Probably you all have heard at least once in your life about Slovakia… But little do we usually know about the country itself. I must confess here that all I knew about it was that it was in Europe. That’s in Salamanca that I met my friend N., in an Erasmus exchange just like I was, the loveliest girl I had met in a great many years.
It’s only when she invited to come and visit her that I did a bit of research, and knowing that it was part of the Union and even using the Euro, I jumped on a bus and met her in Bratislava. I couldn’t believe it when I realized the bus ride was going to be 24 hours, so I finally took a map and Slovakia is definitly a long way! I chose Eurolines as there was a bus from my city to Bratislava. I do appreciate the low cost that is Eurolines but I’ve always hated it as a transportation mean. I don’t know, there is always something very confusing about it. Probably the drivers being unable to speak English or any kind of language that most travellers can understand makes it always such a struggle and a worry not to hop on the wrong bus.
On my way to Slovakia, we had hungarian bus drivers speaking only hungarian, with a very old bus. That is one other thing I hate about Eurolines, you never know what sort of bus you are going to get. Some of them are brand new, free wifi and individual TVs, others are so old, very uncorfortable and way too small for the crowd they take in. We only stopped 3 times in 24hours – my bladder still remembers – and got stuck at the border with Germany for more than half an hour. Whatever happens to the ‘there are no borders in Europe?’
Anyway, it was well worth the trip, for Slovakia is a little hidden gem of Europe. I found life there very much simpler, very natural. My friend lives in Pezinok, around 20 minutes from Bratislava, a small city near the mountains, full of orchards, barking dogs and vineyards. My friend’s life is a lot of time with friends, the whole family in the neighborhood, walking the dog around the block and enjoying the sun in her backyard pool. I was welcomed in a very warm manner by everyone I met, everyone seemed so proud that a French girl would come and visit their small country when I felt like the lucky one having the chance to discover them! Everyone tried a bit of their English, which I really appreciated because boy! what a language! Everyone was interested to see what words I learnt and what I thought of their country! I have missed it for sure, it hit me straight in my face as soon as I found myself in France again, the grumpy mood of everyone around.
Here is a few photos of Pezinok to start with, there will be two more posts about Slovakia and one about Vienna to come in the next few days.