Friday, August 12, 2022

Slovakia - Rona's Perspective

 Trip Blog-Day 1 and 2 all mixed up

Around 4:40 am Yisroel wakes me up. My first thought is to take the dogs out, but
they are at a vacation of their own. But as I am making my coffee it dawns on me I
never gave the taxi driver my address. I see on Whatsapp he did send a 3 second
voice message which said “Mah Ketovet”? Of course I immediately go into high
stress mode, with my stomach dropping to my toes, and my heart sinking.
I give him till about 5:20 to respond, then I try calling. No answer. Maybe he is in
the shower, I try again at 5:30 and 5:35. At this point I confess to Yisroel. I try a few
more times, then at 5:50 Yisroel says, lets take the car. I say, I’ll put it on my
personal card since I messed up, okay I used a more colorful word, but here I have

I send him a message that we are driving ourselves. I never did hear back. Though
shortly after that I see that he did finally see the messages.
We get to the airport a little before 7 for a 10:55 flight, we find parking in long term
near the pick up stop. Get to the terminal, tell them where we are going, and which
airline. They direct us to Israeli passport line. About an hour later we are through,
and when we ask where WIZZ air check in is at, they say Terminal 1!. Which means
we have to go out of Terminal 3 and wait for the bus which goes to Terminal 1.
Once we finally get there, a little before 9, I explain we already did security at
Terminal 3, thankfully we don’t need to do it again, and go into the old main hall,
which is packed with passengers for WIZZ and IsraAir.

Even with 10+ counters just for WIZZ, apparently there are also 10 different flights
within a 2 hour window. I find someone who says get in line, and listen and watch
for them to c all people, they announce for people to come to the front about an hour
before the scheduled time. So I periodically check, and excitedly come to tell Yisroel
we can go to the front, they are calling Bucharest. Apparently that is also one of the
worst mistakes one can make in Hungary, confusing Budapest and Bucharest.
Yisroel had a good needed laugh, and I know myself well enough that I confuse
things like this, so we go back to waiting in line. Little bits of schmoozing with other
people, I inform a lot of people to watch and listen, that about an hour before their
flight they too will get to jump the line! In the meantime I realize the snacks I
prepared to eat while we waited, because we would be getting there early leaked all
over the bag I was carrying them in, it was a mess, so I threw it out. Boy was that a
dumb move!!!!! I check back a few more times, till finally when it’s an hour before the
guy asks me what flight, and he says excitedly You need to get in line!”

I go back to Yisroel, and we start heading over. On the way I say out loud any one
for Budapest can go to the front now. A group of Chassidim start also pushing to the
front, but I tell them they have to be behind us. When one of them questions me, I
tell him. I did the work to get this information, I being nice to tell them so they don’t
miss their flight, therefore please do not try to go ahead of us. I didn’t see them on
our flight, I don’t know what happened to them. When one of the workers heard me
telling other people for Budapest on WIZZ to come forward, he yelled at me, I don’t
know if it’s easier for people to miss flights maybe???

That went well. I really thought our bags were over weight with all the food. The
regular suitcases were only 14KG, allowed 20, and our carry ons were only 8kg,
allowed 10. Plus, they offered to check through our carryon’s! Two less things to
worry about.

We get upstairs, and wait, and wait, and wait. Okay, time to go to the BR, airplane
toilets are super small. Then around 12:20 we get an email from the airline that our
flight is delayed and will take off at 11:30 am. Gee, that was 50 minutes ago, and we
are still in the waiting area.

I take a moment to finish davening, and while doing so notice 2 boys facing me, also
davening. OK, one of us is facing the wrong direction, but that is where the idea that
really it all goes UP to G-d comes in. I double check my compass, and it says I was
facing East, which Yisroel confirms, he has a pretty good sense of direction.

Then as I finish davening there are some kids playing with a plastic kick-ball. All of a
sudden it rolls away, and as one of the kids tries to chase it they set off a security
alarm for going into the area for the steps going to the tarmac-Remember I said “old
terminal”. One of the older kids crawls under the gate and retrieves the ball from the
step landing. As I am watching this I mouth to the older one in Hebrew “Glad it’s not
my kid this time!” He looks puzzled, so I explain, That is something my kids would
have done, so this time it’s not my kid, and gave him a thumbs up for having fun
while waiting.

Finally get on the plane, and it’s starting to dawn on me, it’s only a 3 ½ hour flight, on
a low budget airline, of course there won’t be a meal! And all the food is in the
luggage. Okay only a few more hours. I find some dried banana chips, and a few
pieces of licorice (I love licorice), and we eat that.

When we travelled to the states we kept ending up at the end of the line, till we got
off, and got places, so I told Yisroel I would go ahead, and he would join me, so we
are further up in line. Passport control actually was going fairly quickly, so I didn’t
want to use that one for “pushing ahead”, besides when I got out the luggage had
not even started to come out yet.

At least 30 minutes later it starts, and our 2 carry on bags come around fairly quickly,
but then we wait, and wait, and wait, and there are fewer and fewer people, then the
carousel stops, and the feed gate closes. We ask, and they check, then tell us to
report to the lost and found.

That’s done, I ask do they have any idea where they might be, everything is scanned
these days. Apparently they never left Israel!

So off to the rental car, we don’t see a counter, I ask at a few of the counters for
other companies, if anyone knows where it might be. I show them the reservation
papers, and finally find someone who tells us it’s not at the airport, we need to call.
One person points to the number, but it doesn’t seem to work. I ask at the exchange
counter, he reads through, and on PAGE 3 finds the number. I call, and thankfully
super nice, and comes to get us. As we are waiting for him outside to pick us up I
realize I don’t have my passport-Did I tell you my passport story from when we were
in the states!

Yisroel informs me I won’t be able to get back in from the exit, but someone doing
construction apparently left a door open, and I got in through there, and sitting on a
counter is my passport!!!

Grab that, run outside, but in the meantime the guy arrived, and left, saying to call
back. I quickly call back, and he arrives 5 minutes later. We get to the rental office,
NOT one attempt to sell us extra insurance, or waivers, or deductibles, nope-ALL

And we are off, with less than ¼ tank of gas, I go to plug the kosher grocery store
into WAZE, and thankfully look to see what time they are open till, because it is
already 5:15 pm. Well they closed at 5!

So then we settle to just get to Slovakia. WAZE says 5 ½ hours, but Google Maps
says 4 ½. Well it’s getting late already, so we go for the 4 ½ hour route. Well
apparently you can take the long boring route via the highway, or take a short cut-
through the woods/forests/over the mountains!

When I tell you, no towns or civilizations, 2 lane winding roads, and when you look
on Google map you just see a page of green, with a path cutting through. The last
picture is a birds eye view of the route.

We finally get to Slovakia, and it is the cutest house/building, great inn keeper, cute
room, no windows except a sky light, but we’ll only be there for the night. Apparently
the area is known for cyclists, plus a lot of hiking the mountains and stuff. The inn
used to be a school house, built in 1926, it was equidistant from several of the
surrounding villages, I didn’t think to ask him how he acquired it, or who owns it, but
the view was breath-taking, and the first time I have seen stars in a long time.

Time to go to sleep, it’s past midnight, I’m tired, Yisroel has been driving the whole

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