View Full Version : Off to Slovakia

04-06-2007, 09:15 AM
I'm taking a week's vacation to go on a community mission trip to Slovakia starting Sunday. I'll take lots of pics and post about my experiences once I get back.

We're going to do some basic maintenance and construction work on an orphanage.

Tom Odom
04-06-2007, 11:55 AM
I'm taking a week's vacation to go on a community mission trip to Slovakia starting Sunday. I'll take lots of pics and post about my experiences once I get back.

We're going to do some basic maintenance and construction work on an orphanage.

That's great stuff! Enjoy the trip, enjoy the kids, and keep the rubber between the ditches...


04-06-2007, 12:31 PM
120 !
Have a safe trip.

I thought you were going to Sudan ? It would have been warmer ;)

Slovakia is fun and the ladies are..................

04-06-2007, 01:46 PM
Have a great trip, Drew! I'm looking forward tohearing about it when you get back.


04-07-2007, 01:10 PM
"The Surge" has increased work at my contract job to the extent that the Sudan mission has been called off, for me. I don't mind it. The money is good and I get to sleep with my wife every night ;^)

The Slovakian thing has been out there for quite awhile, and I promised my wife and kids "no matter what" I'd go with them on this.

04-15-2007, 11:56 AM
Well, just returned, am exhausted, but took notes and will render a full report tomorrow or the next day, when I find the time.

I am married, and was there with wife and both teenaged daughters, but having said that, I concur with the comments re: Slovakian ladies. If I were a 20-something and single, I would spend time there looking for a prospective mate. I met one family where all three generations of females present were extremely attractive.

The sheep's cheese is to die for. The region looks like it is economically "taking off".

04-16-2007, 02:55 PM
Well, here goes nothing: We spent the week in central-north Slovakia, in the Tatra mountains, not too far from the Polish border. The town name is Liptovsky Mikulas', and it is home of the Olympic Training center for Slovakia. We travelled through Austria, and crossed the border south of Bratislava.

Bratislava is an interesting combination of old, decrepit Soviet era construction, and ultramodern industrial. A very good example of an Eastern European capital city on the move. While there are certainly lots of "left-behinds", it doesn' appear as if the separation from the Czech Republic hurt them as much as I thought it would.

From Bratislava to Lyptovsky Mikulas', two things were extremely evident. First, the great majority of billboards were from Western investment concerns, such as ING, Merrill Lynch, etc.. Second, the wildlife is numerous, with a lot of Hare, Roe Deer and especially Pheasant, which appears to be the Slovakian bird. Everything from beer to cars are called Baz'ant (pheasant). I really, really need to take a hunting trip to Slovakia.

The Tatra mountains are breathtakingly beautiful, as are the Slovakian women. If I were not 43 and happily married, I'd be looking that direction for a mate. Luckily, my wife and children were with me, which made it a "safer" trip. Our interpreters were smart, young, beautiful and poor. They meticulously maintained what appeared to be their one or two sets of clothing. I'll post some pics of our interpreters and some of the children, later.

The school where we volunteered was typical communist era crap architecture, but the teachers were smart, motivated and were doing a good job of teaching the kids. The school cafeteria impressed me to no end. The meals were small in size, (I'm dieting anyway) but were high quality and delicious. I could eat Slovakian soups every day. The cheese is also delicious, but the breads and dumplings were to die for. Steamed bread with red cabbage and beet sauce poured over it were awesome.

We finished our outdoor classroom, which we built using native birch, most of it really, really green. I hope it doesn't pull out the ring shank spikes and screws we used to secure it. The Swedes have a state of the art lumbermill in town which I assume produces some of that IKEA "do it yourself" furniture kits.

As a reward for our hard work, we all (37 high school aged kids, all military dependents) received birch whistles. I have fallen in love with the Slovakian birch whistle, the food and the people. I really, really want to go back with my family, without the pressure to produce a classroom, and get to know more about the area.

Linguistically, the language is a mishmash of Russian, German and Polish. I understood a good half of what I heard, if not more. Most of our confusion was caused when I would forget myself and start speaking Russian. There was always an interpreter nearby to smirk and patiently explain the differences, however. I found everyone to be more understandable than in the Czech Republic because of the prevalence of more Slavic words that I was much more familiar with.

One drawback of the trip was the alcohol-free nature of it. I did not get to sample the Zlaty Baz'ant (A 12% alcohol beer that everyone appeared to drink) or the locally produced version of Tokaj. It is alleged to be fantastic.

Well, I need sleep, now. I'll try to post some pics tonight or tomorrow.

04-17-2007, 12:09 PM
Here some pictures that our photographer took. I would've had more pictures of landscape, vehicles and buildings, but these aren't bad.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v311/120mm/IMG_9320.jpg The view from the school playground. Old Soviet, pre-soviet buildings mixed and the Tatra mountains.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v311/120mm/IMG_8806.jpg Me, striking a heroic pose, while scraping rust off the 1960s Soviet-era school.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v311/120mm/DSC_0055.jpg Slovak kids, watching us build a classroom

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v311/120mm/IMG_8726.jpg Our interpreters.

04-17-2007, 12:11 PM
More beautiful Slovak scenery:




And finally, my new best buddy, "Skip" Vallee, the US Ambassador to Slovakia. Believe it or not, he spent the whole day with us.

04-17-2007, 12:17 PM
That looks like a grill brush in your hand :rolleyes:

Thanks for the great shots !