(A gépemen próbálok rendet rakni, és úgy találtam ezt. Réka írása, januári kassai tapasztalatainkat meséli el egy szlovák barátunk kérésére, aki a sme.sk-n futó blogjára akarta kitenni.)

Kosice is one of my favorite Central European cities. My first childhood memories about travelling abroad are related to Kosice: from my hometown, Miskolc we often visited the not so far „Kassa” to go for a walk in the beautiful inner city and to do the shopping in that big department store whose assortment seemed to be richer then of the Hungarians.

Visiting Kosice remained our family habit for now as well. Each year we go to see the charming Christmas market in Kosice, we never miss to take our guests to Kosice or to recommend it to those who want to visit Central Europe. My husband is a big fan of the cathedral, he wrote his MA thesis on the bulding history. So we have a strong emotional attachment to Kosice, which was just increased by achieving our first half Marathon distance at the Kosice Peace Marathon (inspired by the short story of Dusan Simko). We were glad to hear that Kosice had won the possibility to be the European Cultural Capital for a year.

Last Saturday we decided to take a short trip to Kosice again, to climb up to the church tower (which I’ve never seen before) and to visit some other churches as well. We checked the opening hours of the tower on the website of the cathedral, just to make sure, and we left on time.

In Kosice we were surprised as we realized that the parking system had changed. There were new signs everywhere about the so called SMS parking, but we couldn’t find anything about the fees or the free periods. It was also not easy to find an old fashioned parking meter. We kept asking ourselves, whether we are not mistaken that the opening ceremony of the European Cultural Capital events would take place in a few days? How would the foreign visitors cope with the SMS parking?

Our first move was to the cathedral, where we noticed the fact with disappointment that the tower had been closed due to a reconstructing work that hadn’t been indicated on the website. But no problem, let’s go on, there are still sights to visit. Needless to say all the churches were closed, non of them had signs with the visiting hours (except for the St. Michael Chapel).

We were disappointed. I don’t want to say that we had travelled for nothing because we enjoyed our promenade in the frozen city even if we couldn’t see the attractions we planned to. We were just wondering how the city had been preparing for the big event.

Today is the day of the opening ceremony. I can only hope, that my favourite Slovak city has awoken and will be able to provide more convenient services and environment for the tourists.