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Slovakia moves to end worries of UK ex-pats living in the Little Big Country

As the United Kingdom claws its way through the rubble that Brexit is becoming, more and more countries across the European Union are telling British ex-pats that life will go on as normal.

The European Commission has asked – but not ordered – member states to grant temporary residence permits to British nationals to give them time to apply for long-term residency.

Germany and Italy complied at the end of last year.

But there is still a question over which former EU residence rights each country will extend.  Reciprocity is becoming key to all ex-pats’ fates, with Spanish authorities saying British expats will have the same rights in Spain post-Brexit if the UK extends residency rights to Spaniards in the UK.

Now Slovakia has published a comprehensive information sheet about residence in the territory of the Republic.

It is something those countries who are still dragging their feet over the lives of ex-pats should take a lead from:

If you, as a United Kingdom national, and your family members have a residence in the territory of the Slovak Republic of longer than 5 years on the date of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, you will automatically obtain a long-term residence according to Art. 52 of the Act No. 404/2011 Coll. on Residence of Foreigners and Amendment and Supplementation of Certain Acts.

This means that, you do not have to apply for this type of permanent residence. However, please see further guidance on residence cards below.

If you, as a United Kingdom national, and your family members have registered residence in the territory of the Slovak Republic of less than 5 years on the date of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, you will automatically obtain a permanent residence for five years in the interest of the Slovak Republic according to Art. 43 (1) e) of the Act on Residence of Foreigners.

This means that, you do not have to apply for this type of permanent residence. However, please see further guidance on residence cards below.

If you have been issued a Residence Card of EU Citizen by the date of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, this residence card will remain valid until December 31, 2020. This means that if you are a holder of a Residence Card of EU Citizen, its validity will expire on December 31, 2020. For this reason, you should apply for a new residence card by this date at the latest.

However, we recommend that you do not wait until the end of the validity of the Residence Card of EU Citizen and apply for a new residence card as soon as possible.

If the relevant Unit of the Foreigners Police has your postal address in the Slovak Republic, that unit will send to you by post a Temporary residence card and guidance on how to apply for your new residence card. You can use this temporary residence card until you have requested and received your new residence card.

If the relevant Unit of the Foreigners Police does not have your postal address in the Slovak Republic, you can collect your Temporary residence card from the office listed below.

You can use your Temporary residence card to travel to other EU Member States until you have requested and received your new residence card.

If your Residence Card of EU Citizen was originally issued by one of the following units:

  • The Units of Foreigners Police Bratislava,
  • he Units of Foreigners Police Trnava,
  • The Units of Foreigners Police Dunajská Streda,
  • The Units of Foreigners Police Nové Zámky,
  • The Units of Foreigners Police Nitra,

you can collect your Temporary residence card from the office of the Units of

Foreigners Police in Bratislava
Regrutska Street , 831 07 Bratislava
from 7.30 a. m. to 3.30 p. m.

If your Residence Card of EU Citizen was originally issued by one of the following units:

  • The Units of Foreigners Police Trenčín,
  • The Units of Foreigners Police Banská Bystrica,
  • The Units of Foreigners Police Rimavská Sobota,
  • The Units of Foreigners Police Žilina

you can collect your Temporary residence card from the office of the
Directorates of Border and Foreigners Police in Banská Bystrica
Sládkovičova Street 4343/25, 974 05 Banská Bystrica
from 7.30 a. m. to 3.30 p. m.

If your Residence Card of EU Citizen was originally issued by one of the following units:

  • The Units of Foreigners Police Košice,
  • The Units of Foreigners Police Michalovce,
  • The Units of Foreigners Police Prešov,

you can collect your Temporary residence card can from the office of the

Directorates of Border and Foreigners Police in Prešov
Jarkova Street 31, 080 10 Prešov
from 7.30 a. m.  to 3.30 p. m.
If you leave the territory of the Slovak Republic after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, and you do not plan to remain in the territory of the Slovak Republic, you are obliged to report this fact in writing or in person to the relevant units of the Foreigners Police.

United Kingdom nationals and their family members, who by the date of the United Kingdom´s withdrawal from the European Union will not have registered residence in the territory of the Slovak Republic, they may exit the Slovak Republic under the same conditions as they entered the Slovak Republic, no later than 90 days after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

United Kingdom nationals who have not registered their residence in the territory of the Slovak Republic by the date of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, will be considered as third-country nationals after Brexit. If they wish to stay in the territory of the Slovak Republic, they may apply for a temporary residence or permanent residence as a third-country national.

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Why the ‘mountain-ness’ of Poprad will always be a holiday for me

Poprad, the city of health mountains and the vasy blue sky

I grew up in a small town on the north east of Slovakia called Poprad. I believe I was one of the lucky ones to be born there (writes Alena Dulakova)

To be able to breath fresh air and see a beautiful mountain silhouette every day is something that, at that time, I was taking for granted. I took it as  normal.

