Trip Start Jul 16, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Slovakia  ,
Friday, August 8, 2008

Finally time to leave Hungary.

I walked to a corner near the railway station with my suitcase because I seemed to remember that that's what I'd arranged the day before... and out of the blue one of the Vietnamese Esperantists wanders past on the way to the station! She was on the same train going to the same Esperanto event in Slovakia. What a coincidence!

Anyhow, I sent Péter an sms and before long he was there too.

I'd got the time of the train wrong so we had time for a few beers and some interesting Hungarian take-away food before the train was due to leave.

One major stop before Braislava - Gyor. The usual backpackers getting off the train at similar stations all over Europe.

A very pleasant journey. I can't imagine living in Europe and not wanting to take a trip like this every chance I got. Though even the Europeans only want to go to the same places - Greece , Spain etc. for the sun. I think they don't really like each other that much - hey isn't that why Zamenhof invented Esperanto?!


Area around the railway station is certainly pretty grotty with some pretty desperate and strange faces hanging around. But they were friendly enough as I'd been lead to believe that one could walk to the bus stop for Modra but it turned out to be a fair way and the locals were urging us to take a bus, which we did do. I needed some change for the ticket vending machine and I tried the newspaper kiosk but the woman there refused... so I bought a newspaper. She asked which one do I want? I said any one will do. I suppose the sare sort of thing happens everywhere but if you have vending machines near the Central Station surely you need to make it easy for travellers to make change.

Anyway, where was I off to? Well, a (the) major website into getting people to learn Esperanto - and indeed successfully teaching people Esperanto - had organised a get-together of users in combination with a week long school of Esperanto. I wasn't so much thinking about signing up for the courses but i had some time to kill in Europe and it's close to Szombathely so I thought I'd check it out.

So there I was on my way to Modra. It's only about 25 km from Bratislava so after about an hour I thought I'd better ask someone how far to go or whether we'd already passed it. Anyway, by the time i asked we were in Modra and our stop was next. Perfect!

Though a bit worrying as I could imagine others turning up on the bus and not knowing any Slavonic language, having a tough time asking for info.

Downtown Modra.

The statue of an archtypical Slav type where we were supposed to get off the bus... trouble is you only noticed the statue once you were off the bus.

More of Modra.

The do was in Modra-Harmonia but as I wasn't intending on staying up in the convention centre or whatever it was, I set about finding a hotel in town. It turned out to be just up from the bus-stop. Pleasant enough room... Especially for the price. I think I even liked it more than the expensive room I had in Rotterdam. Once I'd checked in and wandered back to the bus-stop the Vietnamese woman was still waiting for the bus to Modra-Harmonia but once she heard the price of the hotel in town - €13, and given that the Esperanto gathering didn't start for a couple of days, she decided to stay in town as well.

The scene in Modra.

I was still curious about where this place was and what it was like so we went for a walk up into the hills. Again the directions were a bit dodgy. It was indeed really easy to find if you kept to the road but there was mention of a tourist trail which turned out to be rather confusing if you didn't know what you were looking for. Though there were plenty of these impressive villas up in the hills. No doubt holiday homes for the rich from nearby Bratislava.

We eventually found the convention centre and it is indeed a surprisingly big building out in the middle of no-where. I was pleased to see a really nice restaurant/café nearby with lots of outdoor seating and table service. It looks like being my new home away from home.

Now my only problem is that the hotel near the convention centre is full till Monday and my hotel in town only has room for me for two days. I'l have to search around tomorrow for some more suitable digs. Everyone else is probably staying in the convention centre or in student accommodation nearby, but as is my usual custom, I like to find a nearby hotel - and at these prices, why not?!
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