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Thursday, 11 March 2010

Future; Nostalgic on Tour 2010 Part 5 – Dig Your Heels In!

After another cracking Slovakian breakfast, it was off to Biela Púť again for Mrs Future; Nostalgic to have another ski lesson from our resident ‘tame’ instructor.

Mrs Future; Nostalgic and her instructor at Biela Púť

She said afterwards that whilst she enjoys skiing, she’d enjoy it even more if it weren’t for the speed, the chairlifts or the vertigo she suffers from! She’s game, I’ll give her that (just don't tell her, she'll kill me!).

Our ski correspondent did say Mrs Future; Nostalgic has good technique and does very well, all things considered; that still didn’t stop her cracking up any time her pupil went her full length getting off a stationary chairlift. I blame the parents.

After lunch, we decided a ride on the new Grand Jet gondola might be a good plan, and we were soon winging our way up towards the top station at Brhiská.

We hadn’t been up to Brhliská since our first trip to Jasná, in those days you had to walk to the base station at Otupné (some 200m from the hotel) and ride up in little red, four-seater Tatra Poma gondolas, nicknamed by the resort ski instructors the ‘X-Egg.’ Not so this year – the Grand Jet gondolas seat eight (if you budge up a bit) and whisk you up the mountain in relative comfort, so we were soon wandering around in the snow at the top of the run.

Panoramic view down the Vrbická piste from The Grand Jet top station at Brhliská

Incidentally, when the resort dismantled the ‘X-Egg’ they put the gondolas up for sale at 10 Euros apiece, so I’m told. I would have been so up for owning one had transport costs back to the UK not been prohibitive; I somehow suspect the airline may have noticed as I tried to smuggle one through as carry-on baggage. Anyway, several of the old pods still languish in the snow at the top of the run…

Disused X-Egg pods languish in the snow at Brhliská

…so maybe there’s time yet. Anyone got a van, a passport and could spare me a week?

After a couple of photos to illustrate one method of measuring the depth of snowdrifts, it was off to Bufet Otupnô for refreshments.

Measuring a snowdrift, Future; Nostalgic style

The party interpreter was called for and we soon discovered the guy behind the counter didn’t speak any English, but hang on a minute, his mate in the kitchen did – after a quick swap round we had our food and drinks ordered; he said he’d shout when our sausage was ready so we sat like spaniels, our ears cocked, in case we missed the call.

No need to worry as soon someone was shouting something in Slovak, which we didn’t quite understand…which soon changed to a shout of, “Sausage!”

Our first Slovakian sausage - no idea what it's called, but it's very tasty

Our first Slovakian sausage was extremely nice, it must have been judging by the speed with which it vanished off the plate; I had to fight for each of the three pieces I managed to grab. We’d have probably stayed for another, but we’d promised ourselves a spot of night sledging, so it was already time to hop the Grand Jet back down the mountain, collect our gear and head off to Biela Púť again. At least we had a gondola to ourselves on the way down, so there was an opportunity for photographs.

Skiers on the Vrbická piste seen from the Grand Jet gondola

Approaching the Grand Jet base station

The Grand Jet base station outside the Hotel Grand

Night skiing (and sledging or snow biking) is available at Biela Púť every evening from 6 – 9pm and the lifties even let you take sledges and snow bikes up on the chairlift, if you’re crazy enough to try should you so wish.

Night time view of the piste at Biela Púť

Leaving Mrs Future; Nostalgic and our ski correspondent to tackle that, I headed off to the Julius Meinl café at the bottom of the slope in search of hot chocolate and slivovica; well, I was beginning to feel a bit on the chilly side.

Julius Meinl cafe at Biela Púť

The hot chocolate served at this café is well worth a mention in its own right – it figures high on my list of ‘must haves’ on any trip to Jasná. When I was a kid, almost every café you went into had a sort of juice dispenser behind the counter with a big glass receptacle, the contents of which were stirred by an electric paddle (maybe it’s a UK thing, but I’m sure anyone of a certain age will remember these things), over in Slovakia, the Julius Meinl café has the same sort of machine, but heated and filled with the most wonderful, thick hot chocolate; it’s more like drinking liquid dark chocolate. I think this is the stuff.

Slovakian hot chocolate is usually served with a good dollop of squirted cream on top, and tastes even better if you dispose of the cream (yum!) and then tip in a measure of the local plum spirit slivovica. Do remember to stir it well in as slivovica floats, then drink and feel the cold and any pain you may be suffering just melt away.

Suitably fortified, I ventured back onto the slope just in time to hear Mrs Future; Nostalgic’s dulcet tones wafting through the night air as the sledge with her and our ski correspondent on it thundered into view; I say dulcet tones, what I really mean is screaming at the top of her lungs, “Dig your heels in!” at her driver, who was taking absolutely no notice whatsoever and trying to go as fast as it is humanly possible to go on a sledge with two people on it.

Mrs Future; Nostalgic digging her heels in,
having wrested control of the sledge away from our skiing correspondent

They shot past me like a racecar and only just stopped before going off the end of the piste and finishing up in the lake – looks like the driver had finally dug her heels in.

