Slovakia Update #88 – Banská Štiavnica, Bowling, and more

Making new friends is great, and it is even better when they come from halfway around the world. Over the past few days, I went to a Christmas party, met a new Argentinian friend, visited a castle, and went bowling with people from countries half the American population couldn’t put on a map. One might say I have had a busy few days, but I have had a blast.

During my weekly Slovak lesson, I received a text from my Rotary counselor. It was a reminded that Nicole and I would be presenting our Christmas traditions in a powerpoint during this week’s meeting, and to ensure that it would be ready by the meeting later on in the evening. Well I must say that this was news to me, because I had not heard anything about this before that text. Nicole and I went into full panic mode, and with the help of our Slovak teacher we quickly wrote out what each of us do for the holidays.

We arrived at the Rotary meeting just on time, and when we did we were surprised with gifts from many different Rotary members. I even was gifted some fantastic reindeer socks! During this meeting, I was pleasantly surprised to meet a new friend from Argentina. His name is Nico, and he is doing a short term exchange here in Slovakia; he will be here for a little over a month. I talked to him for a while, and while we were talking his host dad offered to take me to a place called Banská Štiavnica the very next day, and if that means that I can miss school I told him that I would love to go.

I woke up at around 9 on Tuesday morning, and I thought I was ready to go. What I had forgotten to do was charge my camera battery the night before, and did not realise it until Nico’s host dad was already driving us to this mystical town that we would be going to. While we were driving there, we stopped at a reservoir, and he explained to us the purpose of it. There are many reservoirs around the city of Banská Štiavnica, all of which were used to wash out the mines in the city. That is because Banská Štiavnica is historically a mining town, that was known for its gold and silver.

Once we parked the car and arrived in the town, walked to the town square. From there we could see many of the excellent antique style buildings, and many different statues dedicated to different famous historical figures. Do Slovaks have to make a statue for everyone that was ever important in their history?

We finally made our way to the new castle in Banská Štiavnica, where there was a fantastic museum on the history of the town, and more specifically the invasion of the Ottomans into the Austro-Hungarian region. It’s rather interesting, as before I went to this museum, I had thought fairly highly of the Ottomans. But after reading about the tragedies and atrocities that they committed in the name of their country. I had watched a video series on the Sultan Suleiman, and although it was fairly engaging, I felt that it gave me an incorrect impression (You can watch it here, and tell me what you think of it. Extra Credits, the producer, does a fantastic job putting these short mini series together and I would highly recommend watching other videos by them). In short, the museum revealed to me the atrocities that the Ottomans committed in their invasion of Europe and showed me that not everything that you might see on the internet is the correct view of things.

After we finished up at the museum, we went to a fantastic restaurant in the town, where Nico and I had some excellent pork with potatoes for lunch. Unfortunately, it was around that time that my camera battery died, so I was not able to get a picture of it. I do not have the name of it either, although I am going to see if I can find it and talk about it in another post. After a few hours of chatting, we all went home, although not for very long. I invited Nico to go bowling with the Communication/Conversation club that I am part of, and we would meet up just a few hours later.

I absolutely adore the Communication/Conversation club (CC Club), for many different reasons. I find it amazing, that people from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Slovakia would all get together and have a good time. I also must admit that I am the only reoccurring male member, which has its benefits (haha). Anyway, after meeting up with Ashley (from Florida), Martin (From Slovakia, went on exchange to Florida), and the rest of the CC Club, we began our walk to the bowling alley.

Once we arrived at the bowling alley, we doned the fantastic bowling shoes. I don’t know if I just have a natural knack for bowling, or if the others were just not trying, but I absolutely decimated the field. I know I was being a bit overbearing for some of them, but almost every turn I offered to help them a bit with their form (I think gymnasts can spot bad form, no matter the sport). I am not expert when it comes to bowling, but I do understand the basic concept of it, and I tried to share that. What I didn’t realise, was that we were paying by the hour, and my 5 minute lessons on each individual player was hindering our game time just a bit. In the end, I lost to Martin, with him bowling a 136, and I a 129. We only had time for one game.

Today’s word of the day is:

Vianoce – Christmas

Pronounced as Vianose in English.


  • Henrich

    December 15, 2017

    Hey, love you blogs about my hometown.

    Since you didn’t knew about Mikulas tradition, I just want you to know, that Christmas present are given in the evening at 24th of December, not 25th here in Slovakia. Just a little friendy tip. (Most of the shops will be also closed from 24th afternoon until morning of 26th)

    Keep up the good work!

    • alexfranke8

      December 16, 2017

      I am glad you like the blog! Thank you for the reminder on the strange (at least for me) christmas tradition. 🙂


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