Levoča is another small Slovakian town with a well-preserved, historic town center. I arrived in early evening and took this picture of the old town hall and the church of St. James.
Here is the old town hall in daylight.
St. James Church is famous for its Gothic painted wooden altarpiece, which is the largest of its kind in Europe. The alterpiece is undergoing extensive restoration at present, so I was not able to see much through the plastic rwap
From Levoca, I set out to visit the ruins of Spis Castle, one of the largest catles in Europe. It still looks impressive, perched high upon a hill.
This is the main gate to the upper bailey of the castle.
The upper bailey affords great views of the surrounding countryside.
Here is the lower bailey of the castle, viewed from on high.
The square Romanesque tower is reasonably well preserved.
Much of the rest of the castle is in a greater state of disrepair.
Finally, here are some of the fortifications in the lower bailey.
In the early afternoon, the sky started to darken, and there was a brief period of rain, during which I took shelter in one of the castle buildings. After that subsided, I headed back downhill. When I was partway down, the skies opened up, together with thunder and lightning, and I got completely soaked. It took over an hour for the bus back to Levoca to show up, but thankfully the bus stop provided shelter from the rain.
My plan for the next few days was to do some hiking, both in the lowlands and in the mountains of the High Tartas. Looking at the weather forecast, however, I saw rain and thunderstorms every day for the forseeable future. I grudgingly decided to change my plans and bought a train ticket for Prague.
Although I only spent three nights in Slovakia, and much of what I saw was out the window of a train or a bus, I absolutely fell in love with the country. It is a really beautiful place, and I cannot wait to go back. Hopefully the weather will be better next time.