Our ski correspondent was forthwith banished from said sledge and proceeded to take great delight in driving her snow bike as close to Mrs Future; Nostalgic as possible without colliding; it was noticeable that, now the sledge was under new management, there was a good deal more digging of heels in than previously!

All too soon it was time to give the snow bike back and head off to the hotel for a late dinner. A certain member of our party also decided she would quite like to have a lie down in a darkened room to recover from all that speed.

Coming soon: The Future; Nostalgics head off souvenir shopping in town.



Josie said...

Half of me would be inclined to dig my heels in, and the other half say Sod It, let's enjoy the ride .... miaoowwwwwwwwww zooom down the slopes on That Sledge - and the snow bike is looking quite funky too. Enjoyed the video! :-)

Sam said...

Josie - If I was fit and well I'd go for the...miaoowwwwwwwwww option every time, though I think I'd prefer the snow bike to That sledge.

I'm glad you enjoyed the video, it's my first proper attempt at using Win Movie Maker.

R.E. Wolf said...

I'll need to come back when I have access to audio, but Mrs. F;N is what we'd call a brave trooper!

Laura Eno said...

What a wonderful video you put together, Sam! Excellent!

As usual, I'm starving after reading your blog. Must go find sausages...

Sam said...

R.E. Wolf - A brave trooper? Mrs F;N will like that I think. There again, she does claim to do all this stuff for fun.

One word about the audio, to spare Mrs F;N's blushes I added a soundtrack to cover the screaming! ;)

Laura Eno - Thank you! I've just started learning how to use Win Movie Maker, but I'm pretty pleased with the results so far.

I'm beginning to think I need to start providing recipes with my Slovakian posts! ;)

Marisa Birns said...

Absolutely adored your video! The credits cracked me up!

I am a little disappointed about the Silence of the Screams part, but I understand :)

All looked like great fun.

Sam said...

Marisa Birns - Thanks Marisa, I'm really pleased you enjoyed the video and credits. I'm planning to post some more video footage as I have a load of stuff shot on the helmetcam to sort through yet.

I would have left the screaming in, but it was more than my life's worth!

phonelady said...

You are still on vacation or holiday as they call it in foreign countries ? wow you are lucky, looks like you are having loads of fun . take care and have a great holiday .

PostMuse said...

Slivovica! I have fond memories ... no, wait ... NO memories of my first experience!

The gondola photos are gorgeous. Orange in the first is so warm and the yellow in the second rather steampunk.

And I have never seen a snow bike, but would have loved to have had one in January when my daughter got married on a mountain in Maine ... on skis.

isllands said...

Hello Sam,
so another Slovak lesson about food:D the sausage is called "klobása" and we have so many kinds of these:) some are very spicy, what is definetely Hungarian influence, and others are very delicate. the best "street" choice is hot sausage with mustard and fresh bread:)

Sam said...

phonelady - Sadly, we're not on vacation any more. We've been home around three weeks and it's taken me every spare minute to write up my travel journal notes in order to post the diary of our trip. BTW, you're quite right, we "foreigners" refer to vacations as holidays. lol! :)

PostMuse - Funnily enough...I had a similar experience!

Thanks for those kind words about the photos, they were both supposed to be orange as they were taken through the gondola windows, why the second one went yellow beats me.

Married on skis, hey? I bet that was fun. Many congratulations to your daughter and yes, I can imagine you having great fun on a snowbike.

isllands - Thank you again, that's another mystery solved. You are most certainly correct, you do have many kinds of sausages in Slovakia - I have yet to try one I didn't like, they're all delicious. :)

There should have been mustard on the plate in the photo, the mustard sachet was being opened as I took the picture.

I think my favourite street food in Slovakia is langoš and I have a couple of photos of them to post soon.

Thank you so much for your help with the names of things in Slovak, I really do appreciate it. :D

Anne Tyler Lord said...

Oh, I loved your video and credits, too. The sledge and snow bike look fun!

I really want sausages and hot chocolate like that - I'm now so hungry!

I am enjoying your travelogue so much. I'm so happy to see that your travel woes turned into great fun, food and adventure for all!

isllands said...

lol, oh my goodness, you know "langoš", that is brilliant:) yes, I agree, this one is the best, especially with "like-sauce-crushed" garlic, cheese and ketchup. or just plain:) if you are interested, I can send you recipe and you can make it at home:D

Sam said...

Anne Tyler Lord - Thanks for those kind words about my video, I think it's OK for a first attempt. I have been told to tell you that the snowbike is LOTS of fun!

Sorry if I keep making you hungry, but I had to mention the hot chocolate as it was absolutely gorgeous; not sure how well it would go with sausages though. ;)

Yes, once we finally got there, Slovakia turned out to be just as lovely as I remembered it.

More adventures coming soon...

isllands - Yes, that is how I like to eat langoš too. :D

Yes please, I would very much like to have a recipe for langoš so I can make it at home - I have told many people in the UK about it, but have not been able to make any for them to try.

If you could send me the recipe I would appreciate it - would you mind if I post the recipe on my blog?

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