But as I grew older, I started to appreciate the beauty. My parents used to take us (my brother and I) to the mountains regularly, whether it was just to walk through the forests, trek to waterfalls, mountain peaks or just go for a coffee  and soak up the atmosphere of the ‘’moutain-ness’’ as we used to call it.

My dad always used to say to me, wrap up warm because the ‘fridge (mountains) is open again’. If I didn’t listen, I definitely knew about it later.

The feeling of burning sensation on my fingers didn’t wait for me too long and I deeply regretted my decision to take those fashionable woollen gloves instead of proper ski ones.

You live and you learn!

 

My hometown … Alena Dulakova

Now I know what to wear and no, it doesn’t mean if it’s sunny up there, you can just stroll in your converse and shorts. You may be just fine for an hour but when the weather decides it wants to snow in the middle of May, trust me it will.

l! I was trying to say that to my friend Rob a year or so back in December when we went and took a cable car from Tatranska Lomnica to Skalnate Pleso. But he wouldn’t listen.

The cable car was an open kind  so you can soak up the air and nature more. He soaked it all up in his thin autumn jacket, literally.

But when we got there, he forgot about how freezing he was and couldn’t believe his eyes. He said he’s never seen anything like it!

The views were spectacular, skiers and snowboarders were rushing down around us. The wind was pretty strong and we decided to have a hot chocolate and some coffee in the little restaurant on the peak.  Ella, the five year old, was brave as ever and loved every minute of it.

I have to admit, having done this route numerous times, but I still had to put my brave face on. We ended our day by having a lunch at Crazy Bar  in Poprad and buying a winter jacket for Rob.

 

Poprad centre

The family decided to spend their Christmas break in Slovakia and I promised them that I’ll make their trip unforgettable. One of those experiences also was visiting Aquacity Poprad.

This was done on 1st January 2018. Yes, they were open, to everybody’s relief as shall we say, we celebrated a little the night before and watched how crazy Slovaks are about fireworks!

While Ella was having a blast at the waterpark’s Treasure Island, the grandparents went off to the Wellness paradise for couple of hours.

The rest of the crew enjoyed themselves in jacuzzi and watched Ella. We all then went and had our lunch at the restaurant and watched a laser show in the evening. It’s crazy to think that you can spend all day in a waterpark.

Yes, you can!

Everything is there and you can even pop out, have a relaxing few minutes in heated outside swimming pools or for more adventurous, giggle away on the water slides.

 

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I helped them to hire a car as well. It was much easier that way because we could go anywhere we wanted and do whatever we felt like.

Once again, Ella really surprised me! I never knew a five year old can be so adventurous and brave. We decided we’ll try the sledging at Hrebienok one day.

What I didn’t realise was that it was so cold that the sledging path was nearly frozen. You probably know where I’m going with this. Ella desperately wanted to go with me but I am an adrenaline junkie and love speed.

Ella had no choice!

High Tatras in the snow

We went soooo fast and she giggled so hard that it made me want to go even faster.

I am however a responsible adult and so we maintained a good speed! She got a little upset because of that stinging fingers pain mentioned above. A (not so little) cake and white hot chocolate in a near coffee shop made it better though.

To hire those sledges was only 5 euros per head but be aware of the queues people. Again, very memorable experience for my English friends. How do I know it? One look when we all met at the sledging finish line – all smiling from one ear to the other!

They stayed at lovely local hotel in Spisska Sobota, Poprad. This was about 10 minutes walk to Aquacity Poprad. Very convenient! Just a little pearl of wisdom for you, Spisska Sobota represents one of the best preserved medieval urban units in Slovakia.

Treasure island

Experience of having my English friends over in Poprad and High Tatras have made me very proud and satisfied. Satisfied that Slovakia has so much to offer and a huge potential for more tourism than it currently has. I want to show all of you that in Slovakia, there is something for everyone. Make it your next holiday stop, you won’t regret it!

Be different. Be bold – have a look here  www.tatraescapes.co.uk

during the Premier League match between XXX and XXX at Old Trafford on May 21, 2017 in Manchester, England.

How AquaCity moves mountains for Manchester United hopefuls

Heroes of British soccer have revealed one of the best-kept secrets of Slovakia  … for the last eight years Manchester United has been sending its young hopefuls there to a specialist mountainside training camp.

Every October Manchester United’s Youth Team spends time in the city of Poprad training at one of the world’s most exciting stadiums, playing ‘friendlies’ against locals and recuperating in the world’s greenest hotel.

Poprad is an extraordinary place, tacked to the foot of the High Tatras mountains and near to the Polish border.

Thirty years ago though it had daunting metaphorical mountains to climb having been abandoned to the remnants of the Velvet Revolution politics.

