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Slovakia Experience 2011 (miss you, chybate mi)

I have recently returned from a trip to my home country Slovakia where I was invited to do a talk about my PhD research, which I believe went very well. Few of my English friends attended the talk and other people came from different places in Slovakia. The talk was also attended by some of the most influential professors from Bratislava. After the presentation was finished, my friends and myself were invited for a traditional lunch, which was amazing.


Bratislava and hotel's Rolls-Royce service


At this time, my short Slovakian holidays started and I took a bus to Banska Bystrica (where I was born) while my English friends stayed an extra day in Bratislava and waited for another friend of ours (Lydia) who was arriving from Birmingham. I arrived to Banska Bystrica in the evening and met with my good friends (Jozef, Radka, Veronika, Stanka, Vivien and Matus) in a tea room called Carovna. It was really nice to see everyone after so many years. A sisha and my favorite Darjeeling tea from high mountains in India added to the great experience.


in Carovna tea room


After the meeting, Jozo and Radka drove me back to their house, which is located at a really nice place close to beautiful mountains. I got to know Jozef's parents and talked a lot with his father about carbon footprints and crediting systems. We also went to Radka's house to see new-born puppies.


At Jozef's house


Afternoon, we went to Ziar nad Hronom where we joined the rest of our group and did some shopping for the upcoming Pohoda festival. Then we all moved to Kremnica where we were temporarily accommodated at a friend's (Lucia's) flat whose mum was exceptionally hospitable. Before leaving for the festival, we explored some of Kremnica's surrounding mountains and did a bit of mushroom hunting. We did not find a great deal but definitely enough to make scrambled eggs with mushrooms for everyone. Oh, did I mention we found a rare blue slug that is only present in Slovakia and few other countries?

Next day, we got up early in the morning and went to a city called Trencin where the Pohoda festival took place. That was quite a trip, trains were completely full and lots of grumpy people were complaining about everything including the festival itself. This reminded me the usual atmosphere in Slovakia where people complain pretty much about everything for no big reason. Despite of everything, we kept the good mood and arrived on-time and safe. I did not go to any concerts the first day but many other people went to see Moby. The next day was awesome. I got up and was welcomed by other mates and we all went to a river nearby called Vah. We found a great location and later even a big tire from a tractor that we used for partying in the middle of the river. What could I add? After we returned, I went to see Magnetic Man and Rusko amongst other. I have also recorded 30 minutes from each, uploaded the videos to my YouTube channel and put them in a Pohoda 2011 playlist. This was my first festival ever and it was amazing, apart from lots of good food and things to do I came across this Dobra Cajovna tea room, which was fantastic.

After the festival was over, we rushed back to Kremnica, quickly packed everything and went to Lucia's cottage. I could not sleep the first night as I was very warm and had to protect myself from lots of insects. Did I say I lost my voice at Pohoda? The next day, we all went for a short walk through a forest and later visited a lake nearby that was full of leaches...everyone loved it.


Lucia's cottage


The trip went on and we happened to be traveling to the highest mountains in Slovakia known as High Tatras. Every good adventure would not be quite right without unexpected events and ours was not an exception. On our way to High Tatras one of the cars started playing up and at some point the cooling system of the car I was driving gave up on us. The car's engine completely stopped in the middle of a steep hill but we were lucky enough to make it close to a stream nearby and used its freezing water as a replacement coolant. However, this solved the problem only temporarily and every now and then we had to stop and let the car cool down again.


overheated car


After all the excitement, we arrived to High Tatras, left our stuff in a friend's flat nearby and rushed to take a telecabine to Skalnate Pleso. We walked back on a rocky footpath surrounded by a beautiful scenery and a nature full of  jewels.


High Tatras


Our next destination was Dobsinska ice cave, what a stunning place. My friend James had an awesome idea and went inside topless. I could not resist doing the same. I think we might be the first human beings in that cave who did that :D


Topless, inside Dobsinska Ice Cave


Everyone was really hungry afterwards so we went to a local restaurant and had the Slovakian national food called Halusky. The next and the last destination was going to be Slovakian Paradise, however, not everything worked out as planned so we ended up swimming in a lake nearby.


lake in Slovak Paradise


After this adventure everyone else apart from me and Lucia went to Vienna. Lucia went back to Kremnica and I went to Banska Bystrica, met my friend Veronika, Stanka and later Cwika and Vivien. The leaving was as painful as it gets but I am grateful for every single moment, for so many new friends, for so many new experiences and I do hope to see everyone soon.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this brief summary of one of the most amazing times I had in my life. If you enjoyed the photos then look here to see the whole album that contains over 400 pictures that I have collected from everyone who participated.


Thanks for reading and remember that...


"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." ~ Albert Einstein


Last Updated on Monday, 25 July 2011 00:44