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August 1, 2002

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Slovakia, like Poland and the Czech Republic, is another land that forgets vowels. We board the electic train line from Strbske Pleso out of the Vsoky Tatry region. Then we get on the wrong train - an express - that takes us kilometers off course. The conductor charges us a Slovakian fortune (4 dollars each) for new tickets to the next stop. We end up in Kosice, a place that turns out to be a fine old town. Colorful Burgher houses line mainstreet. A musical fountain spews water into the air to a good beat, and a few Gothic spires dominate the skyline. We enjoy a chicken and potato pancake lunch - they love their potatoes pancakes here - and then board a bus to Levoca, our intended destination from this morning. We walk around Levoca's walled town and smile at Slovakians who never smile back. They love strangers in these small towns, we can tell by how they ignore us.
The conductor is ready to pounce on those without the right tickets. Jill looks innocently out the window (in vain).
Kosice is Slovakia's second largest city and the capital of the Eastern Region.
Water from the musical fountain entertains better than the music. In the background is the church where Ferenc Rakoczi is buried. He's not a hockey player but a hero of Hungary's War of Independence (1703-1711) against the Habsburgs (the Habsburgs won).
This scene of Levoca's town square is depicted on the Slovakian 100 Korun bill.
Livin La Vida Levoca: 'open-minded' women (prostitutes or adulterers) were placed in the 'Cage of Shame' in the 16th century (Jill's in the picture by coincidence).
In Levoca you find medieval walls, houses, and cars like this old Skoda van.