But people of vision were already making things happen and now Poprad is one of the most important cities in Slovakia. It has become the administrative, economic, cultural and tourism centre for the whole Tatras region.

And at its heart stands AquaCity, once voted the world’s greenest hotel … and this is where Manchester United hopefuls stay while they undergo training regimes against one of the most powerful natural backdrops in Europe.

Former Manchester United assistant manager Ryan Giggs said this: “It is vital in a young players development that they get to gain as many different types of football experience as possible. Because of the training in Poprad they can relate to playing against different opposition, experience new cultures and food, travelling and adapting to new surroundings. The training camp in Poprad allows all this to happen.”

And last week it all paid off in a big way – youth team  players who trained in Poprad were chosen to play against Crystal Palace  when Jose Mourinho   rotated his squad ahead of the Europa League final.. Manchester United won the game 2-0, with Josh Harrop and Paul Pogba scoring the goals.

The story really begins with former car worker  Dr Jan Telensky, his geo-thermal lake 2,000 metres inside the earth – and his belief in cryogenics.  Three little minutes   that can change your life.

He said:  “When I first came to Poprad, I saw a pipe coming up out of the ground. It had breath hot enough to melt your soul. So, I looked into the history of it and pretty soon I realised there was a natural miracle two miles below the earth. An eternal source of power, warmth and health. It’s been there for millions of years and it’ll be there for millions more.

“I decided to harness it, that’s all. The government and the town of Poprad worked with me on it.”

Next door to AquaCity  is a magnificent new football stadium, designated as a Slovak National Training Centre (NTC). It is the only ground in the world to be heated by an underground lake and have an all-weather pitch.

The NTC is where you can watch the Manchester United football’s stars of tomorrow train and play some of Slovakia’s Premier League and other overseas teams for a fraction of the price it would cost at Old Trafford.   There is a Hall of Fame board inside AquaCity with a list of the stars who have played there.

 David Moyes, a former manager at MU who was involved in the training experiment: “This the ideal place for a sports training camp, the fourteen swimming pools and the leisure facililities are enormously popular with our young players.”

And AquaCity  offers all sorts of fitness and enjoyment, not only for professional sportsmen but for families too with pools, massage jets, children’s pools  and water slides,  laser lights to change the color of the water, outdoor thermal pools, blue Sapphire pools, blue diamond pools, and a 50 metre swimming pool.

In the wellness and spa suites there is Vital World, the K-Vital Beauty Centre, the Massage Centre, and the Thai Massage Centre with edible massage treatments such as chocolate, honey and green apples.

Then there is the controversial cryogenics chamber which has been helping sports people and visitors with injuries and ailments.

It is the Big Chill, an oversized deep-freeze which makes you feel wonderful. It works  wonders for the skin and muscles, can boost your immune response, ease chronic pain, heal nerve damage, and improve sporting performance.

And Poprad too  really is a beautiful place to be, sitting as it does on a vast plain leading to the foothills of the perpetually snow-capped Tatras Mountains.

It came into being in the 13th century, when the king of Hungary persuaded German colonists to move to what was nothing more than isolated arable land. Way back then Poprad was just one of more than 20 farming communities dotted across the plains.  It soon garnered importance however, as a main stopping-off point on the trade route between Poland and Hungary.

Another ‘revolution’ took place in 1938 when a military airfield with grass for a runway was built  west of Velko village as World War II loomed. The first real runway wasn’t actually built until 1970.

Poprad Tatry Airport finally came into its own in the early 21st century when it was classed as of International standards.

The 13th century Early Gothic church of St. Egidius in the town square still retains pieces of  wall paintings  dating from the Middle Ages. And then of course there is the Renaissance bell tower built in 1592 with its three original bells. 

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Poprad, a postcard across time is voted winter’s real wonderland

The beautiful city of Poprad had daunting metaphorical mountains to climb less than 30 years ago.

Foders Travel Guide to Eastern Europe said in 1993 that Poprad was a place you ‘don’t want to linger’.

And certainly when I first set down there more than a decade later it was a place that appeared to have been in a state of suspended animation for decades. The political dark ages of Communism were still throwing a zombied shadow across its streets.

Old tenement buildings and 1950s new-age housing projects were decaying symbiotically and  community gardens and parks were choked with weeds and litter.

But people of vision were already making things happen and a decade further on Poprad is one of the most important cities in eastern Slovakia. It has become the administrative, economic, cultural and tourism centre for the whole Tatras region.

Poprad really is a beautiful place to be, sitting as it does on a vast plain leading to the foothills of the perpetually snow-capped Tatras Mountains.

It came into being in the 13th century, when the king of Hungary persuaded German colonists to move to what was nothing more than isolated arable land. Way back then Poprad was just one of more than 20 farming communities dotted across the plains.  It soon garnered importance however, as a main stopping-off point on the trade route between Poland and Hungary.

