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Re: [Slovak-World] A Big Thank you for Traveling in Slovakia tips

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  • MaryLou V. Crouch
    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. Marylou ... [Non-text
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 24, 2010
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      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!
      > http://home.comcast.net/~geismom/Gallivanting_Geismom/Ancestral_Homeland.html
      > <http://home.comcast.net/%7Egeismom/Gallivanting_Geismom/Ancestral_Homeland.html>
      > Barbara
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