As promised, today I went and took pictures and did some pictures on the fantastic festival that is called Radvanský jarmok. The more I found out about this crazy and amazing festival, the more I had started to fall in love with the city. Today I will tell you all about the CRAZY things that they do in this unbelievable city.
I woke up this morning, with a slight headache and sore throat. It was not unbearable, and after a little bit of water I was up and ready to go. I did notice however, throughout the day I was pretty tired. Anyway, I really lazed around for the first half of the day, only really leaving the comfort of my desk chair to go and eat lunch, which was a fantastic sunday soup. For anyone that doesn’t know, a large portion of Slovakia eats roughly the same soup everyday, which contains things like carrots, chicken or celery. Once I had finished the soup, I had told my family I was off. I was set to go out and discover what jarmok was all about.
I walked through the cemetery to get to the town square, and I felt a little silly that I was so well spooked yesterday. It is actually somewhat relaxing walking though there, because there really is not too much noise, and hardly any foot traffic. One thing I did notice while walking through there, was quite a few gravestones with dates in the 1940s. Not enough to make it outstanding, but there were a few.
The scenery in jarmok was much different than it was yesterday. Today it seemed that they were closing down most of the shops, and there was a lot less people out and about. However, the stalls that I was looking forward to visiting were still open so I was able to visit them.
I have to control myself. I have an unbearable want to write about something absolutely absurd and amazing, but I am going to have to hold off. I must save the best for last. Anyway, yesterday I described a cylinder type of sugar breaded dessert, and Trdelnik is the name of it. Yesterday, the one I had was fantastic, still steaming and cooked just right. Today however, mine appeared to have been sitting out for quite a while, and was burned all up and down the sides. Somewhat disappointed, yet I would still recommend that you try it (a fresh one that is).
Something that I noticed while walking down the street, were many vendors selling these heart shaped cookies. I asked about them, and they are called medovniky, and they are apparently just like gingerbread cookies, except honey instead of ginger. How true this is, I am not sure. There will be a language barrier for a few months until I can start to really understand the Slovak language. Anyway, I did buy a bag off relatively plain looking cookies, which I can say tasted just as they might appear. I don’t know if there is some kind of huge traditional aspect around them, but they just tasted like any other cookie. I don’t quite understand why so many vendors would be selling them, but I guess they must sell quite a few for there to be that many.
I did not go onto any of the rides today, mostly because I did not want to be the only one on the ride. That section of the festival was mostly desolate, really only occupied by the occasional parent being dragged around by their kid. I think it was safe to assume people really don’t start celebrations until later in the afternoon.
Red and white are Banska Bystricas official colors, which come from its coat of arms. My host family did not know anything about it, but here is what I could find online.
The origin or meaning of these arms is not very clear. The arms date from the latter half of the 13th century and are most likely derived from the arms of the Arpad dynasty, who became extinct in 1301. (Source)
These pictures were taken over the Hron River, which flows through the city, and ends somewhere in or near Hungary.
Finally, the part I have been most excited to write. Last night, I might have mentioned that a very interesting Banska Bystrica tradition took place. This tradition is that men walk around with spoon like paddles, and slap another girls ass with them. Of course, I am one for cultural enrichment so I set out and bought two paddles, one roughly about 9 inches in length, and one a little over a yard in length. I unfortunately, didn’t get to take part in any today, but don’t worry; I had gotten my fill last night.
That is all for today! I had a lot of fun, and ate a lot of good food! Of course, I couldn’t end a post without the word of the day! Today’s word of the day is:
Verecha – Spoon
Pronounced like verehhha (a h that comes from the back of your throat), and this is the name of the spoon that is used for my oh-so-favorite tradition.
All of these pictures were taken on a Sony A6000. If you are looking for a great light weight camera that takes fantastic pictures, I would definitively recommend this setup here.