30 August 2008

Finally in Slovakia

The trip was happily uneventful – I had some food at Dulles, got on the plane and lucked out that the middle seat in my row was empty, and then had a layover in Vienna for about 5 hours and then finally got to Košice around 3pm I think. I took a taxi to Prešov and met Vlasta at the apartment.

On the plane, I watched Dan in Real Life and Love in the Time of Cholera. Just before I left, I saw the new Woody Allen film Vicky Christina Barcelona, so there’s been a lot of Javier Bardem in my pop culture consciousness lately, and I must say, I like it that way! Love in the Time of Cholera was so, so wonderful and almost a tear-jerker, which for me is saying a lot.

Watching movies was nice after the relative stress that occurred in Pittsburgh when I checked in. My ticket was obviously for more than a 90-day stay, and so the United agent asked me where my visa was. I explained to her my whole situation, which didn’t help as I had to pay a substantial fee to change my ticket date so that the airline wouldn’t be liable, and I’ll have to pay it again to change it back to the date that I want to come home. Eventually, I’ll write the whole epic visa story, because not only is it interesting, I know other people can benefit from knowing how the process worked for me. At this point, it’s far from over.

Last night, Vlasta said, sleep until noon or 1 if you have to -- and I thought, there's no way I will! But I woke up in the middle of the night and sent some e-mails and wrote a bit, and then did in fact sleep until about noon! Today she took me to the bus station and train station and showed me how to use the trolleybuses from the apartment to the center, which was really super helpful.

Then on the way back, we went to this place right by here called Max, which is this really big brand-new (less than a year old) American-style mall. Whichever way I look at it, it's development and is not necessarily a bad thing. We got some pizza there, which was really excellent -- ham, mushrooms and corn on one half and 4 cheeses on the other -- one of the cheeses was like brie maybe and maybe mozzarella, and I don't know what the other 2 may have been. I love local iterations of pizza -- there's the home of pizza in Naples, and then the world's interpretations.

I'm going to Ružomberok on Monday.

13 August 2008


This year's camping was excellent, though rainy. I want to post some pictures, but until I do, here's a map of the route Peggy and I paddled from our site to the launch. As the crow flies, it's 3.8 miles, but the route we took was definitely more like 4 miles.

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