I think it was sometime back in 2020 when I saw Ryanair had introduced a new route from Stansted to Kosice in Slovakia.
I thought since I had liked Bratislava that I would like Kosice. I decided I was going to book it once travel had opened up again (you know, Covid) and for some reason, I didn’t and I think I had booked Pisa instead.
I had gotten paid and I had decided that I would look for places to go that I hadn’t yet been and possibly somewhere I had wanted to go. Kosice was again on my radar and this time I looked in earnest and booked it. I made sure I could get to Stansted at a decent time and home at a decent time. I also made sure that I could get to the hostel at a reasonable time (read: when public transport was still running and I wouldn’t have to use a taxi). All of these things lined up so I decided that it was a sign that I should book it (coupled with the £20 fare).
I finished a night shift and got a couple of hours of sleep and then headed to the station to go to the airport.
Stansted was in mild chaos. They were doing some renovations and it was also gearing up for half term week so it was quite busy.
BK is my usual stop and it was horrendously busy and I had to wait about 20 minutes for my order to be ready. Once it was, I decided to head towards the gate (it was at the furthest point from the departure lounge and about a 20-minute walk [or it seemed that]) and sit and eat. I did that and then headed to the gate and just waited in the queue.
We were late boarding due to the inbound plane leaving late. I boarded and got my seat and noticed that nobody was in the window seat on my row so I decided I would sit there. I thought it was all good until the last person on the plane was the one who had that window seat. She looked at me, looked at her boarding pass, looked at me again and pointed to the seat. I nodded and waved my hands at her to move out my way so I could change.
The flight was not a nice flight. The turbulence immediately on take-off was awful. As we were climbing, the plane was doing the climb, drop a little, climb, rock, drop a little, rock, climb pattern and let me tell you that I was not a fan of that at all. I think I would have been OK if I was able to record it.
I think I managed to sleep for some of the flight. Some of it that I was awake for was turbulent too. The descent and landing was not a fun one either. Turbulence sucks!!!
It was raining when we landed and all I had was a cheap umbrella but it was stuck at the bottom of the bag and I couldn’t be bothered to deal with getting it out. Luckily the bus stop had a shelter.
The airport itself is probably one of the smallest I have ever flown into. I could have walked from one end of the terminal to the other in about 60 seconds.
The bus ride to the city was pretty uneventful. I thought I knew where I would be getting off but it turns out I missed it and got off at the end of the line. This was by the train station and a 10-minute walk to the hostel in the rain felt like 20 minutes. The sights I saw on the way though were really nice. I knew then that I was going to like the city and that it had more to offer than I had realised.
I checked in and chilled for the evening. Nothing was really open and it was still raining. The hostel was a weird one. It had an eco-friendly, hippy, weird vibe about it. It was good though (minus the dude there snoring when we were trying to sleep).
I had made a plan of sorts of what I wanted to do whilst I was here. The first day was going to be the Old Town area. The second day the park and train station area and on the third-day tram surfing and mopping up on seeing the sights.
As today was day 1, I stuck with the plan of seeing the Old Town area and what that had to offer. I had a lie-in and left around 10:30 and went to the cathedral. The building was stunning inside and out. I read that you could do a tour and then climb the tower and I decided that I would save that until day 3.
I went first to the souvenir shop to pick up the magnets and a lanyard. I had a flag already as I was in Bratislava in January 2020 (cheeky plug for that post here). Once I had got this, I went to the Singing Fountain but sadly they were working on it so it was empty. I walked down the main street of Hlavná to see what else was around. I kind of had an idea of the direction I wanted to go in and the streets I wanted to walk through. There were a lot of little side streets with a lot to offer. There really was so much to see for such a small city.
The main street had a couple of other churches along with the cathedral. I passed the State Theatre and came to the Plague Column. This is a column dedicated to The Virgin Mary for ending the 1709-1710 plague epidemic. It’s quite an ornate statue and I wasn’t sure if I was able to go in the gate and get up close to it so I left it and carried on walking to the end of the street. I had seen some buildings in the distance that looked quite nice. One was a museum and the other a government building.
I was happy to be by these buildings as the tram line was there and, as we all know, I love watching trams. I sat there for about 15 minutes before heading back to the hostel to powder my nose and get a drink.
I headed back out and headed towards an area where I saw a couple of cool looking church buildings. Once I had seen these, I headed to the cathedral to go inside and have a look around. I was in there for about 20 minutes and then headed back out towards Liberators Square as I had seen some relics there and a monument to the Soviets and a monument to the Unknown Soldier (or anti-fascist fighter as they called it here). It was really surreal to see a Soviet monument proudly displayed in the city. It’s something you don’t see very often.
I was hungry at this point and found a kebab shop and thought I would go and get a cheeseburger. It’s not like a cheeseburger as you and I know it. Below is what it is. It is literally a slab of cheese in breadcrumbs. I asked for a meal and the meal consisted of a drink and a banana. That’s right. No fries. That’ll teach me not to know Slovak!!!
After I was done with this superb cheeseburger, I headed towards the hostel to have a look around this part of the Old Town as I had seen some buildings I wanted to check out. I somehow managed to end up back on the main street in the Old Town and headed down one of the side streets and then back towards the hostel to powder said nose again.
Once I went back out, I headed towards a building that I could see from the hostel that had a tiled dome and I wasn’t sure what it was. It turns out it was the Concert House and it was a pretty interesting looking building. From here, I headed down the main street towards the Kosice Historical Centre and passed the Greek Orthodox church. The church was a yellow building with 2 towers. It was a cool looking building.
Once I was at the end by the historical centre, I headed towards the main Old Town street and decided it was time to head back to the hostel (my feet were not best pleased with me at this point). I was passing by the Plague Column and went in the gate and got up close to the column. It was pretty cool to see. By this time it was around 18:30 and starting to get dark. I went back to the hostel for an hour or so before heading out to the embassy for a proper cheeseburger. All in all, today was a good day of sightseeing.
Total steps: 21,440
Total miles: 10.2
Below are some pics from today
I was up early to head to the airport. I had to get the bus at 08:28. I got there at about 08:10 as it would give me enough time to get something to eat and drink in case there were only vending machines at the airport (did I mention how tiny it was). Below is a picture of the terminal building. Judge for yourself.
I got to the airport and security hadn’t even opened. I waited for about 15 minutes before it did and I went through fairly quickly and then through passport control and then to the gate. The airport is so small that it only had 4 scheduled departures for the day. The check-in agent came to the gate and I asked if the flight was full and was told there were only 45 people on the flight. We were only about 25% full. This would bode well for wanting a window seat.
The views from inside the terminal were toward the mountains. Pretty damn cool if you ask me.
We boarded and it was complete in no more than 20 minutes. I got a window seat and I was pretty happy with that. The takeoff, flight and landing were so much better on the inbound flight than the outbound. We got to Stansted and I had around 30 minutes to deplane, get to the border, cross the border and then on the train. I was fully prepared that I was going to miss the train and have to wait an hour for the next. I got to the border and there was no queue at all. I got across the border in about 90 seconds and then had about 11 minutes to make the train. I got to the platform with about 4 minutes to spare before the train left.
I was so happy to be home and have a shower as the hostel shower didn’t seem like it cleaned properly (I know it did).
All in all, this was a good trip and I realised when I was there that the city had way more to offer than you could get from looking online and at pictures. I would definitely recommend Kosice.
Total steps: 53,017
Total miles: 24.9
You can view all of my pictures from Košice here