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Published: July 18th 2017
Ok! Finally caught up and, fingers crossed, wifi is still good. Day 12 - Off to Slovakia
Right, so, Canadian geography perspective here. The actual distances aren't nearly as bad as my example, but just to picture the back n' forth I'm doing because I fail lol. I was in "Quebec City" (Eger) and going to "northern Newfoundland" (Presov, Slovakia). I was supposed to be able to take a train Quebec City to New Brunswick up to Newfoundland... but no, don't let me book it online, and no don't arrive until 11pm when check-in closes at 7pm for my hotel... that's cool. Instead I took the train from "Quebec" to "Ottawa" only to get on a bus from "Ottawa" to "Newfoundland" (only 5 hours in reality though, so not HORRIBLE, but still). So, I'm at peace with this choice. Then this morning I look at the schedule for the bus.
The damn bus stops like 30 minutes east of "Quebec" ... I could have just taken a train back to Miskolc and caught the stupid bus there. Major fail on my part lol.
Anyway, my journey day ended up being pleasant enough. While waiting for the train
to Budapest this cute old man came up to me and started talking. I shrugged, 'english? francais?' and to my absolute shock he started going full-tilt in English.
"Where are you from?" Canada "Canada! Oh I love Canada! What part of Canada?" Ottawa "Is that east coast or west coast?" It's east... but more in the middle "East of Saskatchewan?"
lolwut. I don't think I've ever met ANYONE outside of Canada who guesses Saskatchewan while talking about Canada.
Anyway, I told him it's near Montreal and we were in business. Turns out he used to travel to Canada and the US every so often with work. He used to work for military/defence and he also speaks fluent Chinese. He told me about some of his travels to Asia which was interesting. He then wanted to hear all about my time in Hungary and he thought it was so funny that I was travelling alone and chose Hungary of all places. He was off to enjoy the sun on Lake Balaton (where I'd been before) and wished me well on the rest of my journey. He was so freakin' cute.
Train ride was uneventful. Got to see
lots of sunflower fields again. I had some time to kill in Budapest, so I went to McD's to get wifi (might help if I knew where my hotel in Presov is...) and a clean bathroom. Bus ride was fine until we got to Kosice. The driver, in broken English, told me I had to change busses. I wasn't supposed to change busses - I showed him my ticket again and he's like "no gas" ... awesome lol. He told me to "sit wait here good. wait not long" as if that was supposed to help me. I sat there running options through my head but I figured I'd give it 20 minutes before just going to the train station next door (Presov is only like 30min away)
Then this other guy (from the original bus) panickly runs up to me and is like "Presov! Presov come!" and he freakin' bolts down the ENTIRE length of the bus station. I have my travel backpack. I don't like running even without a backpack. I was not impressed. Dude basically flags down another bus going to Vienna(??) and I hear him telling the driver something in Slovakian and then he tells
me to get on. At this point I'm like hey what the heck... either I get to Presov or I'll be very angry in very beautiful Vienna. Thankfully he did stop in Presov 😉
For someone who hates taking taxis, I've been pleasantly surprised that in Eger and here in Presov neither driver ripped me off. (5 euro and 4 euro fares respectively). The hotel is super cute! It's like mini-apartments and the decorations are like out of a magazine. Not bad for ~29 euro a night. The tradeoff is the door is like impossible to lock haha. Took me 5 minutes just so I could go grab food.
Presov is an adorable little town. I'll talk about it tomorrow. I quickly explored the main pedestrian area before grabbing some supper - mmmm donairrrrrrr with all the random vegetables on it - corn, tomato, pickle, cucumber, crisp red cabbage, some sort of onion like substance that tastes better than how I described it lol and (good) oily coleslaw. Honestly, one of my best travel 'traditions' is trying donairs/shwarma in every country. They all put something different on them and they all taste amazing so win-win! Day 13
- Kosice and Presov
Kosice is really pretty..! Presov is very similar in terms of architecture and feel to it, just it's a lot smaller and thus a lot cozier. I'm glad I'm staying in Presov.
So this morning I headed into Kosice - I had fun with the train... seems times are more of a suggestion which is good to know. Also they don't announce stations, signage is meh and they don't list the station stops anyway. All that to say plan ahead if you're coming this way and aren't quite sure what you're doing lol. Thankfully Kosice is end of the line - but I did try and take note of Kysak since that's what I need for my connections every other day this week.
Once in Kosice I spent the afternoon in and around the main pedestrian area, as I so often do. I wanted to visit the old prison, but it's closed on Monday, sigh.
The Cathedral is beautiful, as they tend to be. It dominates the pedestrian area. I found it quite light and bright inside compared to similar buildings... made for better pictures than usual at least. All the statues
and figures were really beautiful and the attention to detail is just bar none.
There were a few other big old buildings around with interesting plaques, statues around detailing for me to snap away at. Down the entire middle of the road is patches of park and garden - beautifully maintained flowers, green grass, benches everywhere. And on the outside are all the patios for all the restaurants, cafes and bars. It's such a social setting and I love it and it annoys me that Ottawa doesn't have something truly on par.
Pigeons were bathing at the very tip top of a tall fountain. While looking at them I had one of my strange thoughts... have you ever seen a baby pigeon? Or a small/young one? I haven't. And that thought weirded me out.
To calm my thought of the day I got a giant ice cream (pistachio and nugat pls n thnks) and sat in the glorious shade for a bit. That's something else that's omnipresent - ice cream stands. And it's cheap and it's a million times better than what we buy in Canada. As I went to get up, I noticed the windows on
one of the buildings looked like a face... I love random weird things.
I walked back down towards where I'd started - there are giant fountains that seem to splash in tune with music being played out of speakers. It's too bad I wasn't staying until dark - they had all sorts of lights underneath and I'm sure it's stunning at night.
From there I made my way back into the giant park near the train station where I read another chapter of my book before doing some groceries and heading back to Presov.
In Presov I didn't do much other than retrace my steps from yesterday and actually bring my camera to take pictures of all the statues and little details. Like I said, it's really cozy here. I meandered around the pedestrian area - there was a choir practice or something going on inside the Cathedral, so I didn't intrude. There's a statue of Pope JPII nearby and there is a Jesus at the beginning of the pedestrian zone too. It feels like a really religious town - there are a few other churches in the main area and there are a lot of little
shops that sell figurines, rosaries, etc etc.
There are a lot of other small (non-religious) statues around the area, along with gardens, fountains and flowers galore. I think my favourite statue is the giant horse though - apparently Presov is known as "horse keepers" so I'm assuming that's why they have the giant horse. It's made out of horseshoe shapes - cool little detail there.
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