Friday, December 02, 2011

Passport pirouette: In and out of Slovakia, again and again

Slovak passport stamps ... lots of them
I have completely lost track of the number of times I have exited and re-entered Slovakia over the years, but of course particularly during the year that I lived there. I had to look up Bratislava on a map after accepting a job there (some might argue these steps should have been reversed, but I was young and easily pleased back then), but I soon discovered that it was in a really great location.

I've seen tourist advertising (and heard from locals themselves) which claim Slovakia is the centre of Europe. A quick glance at Wikipedia's entry on the geographical midpoint of Europe tells you there are long-running disputes about where this might be, but sadly Slovakia doesn't quite feature - but just the same, it is certainly in a very central location, and the capital of Bratislava is fantastic because it is less than an hour by train to Vienna (which makes them, disputes notwithstanding, the two closest capital cities in the world). From my balcony in Slovakia, I could see across the borders to both Austria and Hungary. How cool is that?

That's the view from my balcony - in the direction of Hungary - but obviously you need better weather to begin to imagine that Hungary's over there. In any case, the central location of Slovakia made it the ideal base for a year of travels and that's what helped fill up my passport pages with Slovak stamps like the ones above. Most commonly, I would hop on a train and take a day trip to Vienna, but I also drove up to the Czech Republic a few times and down to Hungary a couple of times too, all the while collecting Slovak stamps. Sadly now that all these countries have joined the EU, the days of filling up your passport with these stamps are over, so I'm quite pleased to have them all as a souvenir of my travels.


  1. I have a couple of slovak stamps too, and yes, it's a shame not to have so many stamps in the passport - specially since most of my travel is within Europe.

  2. Absolutely agree Jenny - it feels like we're not travelling anymore!!


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