The morning of our last day in Slovakia was spent chilling in Sebechleby, a quaint little village where Patrick’s mum lives. We were sat in the village square when suddenly a soviet style song was played over loud speakers, followed by an announcement. A few people came out of their homes and headed towards a parked white van. Laura, who had already been to Slovakia a number of times before, told me it was to let people know there was someone passing through the village with goods to sell. It seemed a little bit bizarre at first, but when I thought about it, it actually made perfect sense, as I doubt twitter and facebook are used much by the elderly women of Sebechleby. I couldn’t imagine public announcements going down well in a place like London though.
|War memorial in Sebechleby town square|
We headed towards Krupina, the nearest town to do some shopping. On the way we stopped for lunch. Feeling a little bit sniffly, Laura and I opted for the garlic soup. It sorted us right out.
Once in Krupina, our first stop was the pharmacy. Not for medicine, but for tea! It seems that if you have an ailment, the first subscription is a wild herb tea. They have over 300 blends in the pharmacy, each for a different ailment. It was really interesting to talk to Vlado, who is a botanist for a herbal tea blending company, about the medicinal qualities of mountain and forest plants. It has definitely made me think more about looking more locally for healing plants.
|Tea blends for ailments|
We stocked up on tea, then went up to our final viewpoint in Slovakia, where you could see the entire town of Krupina.
|View of Krupina from a watch tower|
Knackered and feeling sad that our Slovakian adventure was coming to an end, we retreated back to Patrick’s mum’s house where we were treated to a lovely homemade dinner of stuffed peppers and bread dumplings.
Patrick had borrowed a book on Slovakian food from a friend that was filled full of quirky illustrations. We made hot toddies and looked through the book. It was a little bit emotional, as it made me realise how much more there was to discover in the country, but how little time we actually had.
I learn’t a great deal about the Slovakian culture through their cuisine, and realised that often language barriers can be broken through food and drink. I must admit, I was a little apprehensive about traveling to Central Slovakia, as I wasn’t sure how and whether small town Slovakians would receive someone from a non-european background, especially since the government made their views clear on where they stood with regards to taking in migrants so recently. But, all my fears were proved wrong. Not only are Slovakians welcoming and hospitable, they also have a lot of respect for the natural world. Their resourcefulness and appreciation for their environment is admirable and something we could all learn from. From my short time in the country, I will take away a new philosophy: take care of nature and nature will take care of you.
|Fork in pig|
We hit the sack, to get up early in the morning to make our way to Hungry.