SPECTACULAR SLOVAKIA WEEKLY

A Slovak castle appears in "Friends: The Reunion"

A brown bear toured a Slovak town. You can now tour a region filled with tasty wine.

The panorama of the High Tatras and the gravel lake between the town of Svit and the village of Batizovce in the Poprad district. The panorama of the High Tatras and the gravel lake between the town of Svit and the village of Batizovce in the Poprad district. (Source: Milan Kapusta/TASR)

We are writing about a new wine tour, how to get to Kilimanjaro, the reopening of Bratislava, and how to avoid a bear encounter.



A big weekend celebration of Hont wine

Situated in the south of central Slovakia, the Hont region boasts of a rich viticulture tradition that many may know little about.

To popularise the viticulture tradition of the region, the very first Hont Wine Tour will take place on the weekend. Visitors will be able to taste regional wines and explore wine cellars.

“During two days, they will experience the atmosphere of vineyards and forgotten villages,” Jaroslav Jagoš of the OOCR Stredné Slovensko organisation told the TASR newswire.

Over 20 vineyards spreading in between Dudince and Veľký Krtíš will participate in the wine tour. Wine lovers can taste the divine drink in several settlements, including Hontianske Nemce, Hontiaske Tesáre, Ladzany, Sebechleby, Súdovce and Vinica.

Even Empress Maria Theresa and Pope John Paul II drank wines from this region.

Minibuses will be running between wineries at regular intervals. A ticket, which includes a wine set, costs €20. People can find a list of wineries and purchase a ticket here.

At the end of the event, on Sunday, visitors can take part in the traditional Bonfires of Saint John.

GUIDE: HOW TO SURVIVE A BEAR ATTACK

In recent days, Slovakia has seen several news stories on bears losing their shyness and appearing in or near human settlements.

Read our Q&A guide on how to avoid a bear encounter and how to survive a bear attack.

Other developments this week:

  • Slovakia started out strong but ran out of steam when they came up against Spain, the UEFA writes about Slovakia's participation in the UEFA European Championship.
  • Two Slovaks, Alfréd Wetzler and Rudolf Vrba, who successfully escaped the Auschwitz concentration camp in April 1944 and wrote a report about it, will be honoured with a memorial room in Žilina.

  • A man from Levice, standing in front of Levice Castle, appeared in Friends: The Reunion.


From Slovak peaks to Mount Kilimanjaro

After staying at home for months due to a pandemic, which has been tough for most, there is a new, more pleasant but no less demanding challenge people can now take on.

With plenty of peaks across Slovakia, the Doby Hory (Conquer the Mountains) challenge hopes to get people back to the hills and mountains and help them reconnect with the country’s natural heritage.

Mountain lovers and anyone who would like to start exploring Slovakia's beautiful peaks can choose any of the six challenges; registration is now open. People can set out on hikes to several mountain ranges, including the Poloniny, Malá Fatra, Slanské vrchy and different parts of the Tatras.

The rules are the same: every participant must conquer between six and nine peaks during a three-month period. Challenges related to the Tatras and the Western Tatras remain open until the end of June as they start on July 1 and end on the last day of September.

The Tatras adventure involves hikes to five peaks – Kriváň, Východná Vysoká, Kôprovský štít, Rysy and Slavkovský štít, and one saddle – Kopské sedlo. As for the Western Tatras, hikers are expected to visit up to nine peaks: Baranec, Baníkov, Klin, Plačlivé, Babky, Sivý vrch, Jakubina, Bystrá and Volovec.

The registration fee is €22.90. A medal, insurance, detailed information on the peaks in a given challenge, discounts, and a chance to win different prizes such as an expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro are included in the fee.

Moreover, organisers of the challenge have promised to plant a tree in the Tatras for each conquered peak.

Related: After a seven-month break, tourists to the Tatra National Park (TANAP) can set out on a hike using any of the marked hiking trails, including crossings over alpine saddles and trails that lead to tourist-accessible peaks. Tourists can now walk through the valleys of Javorova dolina and Zadné Meďodoly following a year-long closure as well.

Other travel news

  • Museum: Markušovce, eastern Slovakia, is home to a museum of keyboard and string instruments, including a large collection of accordions.

  • View: The tower of the St Elisabeth Roman Catholic Church in Zvolen, which offers a lovely view of the city, reopens on July 1.

  • Castle: Watch a video about Topoľčany Castle, which some dub a miniature version of the Italian town of San Gimignano.

  • Travel advice: If you are planning to travel abroad, read our regularly updated story on travel conditions set by different countries, including the Visegrad Region, the UK and southern Europe. Croatia, for instance, has lifted limitations for incomers from Slovakia.

  • Travel agencies: Although the Delta variant may put the summer season in jeopardy, travel agencies in Slovakia are currently optimistic about the season. Read where many Slovaks will spend their foreign holidays.


BRATISLAVA

Bratislava reopens, with a delay

After a year-long break due to the pandemic, the traditional weekend festival Bratislava City Days will turn the capital upside down as plenty of events take place around the city over the weekend.

The festival, which is usually held in late April, was postponed to June a few months ago, so it will kick off the city festival Cultural Summer as well.

The start of the eventful Bratislava summer will be marked by the symbolic opening of one of the city gates, this time on Laurinská Street, on the morning of June 26.

Residents and visitors can look forward to walking tours, boat trips, ancient tram rides, free entries to city museums and other cultural institutions, as well as the City Bazaar.

This year’s countrywide Weekend of Open Parks and Gardens, which you can read more about here, is a part of the Bratislava City Days as well.

Culture in brief

  • Film: The Bratislava borough of Nové Mesto starts screening films under the open sky this weekend. Free screenings will be held on Wednesday and Saturday evenings by Lake Kuchajda. Online voting will decide what films will be screened.
  • Theatre: It took 21 years to build the new Slovak National Theatre building, and its construction spanned two regimes.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT NEWS:

  • Bratislava Transport Company will launch a new service on July 1 enabling public transport passengers to buy a ticket by tapping their credit card on a ticket marker after boarding a bus, tram, or trolleybus.
  • Within the Integrated Transport System in the Bratislava Region, people will no longer be able to buy a 15-minute ticket and the Karnet ticket. Fares will also change from July 1. At the same time, the system will expand to nine other municipalities. See all the changes here.

A READ FOR YOUR WEEKEND

Homophobes' "rainbow" comments help LGBT people

As soon as Dedoles, a well-known Slovak maker of socks and underwear, posted a picture of two men holding hands on its social media page, the company was hit with a wave of criticism.

In response, the firm decided to take its campaign one step further.

While advertising campaigns supporting same-sex couples have appeared in the Slovak media space in the past, the sock-maker has made a move unseen in Slovakia until now — Dedoles will donate €1 for each comment appearing under its posts on Facebook and Instagram to support LGBTI people.

Read the full story on the campaign, how politicians fail to support the LGBTI community, and if the pandemic made things worse for LGBTI people in the country.


That is it for now. Thanks for joining me. Have a great weekend. - Peter

Do you have any tips? You can reach Peter at peter.dlhopolec@spectator.sk.

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