I’m not going to recommend visiting Nové Zámky to anyone, but I really loved this city. It reminded me a lot of Invercargill, where I grew up, and felt very homey.
Stepping off the train, I immediately saw my Slovakian friend that I’d met in Zion last summer. After dropping off my stuff (a messenger bag gets heavy after a day!) at his home, we went for lunch. I tried Kofola, the Slovakian version of coca cola that tasted a little like licorice but was a whole lot better than the American soda, and rezeň, which was basically schnitzel and was almost as good as my mum’s.
When I had googled things to do in Nové Zámky, basically nothing had come up. However, my friend gave me the grandest tour of Nové Zámky ever done. It was so great to be with him since he’s one of the most genuinely kind people in the world and a lot of fun to be around, and he walks fast! I find it immensely intriguing to see the places where my friends have grown up and how these might have shaped them. He also taught me a lot about Slovakia that I hadn’t known, and pointed out many interesting details I wouldn’t have otherwise seen. Things that stood out were the amount of cars on the street with no places to be parked, and the panelák–towering buildings of apartments built under Soviet rule that were rather impersonal and imposing.

We later mapped how far we’d walked: 16.9km. And that was in addition to the four hours of walking I’d done in Budapest that morning. My tendonitised foot was killing me, but it was all so worth it.