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SLOVAK MATTERS

Making the most of the summer sun

THE SUN is beating down and a noisy fan (ventilátor) is failing to make any impression on the overwhelming heat in the office. Time to escape and enjoy the summer, even if only for an afternoon.
Unfortunately the Slovak saying, "Where the sun goes, the doctor doesn't" (Kam chodí slnko, tam nechodí lekár), no longer holds true in these days of global-warming (globálne otepľovanie) and holes in the ozone layer.
However, most of us still need little excuse for going out and making the most of the sunny weather (slnečné počasie). After all, what harm can a little sunshine do us, except for sunburn (spálenie), sun stroke (úpal), and skin cancer (rakovina kože).

THE SUN is beating down and a noisy fan (ventilátor) is failing to make any impression on the overwhelming heat in the office. Time to escape and enjoy the summer, even if only for an afternoon.

Unfortunately the Slovak saying, "Where the sun goes, the doctor doesn't" (Kam chodí slnko, tam nechodí lekár), no longer holds true in these days of global-warming (globálne otepľovanie) and holes in the ozone layer.

However, most of us still need little excuse for going out and making the most of the sunny weather (slnečné počasie). After all, what harm can a little sunshine do us, except for sunburn (spálenie), sun stroke (úpal), and skin cancer (rakovina kože).

If you do decide to go sunbathing (opaľovať sa), do not forget to go equipped with your sunglasses (slnečné okuliare), suntan lotion (opaľovací krém), and have the aftersun cream (poopaľovací krém) ready.

Slovaks find the foreigner's dress code for swimming very strange. Apparently the idea of swimming shorts (šortky) is something quite weird (čudný). The first time one of my Slovak colleagues saw a man jumping in the pool with his šortky on, she thought he had just forgotten to take them off.

On the other hand, I (and I'm not the only one) find it strange that Slovaks see absolutely no reason not to strip down to the bare essentials during the summer. It's quite usual to see someone gardening in the briefest of Speedos or a bikini (bikiny) in front of their house on a suburban street.

As all non-Slovaks are aware, swimsuits were actually designed for swimming (plávanie), not simply posing (pózovanie) as if you are about to go swimming, which is unlikely in all but the wealthiest of suburban gardens. Those of you more interested in the pózovanie than the plávanie might prefer to go hore bez (topless) or find a nudapláž (nudist beach).

Slovaks are keen swimmers, although far less keen on swimming in an indoor pool (krytá plaváreň) than an outdoor one. Try one and you will understand why, but don't bother on Monday - that's the day they are normally closed for cleaning. Oh, and don't try on Sunday either - it is six days since they were last cleaned!

There is a potential linguistic trap when discussing staying in the water: If you want to say you are simply in the water (močiť sa vo vode), be careful not to miss out the reflexive sa. Without it, močiť vo vode (or better: močiť do vody) means that you passed water in the water instead.

Most Slovaks are good swimmers despite their lack of sea (more). They can swim like a frog (plávať ako žaba), or on the other hand, they can swim like an axe without handle (ako sekera bez poriska) - or not very well. Whether as a frog or an axe, you can swim kraul (crawl), prsia (breaststroke), or znak (backstroke), although those axes amongst you might find a nafukovacie koleso (water ring) or plutvy (flippers) helpful.

Just as important as the swimming style is making a big splash. You could perform a graceful dive (hlavička), or succumb to childish enjoyment with a dive bomb (bomba) or bellyflop (pupkáč).

All good things come to an end (všetko dobré sa raz skončí), and at some point it is time to leave the pool. Parents manage to force their children out of the water by telling them that they have been in too long and have blue lips (modré pery). This is likely to coincide with the time when the adults get thirsty (smädní), hungry (hladní), or simply bored (znudení).

It's not difficult to find an outdoor pool (kúpalisko) or lake (jazero) in Slovakia. Even around Bratislava there are many lakes, the best known and cleanest being the Slnečné jazerá (Sunny Lakes) at Senec, just one junction down the motorway towards Trnava (see page 15).

Alternatively, you could try one of the lakes within the Bratislava public transport network, such as Vajnory (apparently the best in the city), Draždiak in Petržalka, or Kuchajda, near Polus City Center shopping mall.

If you are more interested in catching rays than swimming, you could try Štrkovecké jazero in Ružinov, but swimming there is not recommended because the water is quite dirty - and not just because someone močil do vody.

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