|Bratislavský hrad (Bratislava Castle)|
When Dave was in high school he toured Europe one summer with a group called People to People. They visited Slovakia that summer, and at the time the country was still communist. It was rather bleak and he was looking forward to seeing how much it had changed since the 80s.
After spending 8-9 days in Germany and then Austria, there was a very distinct difference as we drove to Bratislava. Only an hour away from Vienna mind you, but a world apart. I talked a bit about it a few posts back, how people in Vienna believe it is a waste of time to head East out of town. You could feel it on the roads. Driving in to Vienna (from Munich) the roads were packed and over run, but driving East to Bratislava the roads were nearly empty. And most of the license plates shifted to Romania, Hungry, Poland, Czech Republic and of course Slovakia. It quickly shifted from a feel of Western Europe to Eastern by driving that 1 hour East of Austria.
|Bratislava, Slovak National Theatre|
There was a wonderful local craftmans' area set up in stalls just in front of the National Theatre in Hlavne Namestie (or the main square). It is one of the only places I did buy something to bring home. I picked up a beautiful hand painted egg to hang on the Christmas tree and remember our trip.
|Family Plot Borský Svätý Jur, Slovakia|
|Borský Svätý Jur Medieval Cross|
I think one of the coolest things was hearing locals pronounce our last name. It has been anglicized through the generations and is no longer pronounced in the Slovak way. And while my brother-in-laws will swear it is pronounce in a guttural way (saying that is the 'old country' pronunciation), they are wrong. It actually has a much softer sound when pronounced by a local. And it was fun to see their face light up when they saw our last name on the registry, asking "oh, you are a Slovak?" You just don't get asked that every day in the US. All the rest of the Slovakia pictures are over on Pinterest including the hand painted egg.