Slovakia Anyone? - My Family Travels



Ahoy! (Slovakian for hello). This summer I had the amazing opportunity of traveling to Slovakia for one month! I traveled with some friends, who are native Slovaks. On this trip, I did not go with my family, nor did I have any particular reason for visiting this obscure country, and in fact most people asked me questions such as “Why are you going to Czechoslovakia?”…I just answered and said it is Slovakia, and I am going because I am obsessed with culture!

The day of the trip finally arrived, and I was not worried about anything except the length of the trip, and how I was going to fly home by myself. Everything went smoothly, flying from Phoenix to New York, Geneva, and last, we landed in Vienna. Once in Vienna we discovered that my luggage was still in the US. I decided to just roll with things, because after all I was in EUROPE, and who cared if I had the minor detail of clothes! We opted to take the rustic countryside drive into Piestany, our final destination, which was beautiful, and made me feel like I was I in a movie. The next day, when my suitcase still had not arrived, I was a bit more anxious, but luckily I had listened to my mother, and I had some clothes in my carry-on.

            The trip was ultimate relaxation most of the time. Piestany was a charmingly small spa town! My daily routine included sleeping in, eating delicious food, and walking and reading in the park- awesome, right? Some of the main points of my trip were exciting! On the trip I got to spend three days in the Tatras mountains, the mountain range that divides Poland and Slovakia. I also got to spend one day in Krakow, Poland. Krakow was about a three hour drive from where we were staying in the Tatras, so I had to learn how to “sightsee on a schedule”. I also got to spend a day in Vienna, which was my absolute FAVORITE!

            Now for the learning experiences (AKA not- so- smooth- things). I had to learn how to deal with limited personal space. The family I was staying with constantly had cousins over, and it always seemed as if the cousins were obsessed with my stuff. I began realizing that my stuff was being rummaged through after noticing my things mysteriously misplaced around the room. Although the kids denied it, I finally got them to admit it, when their curiosity for certain girl items became too great to contain their alibi. Sometimes you have to use a luggage lock even after you get through the airports.

           Another major thing to overcome was the language barrier. I was staying with a ten year old girl that spoke virtually no English. She was deathly excited that an American girl was coming this year, and had not taken into account that I did not speak Slovak. Most of the time it was a lot of fun trying to get along and communicate, but sometimes it got tricky, frustrating, and nearly impossible. Sometimes a heated situation would arise from a misunderstandings based on language, but I think it was a learning experience for the both of us!

Overall the trip was awesome, and I learned so much about this rich and unknown culture! I am probably one of the only people in Phoenix who can say that they have visited Slovakia. Traveling home on three planes alone was a total feeling of freedom, and I probably matured years just on the journey home!


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