I always search for the road less touristed. Yet it was not without trepidation that I drove with my spouse across the Hungarian plain from Budapest into Kosice, Slovakia’s second-largest city. As the industrial outskirts gave way to a skyline dominated by Communist-era block apartment buildings, I grew convinced that I had made a terrible vacation choice.
The windowless entrance to our pension on a grimy block was equally discouraging. The room was unremarkable, with modular furniture that transformed twin beds into a double, but left metal bars protruding from the walls. When I reported to the concierge that our refrigerator was not working, she answered, “Most of them don’t.”
I couldn’t say I hadn’t been warned. A Europe-savvy friend advised me to skip Slovakia and head to Krakow.