Sunday, January 26, 2014

Here's the deal.  We don't need a car here.  Really we don't. We can go almost everywhere via bus. The bus goes to the castles, museums, every city, and most tourist spots.  However where it does not go is the Thermal Spa Sklené Teplice.  So, we rented a car so I could go to the spa. (I'm feeling a little bit "American" here, so don't tease.....)

To get a car, we had to walk to the Nitra bus terminal (about 6 blocks) to go to Bratislava on a bus.  We then had to take two city busses to the airport to rent the car.  The car was 25 euros a day. The car was a Renault Mégane, a hatchback, that was basic.  However, this basic car had backup assistance, heated seats and all the bells and whistles for entertainment (bluetooth etc). It was also a 5-speed. I want to say thank you right now to Bryan Reed, a high-school boyfriend who taught me to drive a stick when I was 15. The car was speedy!  I had forgotten how much fun it is to drive a stick.

Anyway, I was off and tootling down the road, looking at all the sights and tying to understand the road signs when I  crossed the Austrian boarder while on the Autobahn. This caused me to go across country boarders without the correct sticker thingy, which means that Austrian/German engineering will surely have picked this fact up with the 100 or so cameras they had aimed at the car as I drove through. Apparently this sticker thingy is called a Vignette. According to some blog, The fine should come in about 4 months and will be around 200 Dollars.  Oh goody.

Below you can see some of the more confusing signs.  Thank you to the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic for leeting me use these on my blog.

Not the Highway?
Anyway, got turned around, and took  Austrian side roads back across (no sticker thingy required).  The plus of all of this (if there was one) is that I could read the German road signs! Anyway, about 1.5 hours later, I parked the car at our apartment.  To get into the apartment complex with a car, we had to know/remember the gate code.  This was a problem, 'till the landlord texted me the code.

Whef! What a hassle.  I was already regretting the car idea.

  Small Airport? Windy?
The next day we took off, and promptly took some side road that went about 30 minutes out of our way.  It took us through some VERY small towns and a lot of farm land.  In fact, Caden suggested that this part of Slovakia looked like Iowa.  It did, albeit the strange type of houses they have here: rolling hills, soybean looking plants and farm equipment.  However, the houses here are all stucco or stone, and all have red tile roofs.  It was nice, but it was NICER to get on the highway and make up some time.

The speed limits here are 130 km, which roughly translates to about 80 miles an hour.  Despite it being posted all over the place, apparently the limit is only a suggestion, because I (no slouch in the speeding department) was getting passed like I was standing still.  The drivers also ride your ass.  I mean seriously, and you are in the process of  switching lanes as they are passing you. I, however, was NOT going to speed, because while Slovakian engineering may not be as world known as German/Austrian, they probably have figured out cameras to pick up speeding. Plus,  I figured 200 some dollars for one ticket already was plenty.

I love this one.
Anyway, soon I got the GPS on line and actually working.  The spa was a bit less than an hour away, and the Autobahn D1 was really nice: four lane, marked well, and runs through three mountain ranges:  Low Tatras, the Veľká Fatra, and the Kremnica Mountains.  It was really pretty.

Remember, the reason for this car excursion was a spa.  Oh. My. God. It was really amazing. I was VERY pleased I had gotten the car!  We hung there for a couple of hours, and then heading to a nearby city called Banská Bystrica.  After hanging there for a while, we headed home for the 1 hour and 15 minute ride.

Sunday we took off first thing and headed to Bratislava for some site seeing. I had used a half of tank of gas by the time we needed to return the car, and $54.00 Euros later (!!) I had the car filled up.

 So here's the deal.  We don't need a car here. Really we don't.  We can go almost everywhere via bus.  Except the spa.


the old man in south texas said...

I know what the first two road signs mean, Autobahn ends and side winds, but the third no idea. I am now curious as to what it is. Glad your having time to do a little exploring prior to your teaching starts.

the old man in south texas said...

The third one is a warning sign and it maybe specific to Slovakia. Maybe warning you to look out for falling cars. LOL. Can't find a good translation for it other than warning sign. Was it in the mountains? Oh well.

Mrs. P's Blog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs. P's Blog said...

I tried to say I think the third sign warns of a rollover danger probably due to a sharp curve. I don't know why Google resurrected a long-ago teaching blog name to use for my identity! I am an adjunct prof at RWU now.

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