August 28/29th Slovakia

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!

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The landscape near Bratislava, Slovakia.
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Clock tower/entrance into one of the squares in Bratislava.
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There are hundreds of statues in Bratislava!
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Beautiful old theatre.
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The Blue Church in Bratislava.
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Ludmila in front of the blue church.
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The Blue church was really pretty and unique. Probably my favourite site in Bratislava
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A Bridge over the Danube that has a ‘UFO’ restaurant and viewing platform at the top.
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another statue
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Bratislava Castle
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Always nice to see! Here though you can also see a small amount of graffiti that is prominent through out the city.
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Part of the wall that was built to, and did effectively protect the city for centuries.
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Boris and the restaurant/fortress walls

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.

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In front of Bojnice Castle.
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Dining room
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Beautifully carved and intricately painted wall panels…AMAZING!!!
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Even the ceilings were amazing! Not sure if this is the exact mirror but there is a legend around one of them that if a woman looks into the mirror and smiles that she will have eternal youth and beauty, the only caveat is that she can never look in another mirror again! 😉 I passed by since I already have these features!
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Beautifully painted ceiling in the chapel!
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The castle chapel.
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Details on the exterior
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One of the amazing stone passageways
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Another gorgeous ceiling.
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Chandelier and hand painted walls
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The view through one of the castle windows.
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The Beautiful Slovak countryside as seen from the top of the castle Bojnice.
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Ludmila & I

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:

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You can see some of the traditional painting on this home. Many people still live in this historical village, a UNESCO protected site.
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A man in traditional dress in front of one of the homes.
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Another of the homes and the website for Cicmany.
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Inside one of the historical homes.
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This kind of seems like it was a good idea at the time…maybe not so high? 😉
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One of these homes housed 4 families- 2 on each side in 1 room of about 15×15 but each family had its own stove/kitchen area.
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The weaving room. The museaum home was closed but Ludmila’s Dad was very persistant and effective in convincing them to let the Canadian see it. I taught Ludmila the saying : “he could sell Ice to an Eskimo”
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Another example of historical Slovak traditional dress at the Bethlehem sculpture
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The detail was incredible and the moving parts astounding! We could not find out much info about how old or who made it.
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A castle on the hill near our accommodation for the night!
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Beautiful scenery with the castle in the back ground.
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My friend Ludmila and I

One thought on “August 28/29th Slovakia

  1. This one gave me goosebumps..can’t even imagine what it was like to be there in person…I totally forgot about the bony legs book…remember how funny it sounded with his accent and his limited ability read in English!

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