The picturesque port of Geiranger, Norway!
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Hellesylt, Norway!

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Exploring southwestern Norway until July 26th.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Welcome to Slovakia, and a traveler mistake!

Once again, Slovakia is not a new country for us. We were here for almost three weeks in August 2012. This will be a much faster visit, although we are in a different part of the country than we were then so we are seeing some new scenery.

There are a couple of things we need to do when we enter a new country. The first is to make sure we have cellular data access, and the second is to make sure we have local cash!

So we headed for the border around 10:00am. Hungary and Slovakia are both part of the European Union (EU) and the Schengen zone, so there is no actual stop at the border. You simply drive from one country to the next.

It was yet another beautiful day. 
High of 27C (81F) with mostly sunny skies.

Entering into Slovakia.

Slovakian village.

Another village.

Once again, we stayed off the motorways.

Scenery along the way.

Another village.

The first fair sized town we came to was Rimavská Sobota (pop 24,000). We parked at a grocery store on the outskirts and walked into the center. Found an Orange cell store where we bought a SIM card with 10 GB of data for €10 ($13.40 CAD, $10.45 USD). Not bad, but certainly more expensive than Romania. Still far cheaper than Canada.

This SIM card will work for us until we get on the ferry to Norway because of an EU roaming agreement. We will just have to top up the data with another 10 GB for €10.

We also carry a Keepgo Cellular data device that works in over 100 countries around the world. Data for this device is expensive, however we use it for emergency only when arriving in a new country. Still, I need to renew it once a year, and for this convenience we pay $79 USD ($101 CAD) for 5 GB of data that never expires. For a once a year expense, we like the convenience of never being without a connection no matter where we go. 

Then, we stopped at an ATM and got some euros. We normally carry some anyhow, so we're not worried if we got too much. We don't actually spend a lot of cash, preferring to use our credit card wherever possible.

Ruth and a fountain.

Modern apartment buildings.
"What's your address?"
"Oh, it's the green building, #22".
Pretty easy to avoid any confusion there!

Old building in the town square.

We went into a big Tesco grocery store. Fruit and veggies are definitely more expensive that what we are used to. Fresh strawberries... for €9 a kilo! Yikes. That's $5.45 CAD ($4.25 USD) per pound.

Scenery along the way.


They are building a new toll road through this area.

Found a nice overnight spot for Max near the old castle (now a hotel) at the village of Viglas. Nothing special, but an okay spot to spend the night.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about a little error we have made. 

It's a traveler mistake, and we're not immune to them! Normally, we are very aware of the expiry dates of various cards and documents. Well, I went to log on to our bank account, and they told me that they have sent new debit cards because ours expire soon. I checked our cards and sure enough, they expire at the end of June! We would have taken care of this when we were in Canada last September, but it just never crossed our minds.

So, our new cards are likely waiting for us at our residence address in Saskatchewan. We will try to find a way to get them to us, but if not, it's not a disaster. We only use the cards to get ATM cash, and if we have to we will simply withdraw more than enough euros to get us through until we return to Canada in August. As I said earlier, we don't go through that much cash in the first place.

Looks like some rain in the forecast today. We are going to head closer to the Czechia border, and visit a castle along the way!

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And in Canada...

4 comments:

  1. A lot of people are concerned about using their cards in other countries. I prefer using both debit and credit, Mexican and American cards here in Mexico. I hardly ever have cash on me.

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    1. We think they don't because they don't trust the system and think that their cards will be compromised, yet the the only time this has happened to us we were in Canada or the US at the time, never aboard. We also don't carry around much cash with us either and prefer to use our credit card as much as possible because it gives us points that we can use towards travel.

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  2. The landscapes look picture postcard perfect , and peaceful. As for the replacement cards, it's the travellers problem of having an address where the cards can be sent to. When I was backpacking in the 1960s it was common to use a Poste Restante address, and I wonder if this type of service still exists, although I doubt a bank would send ATM cards to that. Cash is still ok in most places, but its online purchases you need a card for these days, plane tickets and such rhings

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    1. We loved the landscape in both Slovakia and Czechia when we were here in 2012 and as soon as we entered Slovakia, the landscape was exactly like what we remembered, as you said it is very peaceful and serene looking.

      Kevin checked and the bank will send out our debit cards for us but we do need an address. We are thinking about whether we want to do that or just prepare ourselves with enough cash by the end of June that will take us through until we get back to Canada in August. For online purchases and plane tickets we would use our credit card not our debit card so we wouldn't have any issue there.

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