Spis Off

Trip Start Aug 22, 2005
Trip End Oct 31, 2005

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Flag of Slovakia  ,
Sunday, September 4, 2005

There is something I find really reassuring about being in a bus driven by a man with a blonde mullet and handlebar moustache whilst mid-80s rock such as Toto's classic 'Africa' and de Burgh's 'Lady in Red' is gently oozing out of the speakers. He was in command I was sure I would have a safe journey. We were also unmistakenly in Eastern Europe, the land that hairdressers and modern music forgot.

Earlier, at the bus station, we had watched several lorry drivers get their days underway with several beers and shots of some colourless liquid and 2 nuns idly chat whilst waiting for the bus to Poprad. What were they going to do there? Shopping, but for what? Do nun's change their habits often? Maybe it was a pilgrimmage to a nearby chapel, or perhaps they fancied a few ales or to watch a movie. Probably not Nuns on the Run though - they must have seen that more than enough.

Talking of films, earlier today we went to Spissky Hrad (Spis Castle), which is massive and you may have seen it before, as it was used in the film Dragonheart, a movie about a dragon with a heart, I suppose. But now, the place is to be used again, in a film called The Last Legion starring Ben Kinglsey and Colin Firth in a Roman Epic. Filming starts in 11 days, but the set was being constructed, including entire new castle walls, which was a little annoying, but cool nevertheless. Reminder to you all, please don't go and watch that film with either Sarah or I as we will bore you to tears with such wonderful snippets of information as "that's not a real door", "the view is very different to that in real life" and "the Romans lose in the end".

Slovakia has really surprised us. We didn't expect much, but we got a lot. We get friendly smiles and 'ahoj!'s from passing locals. We get apples from old women in traditional dress for helping her carry her bags onto the bus. We get a lot of very cheap beer. We also get a lot of dumplings and cabbage, which has led to some serious repercussions in a small tent late at night (Note: Phil & Net, I will fumigate it upon our return!).

On the downside, there is a clear divide between the Slovaks and the Roma and as a result we have had very little interaction with any of the Roma population for a whole host of reasons we know nothing about. The Roma 'problem' will presumably last for centuries, but the 'aroma problem' of many of the young adult males, such as the fella behind me, should be addressed immediately! Send some Lynx over here right away!!!!

Well, there's a bar next door. It's very nice, but expensive at 29 Sk a pint. Might sneak in a couple of cheekies before bedtime..... But, I'll leave you with my little Slovaktfile*:

1) There are 13 vowels in the Slovak alphabet. But, despite this, we went to a place called Spissky Svrtok yesterday. Why have so many vowels, bt nvr s thm? And how the &*% are you supposed to pronounce it?

2) The name Slovakia came from the Turkish attackers in the 13th century, who brought with them souvlaki, a type of kebab. They established this far-flung colony as a place to export their favourite lamb-based tasty snack, so called it Souvlakia, and the present name has thus developed.

3) Slovakia beat Germany 2-0 at football last night. HA! HA!

(* One of these may not be true)
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