Around Slovakia

Bratislava - Rajka
Bratislavans moving to Hungarian border

PEOPLE are beginning to move from Bratislava to Rajka, a village in Hungary only a few minutes' drive from the capital, the SME daily reported on August 9.
Within the last year, 70 Slovak families have bought houses or land in the village. "Most of them are from Bratislava. At least 20 families are already living here, while others are reconstructing old houses or building new ones," Alföldi Ferencné from the local municipal office told the daily.
Dana Grelnetová, who has been living in the village for a while, says most of the new arrivals are middle class Slovaks.
Real estate is much cheaper in Rajka than in both Bratislava and the surrounding area. For example, a house with a garden in Rajka costs around Sk2 million (€53,500), which is about the same price as one would pay for a small flat in Bratislava.
The commute from Bratislava to Rajka takes 10 minutes, including the time spent at the border. There is no public transport connection, however.

Slovak beer almost unknown abroad

ACCORDING to a report published on August 3, Slovak beer is difficult to find abroad because Slovak breweries are focused on the domestic market. If beer is exported, it is usually to neighbouring countries or to North America, the Hospodárske noviny newspaper found.
In 2005, only 11.8 million litres of Slovak beer out of a total of 396.3 million litres brewed was exported, more or less the same as in the last six years.
Of the 11.8 million litres exported in 2005, 7 million consisted of beer exported by Heineken, which owns many Slovak brands. "This includes Zlatý Bažant [Golden Pheasant], which has been the most successful beer export for a long time," said Heineken spokesman Roman Krajniak.
Last year, Zlatý Bažant was sold in 16 countries, mainly the Czech Republic, Russia, Hungary, Canada and the US.
According to the director of the Slovak Association of Beer and Malt Producers, Roman Šusták, the trend is more towards the export of hops and malt.
"Last year was a disaster [for breweries], but this summer's hot weather means sales should be better," Šusták added.

Bratislava - Vienna
First Vienna to Bratislava swim event

Tibor Kováčik completes a swim down the Danube River from Vienna to Bratislava on August 12 as part of the Dunaj bez hraníc - Donau ohne Grenzen (Danube Without Borders) event.
photo: SITA

TEN swimmers propelled themselves down the Danube River from Vienna to Bratislava on August 12 on the occasion of the inaugural Danube Without Borders event - Donau ohne Grenzen.
The international event was staged by the Slovak civic organisation Polar Bears Bratislava and the Austrian Erster Wiener Donau Schwimm. Though the planned start at 09:00 was postponed by one hour, the swimmers reached Bratislava faster than expected. What had been estimated at seven hours of swimming was reduced to four-and-half hours due to a quick current, said Polar Bears member Ladislav Pečenka.
The swimmers were in two groups. Ladislav Pečenka, Radovan Hlatký, Eva Steyrerová, Tibor Kováčik, Katarína Kuniková, Hanns Pekarek and Stephan Dvorak alternated every 30 minutes.
Two swimmers originally intended to swim the whole 53-kilometre route, but only one succeeded. Tibor Černák swam less than half the route, and was replaced in Hainburg by his Czech colleague, Michal Moravec, because the 15-degree-Celsius water had lowered his body temperature dangerously. Zoltán Makai, who was the first Slovak swimmer to swim across the English Channel, managed to swim the whole route from Vienna to Bratislava. "The most difficult thing was getting into the water," he said.
The weather was not on the swimmers' side, with the air temperature below 20 degrees Celsius, a cold drizzle falling from the sky and the river water at a cool 15 degrees Celsius.

King of sausages comes from Spiš

PRODUCERS in Slovakia plan to register the popular Spiš sausage recipe with an official EU trademark that would declare the franks a traditional Slovak product, just like the country's well known salty sheep cheese, bryndza.
The sausage has been produced in the Spiš region in eastern Slovakia for more than 100 years, the Nový Čas daily reported.
Although Spiš sausages have been considered an exclusive meat product for years, their recipe is no secret. "They are made from a combination of quality pork and beef. But the most important ingredient is, as usual, spice. In this case, it's paprika imported from Spain," said Marian Uzák, director of meat product manufacturer Mäsospiš.
As in the past, the mixture is stuffed into sheep intestines rather than into an artificial plastic casing. The sausages are then smoked to give them their distinctive flavour.
In the period following the arrival of large retail food chains, Slovaks lost interest in the Spiš variety of sausages in preference for cheaper versions.
However, following bad experiences with cheap meat products and especially reports of tainted meat at supermarket chains, more and more people have returned to traditional brands.

Town faces financial collapse

THE SPA town of Dudince in central Slovakia's Banská Bystrica region could end up in the hands of receivers due to its accumulating debts, the Pravda daily reported.
The reason is the nearly Sk30 million (€790,000) that the town spent on a sewage treatment plant, and the Sk1.7 million in added costs each year.
"If we don't find a solution, all of us will feel it - the town, its citizens, and its business people. The sewage treatment plant has been operating for four years now. But we're stuck with a large debt that could ruin us. We could even end up in receivership for decades, and the town, instead of developing, would barely be able to scrape its way forward," Dudince Mayor Štefan Pokluda told the daily.
The town's representatives want to find a way to pay off the principal so the interest stops increasing. One option being considered is the sale of some of its assets or its shares in the spa.

President attends Terchová International Folk Festival

SLOVAK President Ivan Gašparovič attended the 44th annual International Janošík Days folk festival in the northern Slovak village of Terchová on August 5.
"I'm very glad to meet more and more people on such occasions nearly every year, people who expect a programme in line with our traditions and national and folk art," Gašparovič said.
More than a thousand artists performed on four stages during the five-day festival.
As usual, the programme offered performances by traditional Slovak music groups and dance troupes, such as the renowned Lúčnica ensemble, as well as orchestras and symphonies.
Another feature since 1968 has been horse-drawn carriages escorted by musicians. Great attention is always given to Sunday's Holy Mass, which is devoted to the standard bearers of national folk traditions and arts.
According to legend, Slovak national hero Juraj Jánošík, popularly known as the "Slovak Robin Hood", was born in Terchová in the 17th century.

Sečovská Polianka
Polish car burns after accident at railway crossing

FOUR Polish citizens were involved in a car accident on the evening of July 30 on the road between the villages of Parchovany and Sečovská Polianka in eastern Slovakia's Trebišov district.
According to Košice regional police spokeswoman Jana Demjanovičová, the accident occurred after an Opel Vectra passed over a railway crossing and hit the signalling equipment.
The car burst into flames, but the passengers managed to scramble out in time.
All four passengers - two men and two women - were injured, and were treated in hospital in Trebišov.
The damage to the signalling equipment has been estimated at around Sk30,000 (€787). The cause of the accident is being investigated.

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