My host family took me to their cottage in the mountains, and oh boy was it something else. When they first told me that they would be taking me to their cottage, I imagined a little one room building with us all huddled around a fire for warmth. Maybe I am exaggerating a bit but you get my point.
We left just after 10 in the morning, After about 30 minutes of driving down a worn dirt road, we arrived to the cottage. I must say that I love everything about it; the history, the land, and the nature surrounding it. Once we arrived though, it wasn’t time to explore and play quite yet. My host brother Martin and I began preparing the cottage for the summer months, transitioning it out of its winter shell. After some hard work, lunch time arrived before we knew it and we went to go eat at my host families hotel just down the road.
Once Martin and I finished stuffing ourselves, we went on a hike around the surrounding area. While we were walking about, we came across a few different significant landmarks. One was a memorial for the soldiers that died in the Slovak National Uprising, another was a bunker where they would have stayed. We also came across a few natural landmarks that were extremely significant in old lore. I know I am being a bit vague, but my intent for my first trip to the cottage was to completely take in the new experience, and then share it the next time I visit (hopefully for a longer period of time). After our short hike, we were instructed to go and gather some medvedí cesnak, or what is known as Ramsons in English. If you directly translate it, it means bear garlic.
Although I wasn’t able to get the full history lesson from my host brother, I have a general understanding of the cottages past. It rests on the grounds of a torn down military hospital, which was operational during the second world war. I first discovered this when Martin casually showed me all the guns, ammunition, and grenades they found while building the cottage. Although I was fascinated at the fact that I might find something while exploring the woods, I was jokingly wary about the fact that I might find something… less desirable. Such as a land mine. I guess that is just an acceptable hazard of being a woodland explorer. I might have been lying when I said I had a general idea of the history of the place, as I only can remember him telling me this little bit. The next time I am visiting the cottage, I will make sure I take plenty of notes and pictures to document the fascinating place.
I apologize for this being so short for such an amazing experience, it’s just that I wanted to ensure that I could really soak up the experience the first time, and have the second time I visit be the time where I truely document it. I will be asking my host family when I can visit next, so don’t worry! It will be coming soon.