1. Mária Valéria Bridge, February 2003. I’d only been teaching in Bratislava for a few months when my school gave me a new and unusual assignment. They wanted me to travel halfway across the country every Thursday to teach at the Kappa factory in the godforsaken outpost of Štúrovo, a nonentity town on the Slovak-Hungarian border. Initially I was less than enthused, though it actually turned out to be quite the adventure. While there was virtually nothing to do in Štúrovo itself, the town was at least the perfect base to discover The Danube Bend, a series of picturesque river towns over the border in Hungary. And so one day I set off with five teaching mates on a weekend adventure. First up was getting into Hungary on foot over The Mária Valéria Bridge. It was a piece of cake, the bored-looking guards at each end skimming through our passports and waving us through.