Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Househunting - February 2006

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Mlyn in late summer
A 30th birthday party in Bratislava, and Saturday free to visit 2 properties in Western Slovakia - actually, Myjava.
The first an old mill (Mlyn) set in a hamlet near the village of Lubina - found (as all of them on the internet) and the second a piece of land quite a bit further north but with an amazing view over a river to mountains.
Not just househunting but quite an adventure as I've never had to drive either a Skoda before (legs too long for this otherwise good Octavia) or in the snow, which is packed solid and topped with ice once we leave the highway - and banked either side of the road in huge piles.

The 1st photo above was posted with the ad' and the place looked wonderfully atmospheric - almost like a castle. What they showed of the interior was also intriguing; large beamed ceilings, stone walls and even a bust of Lenin on the mantlepiece. Our visit only served to confirm 1st impressions, even though it was just a touch colder!
Mlyn in February 2006
Everything looked just perfect - until we reached the upstairs. Obviously when this thing was built, the accumulated effects of malnutrition over many years had meant that the locals were a LOT smaller! In most rooms I had to bend to get around, and while M didn't have the same problem, this was a big disappointment.
My mind played the usual tricks on me; 'it's only a holiday home, so you can handle the discomfort for a couple of weeks a year' etc etc.... The only other downside was the lack of land included in the sale. The estate agent of course said that the neighbours would probably sell, so this, together with the charm of the place then counterbalanced my misgivings about the ceiling height.
Mlyn - interior
This is going to take some serious thinking.... perfect location in beautiful countryside only about 90km from Bratislava, great character, good view to hills on the other side of the valley, a stream bubbling its way down the hill in front... etc etc
But hey, we still have some land to see....

Our 2nd real property that we'd wanted to visit was not on the itinerary however; while only around 20km from the mlyn, the owner was too busy to show it on the only day we had, but the upside was he mentioned that he wouldn't be bothering showing anyone else either before the snow melted - so should be safe for a while.
So, another 100 and something km further north to view 'the view' ...
The view in the ad
So, how could we resist it !?
What looks like a lake is actually a river bending its way through the semi-mountains. A view was one of our major criteria for a holiday place, and with 3,000m2 of land this looked ideal.
Now getting to the land was not so obvious. Basically a long trudge uphill through deep snow - but no pain, no gain. The setting was just as beautiful -if not more- with the snow as in the photo above... with a couple of caveats.
Firstly, the area we'd driven through to get here was rather industrial... and, what's that noise ..? Ah, a railway line running along the banks of the river - transporting the materials for and the products of this industry.
View in February 2006
Shame. But the 2 hour drive from Blava, the industrial nature of the area and the railway down the hill just cancelled out the beauty of the place and it was easy to cross this one off our list.
Househunting is often full of disappointment, especially when you have been building expectations and dreams at a distance for some time. But hey, we have a party to go to so we'll get over it.
Just a last mention here for our estate agent. He was a dedicated man, clambering with us through the snow to show a relatively cheap piece of land on a Saturday afternoon. Thanks to him - even though our drive together (as far as we could go by car) would have been more pleasant had he washed just once the previous week.
Maybe I'm biased because although he prattled away all the time to M, I was left to appraise the land 'visually', and I did check the boot of the car for axes and made sure to stay well behind him as you will understand from this photo.....

End of our 1st day househunting in Slov.


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