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By my count I have visited nine castles across Europe on this trip, and far and away the best is Orava. The locals don’t mention the Nosferatu connection, as apparently film history isn’t of huge interest to Slovakians. For them, the history of their castles is tied to the Hungarian and Polish families that alternately and repetitively conquered the region. This is a region where tourist information isn’t guaranteed to be in English and we don’t always know the context of what we are seeing. This, however, is a good thing as the places aren’t full of cheap commercialism.

While climbing the various stairs and sections of this castle, we got to speaking to a couple of German gents about the satisfaction of finally finding a place that properly preserves it’s artifacts, including a ban on flash photos of paintings. When they asked us to drop our admittedly meagre plans and accompany them on their travels for a few days, with the normal caution of travellers and Simon’s new respect for not talking to strangers, we opted to make a judgement of these fellows over lunch before committing to anything or dismissing the offer out of hand. I am glad we did, as we discovered we had chanced upon the most connected guy in Slovakia, Wastl, and his well-travelled friend Günter. In the next 2 days, Wastl got us out of our previous accommodation, found us new digs at a cheap price and showed us more of Slovakia in than we had seen in almost a week. He introduced us to the Slovak spirits Borovička (juniper brandy), slivovica (plum brandy) and demänovka (pear brandy that goes down smooth), he introduced us to more of the food and he introduces us to a former Miss Orava and many other pretty girls. He explained whatever we had seen but didn’t understand in the culture, and gave many more insights (it turns out Slovakians don’t celebrate birthdays, the celebrate name days. They all have the name of a saint and each saint has a day. This also means you can't abuse your kid by calling them Jazmeynefzjiyrt as is the trend at home) and even drove us into Poland for a refreshing kvas. Top bloke. And, as I know you’re reading Wastl, feel free to add any comments and corrections.

By the way Alan, Wastl roadied for The Butterfly Effect.

So, I’ll leave you with all the Slovak you will ever need:
ahoj (ahoy): I’m not kidding, ‘hello’
dovidenia: ‘goodbye’
prosim: ‘please / you are welcome’
d’akujem (da-kwe-em): ‘thankyou’
kurva po pici (kurva-po-pits-e)

As a post script, the late arrival of the post card to Alan, while delaying these updates, was beyond perfect: the card arrived mere hours after he saw Hostel 2. According to Father his face was incredible, and the first thing he said to me over the internets was "U ANUS I SO DT+TNK".


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 18th, 2007 11:34 pm (UTC)
i met your brother briefly on saturday at graeme's 21st :)
Jun. 19th, 2007 07:48 pm (UTC)
Re: hi
I am certain, dear anonymous user, that it was a deeply entertaining and probably perplexing experience.

I hear Graeme's 21st was a good night.
Jun. 19th, 2007 10:37 am (UTC)
You weren’t the only one high-browing it, with your gadding about Slovakia, imbibing history, culture and brandy. We undertook some relic “appreciation” of our own.
And so it was, with the aid of some fortifying spirits (called Bourbon by the locals), we bid adieu to the newly “old” Diggler as he set sail on his very own ice flow.

Have you been able/willing to catch “Grindhouse” whilst gallivanting abroad?
Because they’re really trying to ruin it for us over here.
Jun. 19th, 2007 07:45 pm (UTC)
Ice flow? Has he left the golden fields of Healesville in some way?

I first saw signs for Grindhouse in the NYC subway. It looks a sweet concept. However, I'm not sure if it is showing in Padova and if it were it would be all in Italian (not that that would matter; actions speak louder than words). I assume they are trying to ruin it by advertising it too much?
Jun. 20th, 2007 05:11 am (UTC)
You’ve not seen nothing like the Mighty Quinn!
No, no. Diggs remains inextricably woven into the flannelette of Healesville.
I was referring to the Inuit tale/racial slur of them euthanizing their seniors by setting them adrift on icebergs once they are too old to be productive.

If only it was a case of simple over-advertising.
1. A delayed Australian release.
2. Vile dismemberment into two parts*.
3. Further delayed release of part one. (November???)
4. The staggered release of part two. (Xmas???)
*Rather handily defeating the purpose of a "Grindhouse" feature.

I was really looking forward to Grindhouse. So much so, that if I were our mutual friend Markus Theodore and it was a member of the opposite sex, I would demonstrate my mastery of tact by using the phrase “gagging for the chop” probably followed by a few “Giggidy Giggidies” and most likely finish off with an “Oh Yeah!”
Jun. 20th, 2007 10:26 am (UTC)
Re: You’ve not seen nothing like the Mighty Quinn!
Bitches! They have killed it! That's unbelievable!
Jun. 22nd, 2007 10:10 am (UTC)
See not all people are bad...but good thinking in checking them out. Did you get to take any photo's in Orava, and do we get to hear more. I hope your rating all the places your going to so that it takes all the hard work out of it for us other POOR BUGGERS who may eventually get out of Australia. Where to next?
can't wait for the next adventure
Cheers Big Ears...
Jun. 23rd, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC)
If you want more, I can go into annoying detail...

Next will be Hungary (I'm in an internet cafe in Budapest as we speak.. err.. type).

I will give you my tips when I am home on what is awesome and what is not.

Love to you and Shithead,

PS and Mum wants in on the action so "hi" from her.
Jun. 24th, 2007 06:30 am (UTC)
Hi Mum Fraser......and paul.
And here i was thinking you were in Italy studying and doing your PHD.... But all you seem to be doing is traveling and taking in the sites. Since your doing physics is there a way you can modify the human body in order for it to travel from place to place without using today's convenience's. As i have 2 weeks holiday in a weeks time and wish i could be seeing the sites along side you. Oh well looks like i'll have to visit it through you.
talk soon.
Jun. 24th, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC)
Ssssshhhh, don't give it away...

When I get back, I'll torment you both with pictures of awesome things to motivate you to see the stuff yerself.

Take care.
Jun. 28th, 2007 01:19 am (UTC)
I'm glad you are still in one piece!
Hey Paul!

There is one region in the world I do not want to go anywhere near - Easten Europe. I have Hostel and Hostel 2 to thank for that. I'm happy to hear that you are still alive and that you have not been killed or dismembered by some mental rich person wanting to participate in some weird "thrill killing" cult. Hostel wrecked me for a couple of months!

Mark is at the Bendigo in Boronia - just spent the last week in the city for training - he hated every single minute of the train travel! Boronia doesn't seem that far anymore.....

Coldstream Brewery is open for business! Mark and John went there last Saturday night to try the local ale - they seemed to enjoy the 3 pints they knocked back in a couple of hours! Haven't been there myself yet but the boys say it's a nice place and fairly laid back.

Must get back to work....

Take care!

Love, Allison

Jun. 28th, 2007 08:16 am (UTC)
Re: I'm glad you are still in one piece!
Heh. Boronia's a hole. (I live in Bayswater. Er, the Paris end, where the UDLs are served in a glass. Posh.)

Run away! Run away! ;)

Paul, did you guys get back to your hotel in one piece?

Jodie x
Jun. 29th, 2007 07:46 am (UTC)
Re: I'm glad you are still in one piece!
Yeah, we finally got to the next place. I'll post on Hungary today or tomorrow for the full story.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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