Over 2 years ago we moved to Nitra. What was once so unfamiliar is now a part of the everyday (though, admittedly, the post office still confuses us…and most Slovaks too for that matter). In celebration of our 2 years here in the Slovak Republic, we’d like to share some things we’ll miss – and these are not the deep profound things like friendships, life changing moments and favourite places to watch the sunset – no, this our shallow list of the little things that serve as the icing on top of the cake that we call life:
DRIVING IN SLOVAKIA
In a country where the posted speed limit is 130 km/h, drivers here have a liberal understanding of the rules of the road and truly know how to use the gas pedal and high beams (to warn you to clear a path). We love it! The true beauty of the dance of passing other cars takes place on the smaller regional roads where no corner is too blind and no hill too steep to stop someone from passing that transport truck.
PARKING IN SLOVAKIA
The true genius of Slovak drivers is seen in their ability to park a car anywhere – literally. While we feel we hold our own driving amongst the Europeans, we cannot park like them. They seem to have an inherent sense of where they can get away with plunking their car. Sidewalks, lawns, corners, meridians and building entrances are simply parking spaces in the making. Now throw in that they fit 2 cars in spaces smaller than a single SUV.
Traditionally made at Christmas time (though there is a year-round booth outside of the mall entrance), trdelník is dough wrapped around a metal cylinder, cooked and then coated in your choice of toppings. We like them hot, fresh and covered in cinnamon and sugar.
We’ve encountered some debate over whether this food is Slovak or Hungarian, but regardless of who made it first, we love it. It is basically extremely oily, friend dough covered in garlic, tartar sauce, cheese, kolbasa, onion and ketchup – though you can mix and match as you please.
After blindly picking it through a website and signing our contract before ever stepping foot in it, our apartment has become our home. We love it – where it is, the layout, the ability to host people, the view.
AIR RAID SIRENS
Leftover from the wars, Nitra still tests the air raid sirens the first Friday of every month at noon. Now it is done as a fallout precaution for the nearby nuclear powerplant. The first time it went off we were concerned as we had no idea what was happening (looking around us no one seemed concerned so we took it in stride). It’s great to have out-of-town guests here when it the sirens sound…there is fun to be had.
AIR SHOW PRACTICE AND GLIDERS
There is a small airfield located in a tiny village just outside of Nitra. It is home to gliders and stunt planes that use the airfield to practice for airshows. So from our back windows we get a summer-long free airshow and chuckle at pedestrians as they duck at the sound of the gliders wooshing in from overhead to land.
There are no giant mistakes when Slovak companies use English – inevitably everyone who’s traveled has encountered some funny error. Here in Slovakia it is more of the unique naming of things that we enjoy. Like Party Power, a competitor to Red Bull.