August 28th, 2015
My friend Ludmila, whom I met in Iceland at the volunteer camp, met me first thing in the morning to explore the City of Bratislava and take me back to her town Kormono. Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia which gained independence in the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia. Slovakia has a storied past of being occupied by many other powers including being under Russian communist control up till 1989.
In Bratislava, we saw a beautiful centre and a city still trying to gain an identity. While the centre, Bratislava castle and many beautiful churches and unique coffee shops were charming and had an authentic and great vibe to them, there were also many places that were marred heavily with graffiti, maybe indicating a youth without pride or hope for the place they call home? Still, I enjoyed the sites before taking the 2 hr train to Komarno. Ludmila is about to leave for her first year of University in Prague, so it was very kind and generous of her and her parents to be such amazing hosts to me. They took me for dinner to a restaurant that is in what used to be a fortress that surrounds the city and kept it safe during many attacks through out history. Ludmila’s boyfriend Boris, who I also met in Iceland, stopped by for dessert!
August 29th, 2015
I’m feeling overwhelmed and truly humbled by the kindness this family is showing a stranger. It makes me think back to all the times my parents did the same. In fact it reminds me of Uli and Peter who visited our farm from Germany, I was maybe 10 yrs old and have just the vaguest memories of helping Peter read a book called Bony legs to help him improve his English, amazing how something like that stays with you. I don’t recall for how long, but my parents allowed them to stay with us and I remember at least a trip to the lake and one of them playing the song Country Roads on the guitar in our living room and my Father having tears in his eyes from it. Ludmila’s Dad, who doesn’t speak any English took us on a 2 day trip around Slovakia, so that I could see and experience more of it, and treated me at every turn of the way. He did allow me to buy coffee once though! We stopped first at Bojnice Castle, Wow! It was truly amazing and furnished with original furnishings! Next we went to a historical village called Čičmany, where the homes are uniquely painted, and finally stopped at a hand carved moving display called Bethleham, before finding our ‘Pension’ for the night. We relaxed and took a short walk to the river and could see some castle ruins up on the top of a hill.
Next we went to a historical village called Čičmany, where the homes are uniquely painted, and finally stopped at a hand carved moving display called Bethlehem, before finding our ‘Pension’ for the night. We relaxed and took a short walk to the river and could see some castle ruins up on the top of a hill. There is video’s of some of the displays here: