Slovakia Trip Report
Had a gorgeous time at Slovak World headquarters hosted by the charming duo Miro Gecovic and Ivan Pobis. In our lengthy discussions we brought up the idea of a Czech World for those with Moravian, Bohemian, Silesian, Valach and Lach heritage. They were very interested - what do you all think? It seems there should be plenty of interest.
Our Treasures of Slovakia photo exhibit (153 photos) had a grand opening on May 4 in Nocheto Castle near Parma, Italy. It was great; so many people were interested in Slovak culture. We were hosted in homes and trattorias and in one case they made us a memorable meal of Italian spaghetti with real Parmesan cheese with Slovak gulas as a second course! Then we were guests of honor at a concert in glorious Parma cathedral in honor of Padre Lino, a monk who fed the poor and is now up for canonization. The choir consisted of 350 singers - it was quite an event! Our exhibit is now travelling in Italy.
In Bratislava had visits scheduled to the new Slovak Information Agency, the Minister of Culture, the new "home" for Slovaks Living Abroad, and Matica Slovenska. We begged them all for more information in English, festival dates a year in advance, better pr, help for travellers. We also encouraged them to hold on to their precious culture. In the rush to be western so much is being lost. Book stores have maps of the world but few for Slovakia, plenty of books by Jacqueline Susan and diet kings but nothing on their gorgeous folk culture. If you've been irritated by the loud American rap & rock music piped everywhere there you will be very happy to hear, as we were, that a new law requires Slovak radio stations to play 40% of their own music!
Lots of kung pau chicken on the menu and Mexican chili and American hamburger but where is the gulas and halusky? They have the best mineral water in the world and now routinely serve "bon aqua" an ersatz coca cola concoction which we refuse to drink.
Rave review for a wonderful vegetarian rest in Trnava just off the main square - the food was wonderful - huge veggie plate, strapacka to die for (yummy cabbage and noodles), fried mushrooms (a personal favorite there) and their memorable chicken soup -in a huge bowl - old fashioned Slovak style. Too many Bratislava restaurants are charging a cover charge, a seating charge, a service charge and then serve up a tiny bowl of soup featuring canned veggies - Ugh - beware! It seems to me that the best food in Slovakia is in the homes followed by the old hotels, smaller restaurants and even the little hostinec where you can still sample real Slovak food.
Update on Folk Fests - Straznice International Festival (Moravia) - the 51st annual Fest is June 28, 29 and 30. Vychodna is the next weekend (July 5,6,7) Detva follows (July 12, 13, 14).
Last call for Slovak Pride information - will include lists of Slovak ancestral names and villages - over 5,000 listings now.
As posted on Slovak-World 22 May 1996
Slovak Heritage and Folklore Society members receive four issues of Slovakia, A Slovak Heritage Newsletter, a year.
$10.00 for one year
$18.00 for two years
$15.00 for one year
$30.00 for two years
Patrons fund sending Slovakia, our quarterly, to libraries, museums, universities, and cultural institutions around the world.
The Slovak Heritage and Folklore Society International
151 Colebrook Drive
Rochester, NY 14617-2215 USA
Phone: +(716) 342-9383
FAX: +(716) 342-0443
Publisher of Slovakia, A Slovak Heritage Newsletter, a quarterly
Back issues of Slovakia are available for $3.00 each.
The Slovak Pride Database