Hiking to Pajstún Castle

It seems to me that Slovak people hike a lot. And why not when you have some of the best sceneries Europe has to offer. We don't hike very much in Finland even though most of our vast country is covered in forests and hills. The typical hiker in Finland is the extreme kind: they go to Lapland alone with the mosquitos in the autumn for a very quiet, very long hike.

Not here! Here they gather a group of people for a hike and the group rarely stays quiet. There are hundreads of hiking routes in Slovakia, some of them starting right in the borders of Bratislava. That's where we started our hike, following the little blue markers on the trees that resemble a piece of the Finnish flag.

The views on the way... I have never seen anything like it. We don't have proper mountains in Finland. I've seen the Scottish highlands but that's completely different. These scenery was (can't find a better word) awesome! I could've stood there staring at the mountains for hours.

In the picture above you can see, between the two big branches our final destination: the ruins of the Pajstún castle. At that point we were maybe half way there. From that point onwards the hike got a tad more extreme: we went up the hill and we came down the hill and we went up again, but this time the hills were pretty much vertical and consisted mostly of gravel, which made them rather dangerous for someone with crippled knees like me or someone wearing sandals instead of trainers like Laci. We slipped and we sloped and we fell all over the place but in the end managed to get down all in one piece. 

The expression says: SPIDERS, THERE ARE SPIDERS HERE!!!

 Just before we reached the castle there was a sign (in Slovak only, obviously...) saying that there are stones falling from the castle walls. It didn't help matters when we saw the gateway into the castle. I was thinking, if this thing doesn't collapse on at least one of us I'll be a donkey.


Donkey says hi!

When we finally made it to the top of the castle I truly felt like a winner. And the prize was the view... Amazing! They say a picture says a thousand words but in this case that's bullshit. You can get no idea of what it was like standing up there from the pictures, unless you've actually been there yourself. The vastness of everything could never fit into a picture.

See the stick on top of the hill on the left side of the picture below? That's Bratislava there. I still can't quite comprehend that we walked from there....

How could anyone ever have been able to build anything, let alone a castle in a place like that (a heap of rocks in the middle of nowhere in this case) I do not understand. The castle was built in 13th century. Walking around the area I came to the conclusion that no princess has ever been able to live there! She would've been tripping in her dress all over the place because the area was so grassy, rocky and uneven. Turns out the point of the castle was more a watch tower than a residence of any princesses. Basically there used to be castles like this in a "row" so that they could warn each other when the enemy was coming... just like they did with the fires in Lord of the Rings! :D

Anyway, the castle was destroyed in a fire, like always. And now it's falling apart up there. But apparently it's a popular destination for mountain climbers who climb up the crumbling walls... I could think of easier ways to commit suicide!


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