Category Archives: Slovakia

View from the castle

On a cloudy winter day,  we were wandering in the alleys of old town Bratislava and we ended up on the top of the hill where the castle of Bratislava is located. As we didn’t have enough time to tour the inside of the castle, we settled with just walking around it and taking in the breathtaking view of the Old town, the New Bridge – which crosses the banks of the Danube River – and the UFO tower, on the bridge’s pylon.

Everything looks different when you are atop!


This post is part of the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop

Hiking in the forest

Taking the trolleybus no. 203 to its final destination, on a sunny winter day, we ended up in Koliba. It is a popular locality that belongs to the Bratislava Forest Park which is located in the foothills of the Little Carpathians in the northern part of Bratislava.

Bratislava Forest Park is a very popular place for the locals.  There are a lot of recreational facilities such as hiking, running and biking trails, sports facilities, playgrounds, snack kiosks etc.

While we were walking and enjoying the nature that the hiking trail had to offer, I noticed the sun-rays penetrating into the forest through the leafless trees creating interesting shadows on the ground. I was fascinated by the variety of forms the shadows were creating that I couldn’t resist and found myself in the peculiar and fun position of  ‘chasing’ shadows.

It was such a relaxing and joyful day, that we returned back home unwillingly.


This post is part of the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge:   Shadow

Winter Paths

On one of my long walks with my camera in Bratislava, I had the opportunity to take photos of the winter scenery; something I can’t do easily in Cyprus.

Sad Janka Kráľa Park, Bratislava, Slovakia
Sad Janka Kráľa Park, Bratislava | by karafc

I found the paths that were created by the snow very fascinating,  so whenever I spotted them I took a shot.

Hviezdoslavovo Namestie, Bratislava, Slovakia
Hviezdoslavovo Namestie, Bratislava | by karafc

With the snow blanketing the landscape it’s very easy to find these wintry paths and walk through them. But the thorn in the roads of this beautiful scene, was the cold temperatures that made it impossible for me to stay out longer.

winter at Sad Janka Kráľa Park, Bratislava
Sad Janka Kráľa Park, Bratislava | by karafc

 

This post is part of the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge:  Path

Statues of Eurovea

Sculptures can be found outside and inside Eurovea shopping mall in Bratislava. They not only beautify the whole area but they add an artistic element as well. This was one of the places I liked to visit when I was in Bratislava. The fact that while you are walking you can see these sculptures and take photos of them, makes you feel like you are  taking a stroll through a modern museum. It wasn’t until recently that I found out there is a story behind the sculptures and I was impressed!

Isabelle, Eurovea Statue, Bratislava, Slovakia
Isabelle, Eurovea Statue, Bratislava | by karafc

The sculptures were created by the British artist Colin Spofforth. Each sculpture has its own name and character and together they complete the  fairy tale “six white mice“, which was written by Colin’s wife. This beautiful story speaks about greediness, faith, true friendship, courage and love.

…Once upon a time in a small village by the river, under the shadow of a greedy King and his spoiled daughter, terrible things were happening. They decided to banish all the mice from the kingdom, and at that moment is when they suddenly became magical artists, two children and six white mice…

Some of the statues hide on them one of the six white mice, so they will not be found by the soldiers of the greedy King.  In order to spot them,  you have to look for them closely.

After learning the story behind the sculptures, I am even more fascinated by them. Next time I will be in Bratislava, I will visit Eurovea shopping mall for one more time!

Café La Putika

When my husband and I stayed for a few months in Bratislava, we used to hang out at this small, cosy café  called “La Putika”.  We really loved it.

La putika Cafe in Bratislava

La Putika café is located in the old town of Bratislava.

La putika Cafe in Bratislava

It has a simple layout with pleasant warm atmosphere, nice vintage decoration and wooden floor.  The rooms are lit with a number of small lamps which makes it darker but also warm and intimate.

La putika Cafe in Bratislava

With it’s charming ambiance, great coffee and reasonable prices, La Putika it’s the place to be! We were so comfortable there, it really felt we were at  home.

This post is part of the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Local

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Corn husk dolls

Every time I am visiting Slovakia or Czech Republic, I always buy these handmade traditional corn husk dolls. Not just for me, but I give them as small gifts to friends and family. I like them very much. They are cute, interesting, small and very light-weighted, so its easy to carry them with you home. You can use them as a home decoration and a small souvenir to remember the country you had visited.

A little bit of the background

I didn’t find much information. Just that during the second half of 20th century, the production of corn husk dolls had developed and turned into a traditional industry in former Czechoslovakia. As the name implies corn dolls, are made of dried corn husks which are joined together with thread – all made by hand. Some of them  even carry small objects like flowers, basket, bread – made with real dough e.t.c. Slovak rural life  was a big  inspiration when creating the dolls, so it became the main theme. They are sold in souvenirs and folklore shops.

My mum has a lot of corn husk dolls. She created a small miniature village with corn people on a shelf in her living room! These photos are from her collection.

I don’t have space in my apartment to place them – as small as they might be – so I keep them in a drawer. I know, not a good place to keep them. They should be in plain view. Some day I will find them a place! But I have a corn lady bookmark that I use  when I am reading a book.

A small memory of Slovakia!

Best tea ever

I should admit that I’ m not a big fan of tea! I only drink tea when I’ m sick, when I don’t find anything else to order or when I  visit friends and they offer tea. However, if I am going to have tea, I do prefer herbal green tea or fruit flavoured.

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We are often going to this cafe – Coffeeshop Company – close to our apartment next to a shopping mall. I think is an austrian cafe branch here in Bratislava.

The other day we went there for a coffee and I saw a leaflet  of their new fresh herbal tea. It looked fantastic and it seemed like the kind of tea that I could drink. I was curious  so I gave it try. It was savouring!

Of course the same evening I had a sore throat and I got a flu. So I realized that this was the reason why I wanted to have tea at the time.  Needless to say that I passed the next days at the Coffeshop drinking tea! Without a doubt, it was the best tea I ‘ve  ever had! 

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Love lock

When I was walking around Bratislava, I passed through a small pedestrian bridge – before the entrance of the old town at Michael’s gate. On the railings I saw a lot of lockers with some initials and hearts on them. I saw the same thing on a platform near the river Danube. So I took some pictures and as soon as I got home, I searched for information about that habit.

love padlocks

And here’s what I found

A love lock or love padlock is a padlock which couples lock to a bridge, fence or a gate  to symbolize their love. Usually the names or initials of the couple are written on the padlock, and its key is thrown away to symbolize unbreakable and everlasting love.

History

The history behind that tradition comes from a sad tale located in Serbia at least 100 years ago, and it refers to the Bridge of Love (Most Ljubavi) in the town of Vrnjačka Banja.

And the story goes like this:

Nada, a local schoolmistress, fell in love with a Serbian officer named Relja. After they committed to each other, he went to war in Greece (World War I),  where he fell in love with a local woman from Corfu. As a consequence, they broke off their engagement. Nada never recovered from that  devastating blow and after some time she died due to a heartbreak from her unfortunate love.

love padlocks

So young women from Vrnjačka Banja who wanted to protect their own love, started writing their names together with the names of their loved ones on padlocks and place them to the railings of the bridge where Nada and Relja used to meet. The keys are thrown into the river below, so they cannot be found ever again. And  evidently the bridge acquired the name Bridge of Love.

In the rest of Europe, love padlocks started appearing in the early 2000s.