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The Independent Online
Surcharges in Slovakia

"The system of charging for baggage on Slovakian public transport appears to be a nationwide obsession; we were even charged a small baggage fee on our Eurolines bus home although we had return tickets, including free baggage transport.

"We were caught out on Bratislava's trams going to the bus station. Having virtuously purchased and stamped our own tickets, we were dismayed when an inspector demanded two tickets for our packs.

"Because we were suspicious about the fine, he took us to the main vending kiosk outside the station, where there was a tiny chart indicating a charge of 3 krona [about 5 pence] for each large bag. With our passports confiscated, we had to go to the police station, where they demanded a whopping 1,400 krona fine [over pounds 25].

"Eventually we beat them down to half that amount, but it still hit us hard in the pocket and was an unpleasant experience."

Letter from Sarah O'Mahony and Daniel Stuckey, in 'Planet Talk', the free newsletter from Lonely Planet (0171-428 4800).