James Thomson

List of authors articles

Nice driveway! An occasional column on life in Slovakia

Secret votes and public lies

There are uncanny echoes today of Slovakia’s agonies over its choice of chief prosecutor ten years ago.25. Nov 2020, at 8:28

Dobroslav Trnka (left) and Jozef Čentéš (right), the candidate who was eventually selected by MPs in 2011, never got to take up the post because the then president, Ivan Gašparovič refused to appoint him for reasons that were never clearly explained.
Nice driveway! An occasional column on life in Slovakia

Pity the nation

Americans’ choice of president on November 3 will affect Slovaks too.26. Oct 2020, at 10:37

The second US presidential debate.
Nice driveway! An occasional column on life in Slovakia

Congratulations, you’ve won a thousand euros!

Slovakia will get about €7.5 billion – but for what?23. Sep 2020, at 7:00

The switch to the euro has helped upgrade Slovakia's ratings.
Nice driveway! An occasional column on life in Slovakia

How a marginal part of Bratislava became pilgrimage spot for foreigners

Unable or unwilling to travel abroad this summer? Why not enjoy an excursion to the Foreigners’ Police, where a full day (at least) of excitement awaits!20. Aug 2020, at 17:02

Foreigners’ Police department in Bratislava
Nice driveway! An occasional column on life in Slovakia

Selling (out) the future

The behaviour on display in the latest plagiarism scandal is mirrored by that of some educational institutions too.12. Jul 2020, at 15:35

Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollár holds a press briefing on June 23, 2020, in Bratislava, explaining his plagiarism.
Nice driveway! An occasional column on life in Slovakia

From lockdown in New Zealand to home quarantine in Slovakia. A COVID-19 odyssey

In which your correspondent inadvertently circumnavigates the globe in the middle of a pandemic.10. Jun 2020, at 8:00

The deserted Auckland airport, New Zealand's busiest, in May 2020.

The Spectacular journey: Getting to know Slovakia

James Thomson recalls some of the highs and lows of a summer spent on the road researching the 14th edition of Spectacular Slovakia.24. Apr 2020, at 7:00

Find out more about region of folklore, national parks and modern attractions.
Spectacular Slovakia Podcast

Red Stone Castle houses a replica of Michelangelo’s Madonna of Bruges

The Renaissance fortress, located in Častá in the Bratislava Region, is a well-preserved castle set in the Small Carpathians.23. Apr 2020, at 8:00

Red Stone Castle (Červený Kameň) in Častá, Bratislava Region, easily accessible by public transport, serves as a furniture museum in the first place.
Audio
Nice driveway! An occasional column on life in Slovakia

What Slovakia and New Zealand (don't) have in common

We are all struggling with the new reality. Some more than others.15. Apr 2020, at 15:09

Igor Matovic, the kingmaker who became the king.
Nice driveway! An occasional column on life in Slovakia

Men of appetites

Slovakia’s voters face some unappetising choices on 29 February.13. Feb 2020, at 11:25

Robert Fico celebrates his 2012 victory.
Nice driveway! An occasional column on life in Slovakia

Once upon a time in the east

In which your correspondent is doused in holy water and discusses the economics of collective farming.27. Jan 2020, at 20:10

Nice driveway! An occasional column on life in Slovakia

Onwards and upwards

Slovakia is changing, and (whisper it) some things are getting better.27. Dec 2019, at 5:32

Andrej Danko
Nice driveway! An occasional column on life in Slovakia

Strange parallels as Britain and Slovakia go to the polls

‘Who should I vote for?’ Slovak friends sometimes ask. I am in no position to offer advice any more.2. Dec 2019, at 10:42

The idea of demonstrators waving EU flags in Westminster would have seemed faintly ridiculous before 2016; now it is a common sight at moments of parliamentary drama.
Nice driveway! An occasional column on life in Slovakia

October is the cruellest month

Trying to get Slovaks to look on the bright side can be tough at the best of times. In October, their tempers shorten with the days.30. Oct 2019, at 16:46

The long-term unemployed find it harder to return to work.
Nice driveway! An occasional column on life in Slovakia

By their parking policy shall ye know them

With the city preparing to impose city-wide car parking restrictions, the character of Bratislava is about to change.24. Sep 2019, at 15:05

Parking is problematic in several boroughs of Bratislava
Nice driveway! An occasional column on life in Slovakia

Doing the right thing

This week, Slovakia marks 75 years since the Slovak National Uprising. But what was the SNP, and what is its significance?28. Aug 2019, at 9:35

Nice driveway! An occasional column on life in Slovakia

The door with no handle

Getting treated in the Slovak public health care system is never less than an adventure. Some of the surprises are tiresome; many are just odd.25. Jul 2019, at 16:05

Waiting rooms are full of patients, illustrative stock photo
Nice driveway! An occasional column on life in Slovakia

In praise of the jedáleň

Some level of disbelief greets my reports that Slovaks typically dine out on a hearty two-course meal every weekday lunchtime.25. Jun 2019, at 14:54

Fried cheese has outlived socialism. Some restaurants serve it as the only vegetari-an meal.
Nice driveway! An occasional column on life in Slovakia

Send in the clowns

The poorly attended circus that is the European elections is about to come to town. Enjoy the show – but don’t expect too much of the performers.12. May 2019, at 18:43

Spectacular Slovakia #34: Bratislava on two wheels

Anna and James have tried Bratislava’s yellow bikes. How do they work for tourists?9. May 2019, at 11:47

Bike-sharing stands in Bratislava
Audio