Goal of prosperity closer
Time has flown, and it is around one and a half decades since Slovaks established a country of its very own. What a place it has become, taking pride in producing many, many motorcars.
The government and democracy function very well, even the opposition would have to reluctantly admit.
Progress has certainly not been presented on a silver platter, but is nonetheless Slovakia's fate. Another year is about to arrive and will bring Slovakia even closer to her goal of prosperity.
The decorations and the seasonal markets all around at this time of year may not be overdone, but they in fact deliver a truly Dickensian kind of atmosphere. And, if you dream of dashing through the snow, Slovakia is a good bet. I have tried it, so I know.
To all my fellow readers of this fine English-language newspaper that provides insight into this land: Happy festive season, and I hope that you will celebrate it at least once in beautiful Slovakia.
New friends, stronger business
I look back at 2005 and forward to 2006 from the viewpoint of a foreigner travelling in and out of Slovakia several times a year.
I am married into a Slovak family, I do business there, so I combine family, pleasure and business in Slovakia. Therefore the country is a kind of home country, together with Denmark.
2005 was a good year for me, with increasing and closer connections to my family in Slovakia. The year brought new friends and stronger business connections, too.
I believe the feeling of being part of the world and of Europe is growing on Slovaks. They feel now that they can contribute actively and positively on the international stage and at the same time be proud of what they have achieved and can further achieve on the home front.
That goes for business, politics, culture, and of course, sports!
There are faults and things to correct of course, but I believe 2006 will bring the same feeling [of contributing] to even more Slovaks. I wish everyone a Happy New Year and thank you for the old one.
Sterling role in debate
As the New Year approaches I consider how I will remember 2005 and for me that is not difficult to determine.
The past year has been one in which individuals, institutions and nations, particularly in Europe, have had plenty of opportunity to get to know one another and to reflect upon their own standpoints. This all seemed to come together this year though many of our experiences have not been easy.
In the European Union we had the rejection of the proposed Constitution by the people of France and The Netherlands in referenda, leading to a reassessment of the way forward, and now we have a disagreement on the budget for 2007-13.
The Slovak Spectator has played a sterling part in the need for debate on these issues in its Internet discussion forum.
In one such discussion, around the paper's feature on Slovak spas, I accepted a challenge to book a stay at a spa since I stated that I was sceptical of their treatment value. October came and I carried out that challenge, taking in at the same time the exceptional Indian summer weather Slovakia experienced this year.
I chose the Smrdáky spa and whilst the stay was very pleasant indeed, and I do think it helped with my general wellness, I felt it did little to benefit a skin complaint I had. Nevertheless, I would recommend a stay for anyone considering it. I'd like to thank those fellow contributors who persuaded me to book the stay.
Soon we start a new year afresh and I look forward to the lively debates that I am sure we will be having under the auspices of the TSS.
19. Dec 2005 at 0:00