Re: [Slovak-World] A Big Thank you for Traveling in Slovakia tips
- Thank you for posting this info and your trip report--this is really
helpful for me as I am just starting to plan our trip for next year.
On 6/23/2010 11:56 PM, genmom4 wrote:
> Last month, my husband and I were able to visit Slovakia as part of a
> trip that we had been planning for awhile. My parents thought we were
> crazy not to take a tour, while our children thought it was a great
> idea that we were venturing out on our own. I must admit that I do not
> regret one second of our decision to do this on our own. We had a
> fabulous time, and my husband is eager to return sometime in the
> future. (and he is not Slovak!)
> I would certainly be remiss if I did not thank so many supporters on
> this website. First of all, I would like to thank Julie for sending me
> her Slovak Language tips that she had compiled. She gave me the
> encouragement to attempt to learn some Slovak, which came in handy on
> more than one occasion. But, please do not test me on my language
> skills because I have barely scratched the surface.
> Thanks so much to Frank, who wrote to me personally and gave me super
> advice. He was right when he said that I should plan the time and add
> a couple more days. One week was really cutting it short, but we were
> traveling elsewhere as well. Frank suggested the Auto Atlas, which I
> purchased locally at considerably less cost than what I found it
> offered for on any Slovak site. It was the newest addition, and it
> served us well.
> On the auto subject, after the initial fear that was imposed by
> several members regarding driving, I appreciate those same people
> admitting that I should just give it a try. Caye, Ron and Ben soon had
> a real banter going with the driving. Cathie offered me some great
> advice as well. Martin's road sign information and driving tips were a
> huge help.
> Important tips regarding driving were: keep the headlights on at all
> times while driving, be sure you have windshield sticker if you drive
> on the interstate, buy an atlas, and one of my own would be to rent
> the GPS unit. Not only did it save us on several occasions, it also
> shows the area speed limit because we often had difficulty determining
> what speed we should be going. Regarding passing, just move over and
> let them do it!
> I was concerned about theft regarding the rental car, so I planned the
> trip so that every place where we stayed offered some sort of secure
> parking. I had read that one should keep a local newspaper in the
> backseat. Our rental came with two Slovak magazines in the back seat.
> One was an automotive part magazine, and the other, I hate to admit,
> was the Slovak version of Playboy. We hadn't actually realized that
> since the auto magazine had been thrown on top, and I thought my
> husband was going to choke when he went to move them and realized what
> was on the bottom.
> Paul, from Florida, had listed a great site called edreams for finding
> cheaper airfare, and within a day of his posting, I managed to find
> flights that suited exactly what we needed. Our trip took us to Vienna
> through Paris, which had its issues, but all said and done, it worked
> out just fine. We flew out of Philadelphia.
> I was very concerned about theft after some of the postings, so I will
> admit that there were a couple of places where we chose to just drive
> on. One, sadly enough, was Spissky Hrad. We pulled into Spisske
> Podhradie around noon on Pentecost Sunday and the place was barren
> except for a few gypsies. A gypsie woman in the parking lot wanted
> money for us to park, and another gypsie was standing by the trail,
> asking for money to walk up to the castle. Since all of our belongings
> were in the trunk of the car, and there wasn't anyone else around, we
> decided to forego the opportunity to walk up to the castle.
> At Krasna Horka, a gypsy woman sat outside the bathroom looking for
> payment. I had not expected that, but was more than happy to pay the
> 30 cents which gave me the added plus of 3 squares of TP to use.
> We were in Slovakia the 3rd week of May. The weather was unseasonably
> cool and we saw a lot of rain, but we really didn't care about getting
> wet. There were not many tourists, which was my preference. Everyone
> was friendly, the food was excellent, and the prices were low. We
> stayed at one Penzion for 38 Euro...total. And it was a lovely place.
> I do not agree with some of the advice claiming that English is spoken
> everywhere. Even in Old Town Bratislava we ran into proprietors who
> did not speak English. Most restaurants did NOT have an English menu
> counterpart. In Kosice, the staff was fluent in English. Most of the
> tourist sites had English speaking attendants. But, most of the people
> at the Penzions and restaurants where we went did not speak English.
> So, it was a good thing that I learned at least a limited amount.
> Helene was a big help with a lot of her advice regarding all things
> Slovak. I found an excellent site, Tripit.com, where I was able to
> plan out my trip day by day, which made it far easier for me when
> scheduling rooms. I booked everything in advance, and brought copies
> of e-mail confirmations. I was surprised to find establishments that
> had claimed that they wanted cash only, ending up taking a credit card
> without issue. Only the place in Bratislava asked for payment up
> front. I was surprised that so many places did not ask for anything to
> hold the room, and was certainly glad that the room was there when we
> got there!
> Once again, a big thank you to all of you whom I have never met, but
> have played such an important part in helping me plan this trip. And,
> Martin, I do appreciate your constant updates on so many subjects, and
> for introducing my youngest daughter to the culture and language at
> the University. She was a huge support in helping me plan this trip,
> with so much knowledge that she had learned in the class.
> I know this is way too long, but if anyone has made it this far,, and
> would like to read some of my adventures, I have managed to post
> something on a website if you should be interested. This is my first
> attempt at making a website, and I plan to eventually get my genealogy
> on the page, but decided to post this now, because if I wait until I'm
> done, it will be years from now!
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