half of its 48 km length, it climbs away from the lake and comes back down to it at least three times. The first climb was the longest and steepest and had bad pavement and biting flies. I was cranking up it at 4 mph with six ugly flies trying to eat me. They weren't very bright, but they sure were annoying, so I stopped and let the bite me when I could safely swat them. I killed three of the six in about a minute and killed a fourth one shortly after I resumed climbing. The other two seemed to lose interest in biting me after that.
It is a very pretty lake and there were lots of recreational users on it and around it today
After the road left the lake there was a little climbing but mostly it was easy bicycling through very pretty country.
A village on the road to Svidnik
15 ends at 73 - the main road to Svidnik and on to Poland - about 6 km south of Svidnik. Riding that 6 km was OK, but less fun than riding 15. In Svidnik, I started looking and asking for places to eat and places to stay. There was a city map that showed several hotels, but it must have been outdated. The only hotel I could find, which wasn't on that map. was full. I refilled my water bottles and rode on. At the north edge of town, I stopped at a bar to have a Zlaty, but they were out of that beer. I stayed to have another kind of beer and a good meal. Then I rode on, looking for possible camping sites, towards the border.
I saw a sign for 'Family Pension' - the first pension sign I'd seen in this part of Slovakia - and started looking for it. It was hard to find, but I finally saw it from the main road and then was able to make my way down and back to it. When I rang the bell, a couple came to greet me. They said they had no rooms. I asked if I could camp in their large back yard. He said sure, she was reluctant.
When I started to set up camp, he came back and said that they did have a room. I had a very good nights sleep and am now going to see about breakfast.