Arriving by bus in Jelenec. A man pointed at our backpacks: we must be looking for the campsite. That's about 2km walk from the busstop, along the street where the man was living in. My girlfriend had to out her backpack on the small bike of the man and we walked. He was speaking no other language than Slovakian, we just spoke a few words of that language. So I asked if there was a shop in the village. 'Yes, but it was closed by now. Did we need anything?' Not really apart from some vegetables. 'Well, come over to my place' and we were given tomatoes, paprika and apples. We sat down on his veranda, which all of the houses here have along side, drank a little bit and continued our walk after thanking the man over and over again. It started to rain slightly, but nothing would be able to ruin this day anymore!
It's a nice ancient town, situated about 70 Km east of Bratislava, on a little hill near Nitra river.
During IX century S.Metodio lived here for some years: it was an important center for the diffusion of christian religion in east europe.
In Mid Ages it was place of Hungarian kingdom successors, and it had a great develope till XVI-XVII century, when it had to sustain Turkish invasions.
I hint you to climb the hill and visit the old town: it's a nice walk and you'll see many elegant baroque buildings and churches.
On the top of the hill you'll find S.Emeran cathedral, and from here you'll enjoy a nice panorama....
Message in a Bottle
"How a bottle choose my travel destination"
Nitra is special to me. I have no special interest for the city itself, since I believe mots of Slovakia is in particular interesting for its gorgeous nature and not for interesting architecture or beautiful old cities. But Nitra is special because for me it is associated with a great story.
In late summer 1989, my parents, sister and I where on holidays in Palma Nova, on the island of Mallorca (Spain.) We got a little bored in this beachplace one day and noticed my dad's little whiskeybottles. We suddenly got this romantic idea of writing a message and throwing it in the mediteranean sea. We wrote a little note, left our homeaddress in it and walked to the beach where we threw it as far as we could into the sea. I wouldn't even have remembered all this, did we not get a letter from a girl (Zora) in Slovakia. It was amazing, it was 8 months later and her mother (who was in Valencia because her husband was there for business) and her brother found our bottle on the beach in Valencia, Spain!!!
I always like to think it is fate. I am the same age as Zora and I started writing her a letter back. I was about to go to the USA for a year, and it would be a good practise for me to write letters in English. For her it was a little more difficult, I had a lot of English at school already, and she just started English. We wrote a little at first. It was simple, but we understood each other.
"My visits to Slovakia"
In 1991 she already asked me in a letter if I would like to come and visit her. In 1994, it finaly happened! I was interrailing (a trainticket to be used in Europe for a month) with two friends. When we got to Vienna, my friends left for a trip to Venice and I nervously took a train to Bratislava on to Nitra. I felt so excited and didn't care that I had to wait two hours in Nove Zamky for my connection to Nitra.
It was so happy that I decided to go meet Zora, we connected very well, and we share our urge to travel to other countries to explore other cultures. While I was there the first time we mountainbiked up to a little church up on a hill (see picture) together with Browny (the dog.) It was beautiful up there, they used to hold parties in this little forgotton church.
After my first trip I came back for Christmas and New Year, also in '94. In '97 I came during my summerbreak, and recently (2003) I spent my Christmas there, and was interviewed by the press for our special story. When I am there Zora has always plans for me to see more of the country. And when the weather was bad, she and her friends would take me to a pub to get warm with some heavy drinking!
I had two stays of four days in Nitra in June 2003. I was at concerts for their annual music festival. Without the music Nitra would be good for threee or four days.
I sayed at the Penzion Atrium, at Stefanikova 8, Nitra, for 30 euros a night with bathroom en suite. It is really a good town centre restaurant, but has good and newly furnished rooms upstairs. To reach it you take a taxi to the Hotel Zobor, walk through below the hotel to the main road, and the pension is opposite you. If you leave the pension and look half left you see the old town hall, with the tourist information centre, which is good. Behind it us a hill with a cathedral that is made of three churches put together, a castle, now the bishops place, a beautiful walled town with a handsome eighteenth century library (you book a visit through the tourist office) and a so-so museum of modern art. The town has good gothic and baroque churches, a nineteenth century synagogue re-opened this year, a museum of historic motor cycles, and a very big open-air museum of the history of farming, with such village buildings as a school house brought over and re-built on site.
Busses and trains run fast and fairly often to such beautiful and under-visited baroque towns as Trnava, Banska Bystrica, and Banska Stiavnica.
Tak v tomto meste sa mi pacia herci divadla Andreja Bagara, ktori hraju uzasne divadlo. Dalej tu maju kostol blizko nitrianskeho hradu, ktory ma krasny interier,ale neukazuju ho len tak niekomu.Ujo farar bol na nas prisny a krical po detoch,aby boli ticho, dali si dolu ciapky a nutil nas vsetkych k modlitbam:-)Boli sme tu na vylete.
Cyril a Metod nam priniesli slovanske pismo