The next major spurt of growth came almost six centuries later when the Industrial Revolution brought the rail-road clattering across the mountains.

Another ‘revolution’ took place in 1938 when a military airfield with grass for a runway was built  west of Velko village as World War II loomed. The first real runway wasn’t actually built until 1970. 

Poprad Tatry Airport finally came into its own in the early 21st century when it was classed as of  International standards.

Despite Foder’s proclamation Poprad is definitely a place to linger with its historical buildings  reflecting German and Polish influences.

The 13th century Early Gothic church of St. Egidius in the town square still retains pieces of  wall paintings  dating from the Middle Ages. And then of course there is the Renaissance bell tower built in 1592 with its three original bells.

If history fascinates you then it’s worth visiting  the  Podtatranské Muzeum where there is a permanent exhibition of artefacts found in the Poprad over the centuries, some of which came to light recently when a work began on a new industrial park. And of course there is the Tatranská Galeria – the Tatras art gallery. More avant gard art can be found at the Power Plant building on  Hviezdoslavová 12.

Also ‘linger’ in the main square with its pastel facades of buildings which excellent cafes, rstaurants and bars … you have to taste the hearty peasant cooking that dominates Slovak cuisine. The traditional dish of bryndzové halus, gnocchi-style dumplings with tangy sheep’s cheese and bacon cubes, is best appreciated after a long hike in the mountains.

Take time too to visit the wooden huts which are actually market stalls selling everything from local honey and shots of Demänovka, a herbal liqueur.

In so many ways Poprad is the perfect place to ‘linger’. 

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White knuckles and white water

Leigh G Banks tells of his experience in Slovakia


 

I’ve just had the most fun it’s possible to have whilst drowning.

White water rafting is for crazy people … and, you know what, it should be compulsory for everybody to go crazy at least once in their lives.

And it was on a river under the Tatra mountain landmark of Krivan   that my mad adventure began.

After a brief briefing that basically consisted of hang on no matter what, we pushed off in to the cold cold water   in a dinghy that groaned and undulated more than the river itself.
As we sailed down the rapids backwards, sideways, and in some cases in the boat, out the boat, my attention was drawn to   an eagle that flew as silent as plane with a rabbit in its claws.

But it was that split second’s lack of concentration that nearly drowned me … the dinghy skimmed round a rock, leaped to the left and dumped me into the river to the right.

Well, as the river took me, all I   knew was that it didn’t matter any longer whether I could swim or not, I was rolling and tumbling beneath the waves, devoured by the current that miraculously slid me safely through the rocks.

And as the river turned me and began to choke me with my own hair, I remembered what the group’s captain said – lay your   head on the pillows of the water and refuse to struggle.

Thrashing

My body skimmed across a rock and I shot into a syphonic alley as if I was an eel. The shale turned into smoke as I shimmied through it.

I finally broke the surface like a maniac, thrashing my arms around and coughing and splashing and for that split second I was back amongst the living I couldn’t tell if the looks on the faces of my companions were of horror or hysterical laughter.

… But then I was gone again beneath the surface.

I   was jettisoned over a small waterfall and crashed feet-first in to the next natural lock   of white water. I grabbed a slice of breath before the surface closed over me as tightly as the whale closed over Jonah.

Now, there is a natural corkscrew in a fast-flowing river – and that corkscrew with the conspiring of the rocks can knock you inside out, crack your skull and disembowel you all at once. But I’d been taught well and allowed myself to glide as if I was riding the edge of the air.

And I survived. They found me perched on a rock … the dinghy shuddered and jerked as my colleagues helped me back in. And yep, they’d been laughing all along – while it had been a journey of discovery and trauma for me, to them it had been a big   joke that actually lasted less than 30 seconds.

But it was like a right of passage … I knew how Davy Crockett must have felt in all those 1950s B movies.

Whitewater rafting is a big thing in Slovakia now with bases across the country … but the best must be in the Tatras mountains or at least near them.

For instance, the Dunajec is a river running through southern Poland and forms a border between Poland and Slovakia for 27 kilometers in the Pieniny Środkowe (Slovak: Centrálne Pieniny) range, east of the Czorsztyn reservoir. It is the only river taking waters from the Slovak territory to the Baltic.

What’s different about rafting here is that you can take the ride on a wooden raft!

Rafting on River Orava offers smooth sailing and is ‘suitable for beginners and   children. Orava river is navigable throughout its course from Tvrdosin to its confluence with the river Vah in Kralovany.

Ondrej Cibak Area water slalom   is located 1.5 km far from the city of Liptovsky Mikulas in the North and is worth a visit.     The area is fed by water from the river Vah. The best conditions are in the spring months of May or June the course is open from early April to late October. It is suitable for everyone.