Sunday, January 17, 2010


In Slovakia, New Years Eve is known as "Silvester." Except for a few special holidays, each day corresponds to a name. For instance, "Daniel" corresponds with July 21. December 31st is the "names day" for Silvester.

Some of my friends asked me if I would join them in going to a cottage near a town about an hour away from Bratislava. I was a bit reluctant to say that I would because the cottage that they stayed in last year did not have running water. They used an outhouse for a toilet. Not my kind of fun.

Upon arriving to the cottage on the 30th, I was reassured: no running water or toilet in the cottage. Fortunately, we had a toilet and sink available to us just outside our cottage.

One of the highlights of staying at the cottage was building snowmen.

Not having built a snowman in years, I had forgotten about the weight of snow. I had wanted to build a gigantic snowman, a man-like snowman. We stopped rolling the lower third when we could not longer push it. However, I forgotten that the middle shouldn't be too heavy because we would have to lift it. It took three guys to lift it. We were quite proud of our snowman after giving it a few facials.

To ring in the new year, we went into the small town - Piestany (Pi-esh-ta-knee) - for a small concert and fireworks. After having spent Silvester in Bratislava two years ago and in Piestany this year, I am convinced that Slovakia has no regulations on fireworks. Being in the town was like being in a small war zone. I always had to look where I was stepping and watching what others were doing around me. In Bratislava, kids would throw firecrackers into groups of people. Then everyone would have to scatter to avoid losing a leg.

Another interesting part of the evening was the "dropping of the ball". Well, okay, there was no ball, and we had no idea when was the "official" new year. There was no clock nearby. So each group of people standing waiting for the "official" firework to begin had their own time. One group of people would count down and yell, "Happy New Year", and the group next to them would just shake their hands thinking, "Don't they know it's ten more seconds." This made for quite an interesting way to "drop the ball."

The next morning we returned to Bratislava.

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