Up there in the top ten coolest things I've seen my entire trip. But first a little history: The fort has its roots back in the 13th Century, but was made into a proper fortress with walls and turrets in 1572, with moats and bigger walls coming in sometime between 1650 and 1660 to guard against the Turks. Fast forward to the second half of the 20th century and you find the place occupied by the Soviets, with all the mod cons like light fittings, machine guns and a swimming pool full of pickles. When the Velvet Revolution came in 89, the commies left and the Czechoslovakian army moved in and set up shop. When they got bored of guarding nothing, they took all the lights, guns and pickles and left the place in 1991. Since then, it has only been opened to the public once a year and twice for a couple of small, open-air music concerts, but the place has pretty much been kept under lock and key the last 15 years. A combination of decent security (der, it's a fort), and city officials with that "go-getting ex-Soviet gunna" attitude has kept the site pretty much as it was left back in 1991. One of the buildings on the outside of the walls has been polished up and is now being used by the local uni, but all the stuff within the fort is vanilla.
Somehow, whether it be by an error of security or a change in admittance policy, I found myself on the more interesting side of the front gates at Komárno Fort. They were wide open and I just rode on in with Frankenbike and was given no friction. The place is so big and quiet with literally hundreds of little rooms, hidden stairways and catacombs to explore. It's the sort of place Wizard dreams of going to after he buys a new Maglight. As I had already planned to meet Joli for a tour of the old city walls, I only had an hour or so to explore, but that hour was well used and I took a whole bunch of photos. Needless to say finding this place has got me out of a stink of a mood I've been in for the last week and has made this part of the trip a little shinier. And yes I had my phone with me just incase there was a repeat of St Vitus in Prague. Before I leave Komárno on Saturday, I'll go back to th fort with the video camera and make an angsty metal music video there. Now where's my wig, leather jaket and tight black pants?
Other stuff floating through my head:
- Can I have one of these installed the back of a Skoda 110R, or does the engine get in the way?
- Hungarians traditionally don't clink their beer glasses together when saying "Egészségedre" (cheers), in remembrance of their top generals being executed by the Austrian army 150 years ago.
- When an animated movie with celebrity voices like Toy Story or Shark Tale comes to a place like Germany or Russia where films are dubbed into the local language, do equally famous locals re voice it or do they just get a couple of fat guys in a studio to do the whole thing?
- How are the Mt Panorama kids planning to commemorate Brocky this weekend? Like this over shadowing this, Brock just couldn't compete with Steve Irwin, so his death missed the attention it deserved. A fitting tribute would be an XU1 Torana doing a few doughies on Conrod, then performing a lap of honor with his coffin sitting between a couple of cartons in the boot, held closed by occy straps (the boot, not the coffin).
- In Austria, the usage of "von" before a family's surname was outlawed in 1918, meaning that The Sound of Music has lied to me.. Again.