When a snow duvet covers a country like Slovakia, expect two completely different effects. In  first half of December everyone is so hectic that you may feel the end of the world is coming. It is time to finish all the duties of the year, to spend rest of the budget for the year and to buy everything necessary for Christmas time. The first duty makes us frantically busy. The second allow us to solve many issues with financial reserves held back the whole year. The third duty makes people nervous as, again, they are spending as if there won´t be another Christmas.

Therefore the first half of December is better avoided. But the second half is much more rewarding. You will recognize it in the smiling faces. At any time of the day you will meet people shining with joy from pre-Christmas office parties. For a newcomer the highlight is the Christmas market on the Main Square in Old Bratislava. The atmosphere here is great. You are surrounded by stands with all kinds of Slovak specialties. First try a hot MEDOVINA (honey-spirit) as they used to drink it in Medieval times. It is sweet, hot, and has some grades too. This will warm you up enough that you can make a short trip around the stands. Here you may purchase original handmade ceramics, souvenirs from wood, fabrics and sheep wool.

X-mas fare, Bratislava

X-mas fare, Bratislava

Walking around the stands you will get hungry. Well, here we have a whole variety of goose-fest delicatessens as the season of these types of festivities is at its peak. Try also LOKSHA S MAKOM, salty pancake with poppy seeds. Don’t worry, this is also popular specialty to feed children, and it is traditional in Slovakia for hundreds of years.

You could also try the simplest meal of times, CHLIEB S MASŤOU A CIBUĽOU. It is bread covered with fat and onion. It sounds unhealthy, but it is tasty. And it makes sense too as we may learn from following story.

December is also a time to look for the Christmas tree. Every father has this duty in mind and we know one who had exceptional joy from it. His friend from childhood is a forester and, of course, he has plenty of Christmas trees. But you cannot buy them from him. He gives them to the people he likes. And usually after a good drink together. Our hero came to visit his friend the forester with a bottle of something really good in spirit, but forgot that he had not time to eat properly. The forester was dining with his family at that time and offered the guest something substantial, CHLIEB S MASŤOU A CIBUĽOU. But found it was too fat and common for our hero, so he refused. And the result? After two bottles (one from our hero, the second from his host) emptied during a nice chat, the forester was still fresh and on his feet whilst our hero was flat on his back. It is not clear how he got home, but when he was rang the door-bell he was holding firmly onto a Christmas tree. Maybe that tree helped him to stay on his feet. The children were ecstatic to see the tree and the wife was unhappy to see her husband. The moral is clear. If you are in Slovakia at Christmas time and want to be part of a friendly circle, forget your trendy non-fat fads or get an artificial plastic tree.

Well, did you hear – artificial, plastic? Be sure your experiences of the last month of the year in Slovakia will never be that sort. For now, you are in a right country.

 

Gustáv Murín

Foto: G. Murín a Slovakia Travel

(2)