How did my return to Slovakia work out?
It was excellent.
I had an Airbnb apartment most of the time. It was spacious, comfortable, quiet and well located. I had bakeries/coffee shops within 150m, and restaurants just 10 minutes walk away. It was a big success.
I stayed a couple of nights at the Park Inn Danube. It was a big success too. I had stayed there several times in the late 1990s, so being back after such a long absence was weird – but in a positive way. Their staff were excellent, and so were their breakfasts. I paid €97.92 for the first night and £82.80 the second time. Both rates were for a superior room with a river view, and included breakfast.
I really enjoyed the food everywhere I tried, and my memories of lunches in the Ministry of Justice staff canteen have been pushed aside. The local beer and wine are excellent too.
The people I dealt with were friendly and helpful in spite of my minuscule Slovak vocabulary.
My Authentic Slovakia tour was a real highlight. We had 3 hours being guided and driven around the city – post Communist elements to the fore – by Peter in his 1970s Škoda. It was special. It is not a cheap option at €57.50 (per person, with 2 passengers in the car), but well worth it.
My travel was with Ryanair from Edinburgh to Bratislava. BTS is compact, and relatively close to the city centre. In my limited experience it was efficient and user friendly too. My flight cost £119.96 return, using Ryanair’s 20kg checked in bag fare.
Covid 19… what travel experience can ignore it at the moment?
Slovakia relaxed its travel restrictions a week or so before my trip. That was disappointing, because it opened travel up to the unvaccinated and increased the risks for the rest of us. Internal restrictions were relaxed the day after I arrived, and prior to that an FFP2 mask had been compulsory in any indoor public space. That concerned me less, because I can choose if I want to go into a busy cafe or restaurant.
Ryanair was still requiring face masks on my flight home, but about 30% of passengers did not bother. The cabin crew did nothing about it, but of course they did have to wear masks.
I wore my mask on buses and on the plane. I also wore it it in busier parts of Bratislava Airport such as checkin and security. I did the same in Edinburgh Airport, where masks had become optional too.
I was quite relaxed about people not wearing masks in Slovakia because their infection rates are much lower than in the UK, and so was the risk of infection. I make no apologies for stating the obvious, since so many people do not seem to grasp it.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2022