Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

IN THIS SUMMER SERIES, FOREIGN WOMEN SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES OF LIVING IN SLOVAKIA

How to beat sharp horseradish, and other expat tips

NORWEGIAN Halldis Augensen is head of human resources and administration at Internet provider Nextra, and has lived in Slovakia since September 2001. She is married to Danish national Peter Anker-Moller, general manager of the Radisson SAS Carlton Hotel in Bratislava.
The Slovak Spectator (TSS): What is your favourite place to eat and drink in Slovakia?
Halldis Augensen (HA): My husband's workplace Hotel Carlton, of course - good food and service. Hradná Vináreň under the Bratislava castle because of the fantastic view from the terrace. Lots of small, local restaurants because of the good atmosphere.
...


Halldis Augensen
photo: Spectator Archives

NORWEGIAN Halldis Augensen is head of human resources and administration at Internet provider Nextra, and has lived in Slovakia since September 2001. She is married to Danish national Peter Anker-Moller, general manager of the Radisson SAS Carlton Hotel in Bratislava.

The Slovak Spectator (TSS): What is your favourite place to eat and drink in Slovakia?

Halldis Augensen (HA): My husband's workplace Hotel Carlton, of course - good food and service. Hradná Vináreň under the Bratislava castle because of the fantastic view from the terrace. Lots of small, local restaurants because of the good atmosphere.


TSS: What Slovak dish or drink do you like?

HA: Slovak white wine. A lot of good quality wine is being produced here.


TSS: What is your favourite place to visit?

HA: Lots of places: bicycling along the Danube river, spa towns like Piešťany and Trenčianske Teplice,

mountain areas like the Low and High Tatras.


TSS: What struck you the most when you came here?

HA: That a capital could be so quiet and peaceful and have such a relaxed atmosphere.


TSS: What advice would you give to a foreigner who comes to Slovakia for the first time?

HA: Be open-minded and keep in mind the history of the country.


TSS: What will be your lasting memory of Slovakia?

HA: Slovak nature, friendly people, difficult language, hot summers.



Liza Slay
photo: Spectator Archives

Liza Slay is American and is here because of her husband's job. She has lived in Bratislava since August 2001. She is married to Ben Slay, director of the United Nations Development Programme's Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS.


TSS: What Slovak dish or drink do you like?

Liza Slay (LS): I love Slovak soups, especially hríbová (mushroom), and cesnaková (garlic), and Štedrovečerná kapustnica (that fabulous cabbage soup with three kinds of meat that is served on Christmas Eve). I also love smoked pstruh s chrenom (smoked trout with horseradish). The horseradish here is the hottest I have ever tasted, but a Slovak friend taught me the secret of eating it: when it starts to burn, hold a piece of bread to your nose and breathe in. Something about inhaling the smell of the bread neutralises the burn. The roast goose and palacinky (pancakes) that are served during the New Wine celebrations in October are savoury, as are the shish-kabobs served at the Christmas Market on Hlavné námestie.

The Vinea drink is great! It tastes a bit like a wine spritzer with a fresh grape flavour and no alcohol. I am eager to try a liquor called horec, which, I am told, is made with wild flowers that grow only in the Tatra mountains.


TSS: What struck you the most when you came to Slovakia?

LS: I was stunned by the mobile phone revolution and the number of Slovaks who have them, even children. They are not yet this popular at home.


TSS: Did you have any embarrassments or language faux pas with Slovaks?

LS: Yes, with words that you cannot print in this article! This has happened to me several times when my limited Slovak has failed me and I have resorted to Polish. There are some words in Polish that, to Poles, are good common words that people use every day. Those same words in Slovak, however, have sexual connotations or are extremely obscene. A classmate warned me that there are seven Polish words that will get you into a lot of trouble in Slovakia. I've figured out two of those on my own, the hard way.


TSS: What advice would you give to a foreigner who comes to Slovakia for the first time?

LS: Study Slovak! If you are going to live here for a year or more, the one thing you can do to get the most out of your time, make good friends and really enjoy this culture is learn the language. Don't listen to people who tell you it is not a "useful" language, because that's rubbish. If you know one Slavic language, you can communicate in all the other Slavic countries and it is very likely that you will travel to Prague, Moravia, Krakow, Kiev or the Dalmatian Coast at some point during your stay here.


TSS: What will be your lasting memories of Slovakia?

LS: The High Tatras, the colour blue, getting my first mobile phone and then receiving my first SMS message from my daughter in Slovak, standing on the tower of Spišský hrad on a clear, windy day, the plays Na Skle Maľované and Tančiareň, the eerie eyes in some of the portraits at Červený Kameň that follow you when you walk by, visiting Roma villages in eastern Slovakia, the way Bratislava looks when a low fog settles over the Danube river and the castle stands above the clouds, and the sound of the cheers rising from the center of the city all the way up to Koliba the night the Slovaks won the World Hockey Championship.


TSS: What is the main difference or similarity in character between Slovaks and people of your country?

LS: Slovaks and Americans are both open and friendly people. As a rule, I find that Americans tend not to take no for an answer, while Slovaks accept defeat too easily - unless they are playing hockey! It's easy to live in anonymity in the US, while here in Bratislava, everybody knows everybody else.

Top stories

Night life in Bratislava will not end

Councillors for the Old Town adopt new opening hours for pubs, night clubs and restaurants.

How social networks can earn you a ticket to Germany

Can a status on a social network change someone’s life? Yes, if you write humorous stories about a fictive German ambassador.

Assaf Alassaf (r) talked about his life and his book in Bratislava

The most famous circus comes to town Video

The famous Cirque du Soleil is in Bratislava celebrating the 15th year of its show Varekai: Tales of the Forest.

Cirque du Soleil: Varekai

New investor to create 500 jobs in Nitra

A company following the Jaguar Land Rover carmaker to Nitra plans to create 500 new jobs and invest €17 million.

Tha Jaguar Land Rover draws also other investors to Nitra.