NICE DRIVEWAY! AN OCCASIONAL COLUMN ON LIFE IN SLOVAKIA

Few places do fresh air and "nothing" better than Slovakia

A change in the weather and – finally! – a lifting of restrictions prompts James Thomson to take his chances in the Slovak countryside.

Springtime in the Slovak countryside. Springtime in the Slovak countryside. (Source: TASR)

Slovakia has been struggling for 30 years now to promote itself as a tourist destination. It still lacks name recognition, or the superlatives that the bland logic of tourism campaigns demand. It is outgunned even in its own junior league: Prague has a more picturesque old town than Bratislava; Budapest is grander; Austria’s mountains are higher; Ukraine is wilder.

For some reason, no one wants to run with my proposal: ‘A great place to do nothing’. But sometimes a bit of fresh air is all you need: and few places do fresh air and nothing better than rural Slovakia.

My timing, for once, is great. Spring is here and the colours, after four grey months of confinement in Petržalka, are almost overwhelming. If one were to paint the greens of the forest and the fields against the intense blue of the sky, it would be mistaken for kitsch. It feels like all the flowers are in bloom. Even the humble dandelions add a blaze of warmth to every verge and pasture.

All hands on deck

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