Slovak cuisine not for the faint hearted
As a Slovak living abroad now for a couple of decades, I have become a regular reader of The Slovak Spectator. My English husband and I are planning a trip to Slovakia and the Czech Republic for the first time.
We have found your Travel Guide magazine very informative, full of practical information about travelling around the country, but we were especially taken by an article written by Chris Togneri ["Chatas, hospitality and the subtle art of refusal," Spectacular Slovakia 2000, page 17. Copies of the guide can be obtained from The Slovak Spectator's offices].
The article was about visiting a friend's weekend cottage (chata) and eating a Slovak version of bacon and other meat products called jaternica [a stuffed, greasy sausage]. I must say it was hilarious, especially because my husband is very fussy about what he eats. He is now dreading visiting my relations just in case they offer him something similar accompanied by a jug of borovíčka [hard alcohol made from juniper berries].
Cars a menace in the Old Town
Kudos to Milan Vajda regarding his column on a car-free Korzo ["Old Town Notes: A car-free Korzo still a distant dream," By Milan Vajda, Old Town spokesman, Vol. 6 No. 29, July 31 to August 13].
I have been travelling to Bratislava since 1994 and have witnessed the resurrection of Old Town with delight and wonder. And now I witness, with considerable dismay, the cars in Old Town. There was once a time when the rules for cars in Old Town were enforced, but now, as Mr. Vajda has noted, it is an appalling situation.
I hate sitting at the cafés along Ventúrska Street and having to breathe the exhaust of passing cars or listen to their din. Many of them speed with a reckless abandon that indicates not only the driver's arrogance, but also his ignorance (they are invariably male drivers).
If the police are not going to enforce the ban on cars in Old Town, then the city should install speed bumps to slow the drivers down. However, they should simply enforce the existing ban. Period. After the deliveries are made, let us walk in peace in Old Town.
Bratislava Old Town is being soiled by the presence of illegal cars. Not only is it a cultural soiling - sitting at a café loses its lustre when the BMWs thump by. It is also a physical soiling. Observe the soiled and loosened stones that result from the cars going by. Listen to the thump-bump-thump of the stones as the cars course through the Korzo.
Let's not forget the issue of safety. Wait till one of these drivers goes too fast and too drunk and careens into a crowd of café patrons. Will it take a maiming or a death to set this issue straight?
Therefore, the city should do something now because of these reasons: safety, culture and pollution. Old Town is a jewel and should not be tarnished with a patina resulting from illegal vehicles in Old Town.
Does the city of Bratislava have the will to do this? Let's hope so.
Cedar Falls, Iowa
21. Aug 2000 at 0:00