It’s been a long 24 hours, but I definitely feel like I’m already starting to get a good taste for Eastern Slovakia.
And when I say taste, I do mean it literally; I’ve already eaten homemade potato and flour Haluski, white pepper sandwiches on traditional slovak bread, poppyseed roll, and delicious slovak sausage roasted over a fire prepared with bacon and bread. And it’s all been fantastic.
My flight got in around 3:30pm yesterday, and after waking up a bit from all the travel we went into town. Kosice is surprisingly not very toursity, despite being a beautiful, walkable, and historical city. It’s the second biggest city in Slovakia, after Bratislava, and it used to be the capital of this region for a long time. The city is home to one of the most spectacular cathedrals I’ve ever seen – apparently it’s the largest Cathedral in Eastern Europe!
We peeked inside, but there was mass going on, so we continued on down the grand boulevard. Kosice is interesting because it’s got a pretty unique combinasion of old and new; a block down from the cathedral is a massive and modern mall. But if you continue the other way from the cathedral, the streets open up into this beautiful open pedestrian boulevard with shops and restaurants with patios full of people enjoying food and wine. The city is very clean and feels organized, even though there’s some pretty extensive construction going on right now.
Somehow I managed to stay awake until ten, but jet lag eventually forced my eyes shut and I slept all the way through the night, which is always good news when you’re battling jet lag.
This morning we ate breakfast and then hit the town again, only this time I was considerably more awake. I forgot to pack a few things, so we stopped into some little shops to pick up my things and just wandered through the city. It’s incredibly hot here, so the sun definitely drained me, but we managed to get a break from the sun by visiting the cathedral.
They don’t allow photos inside unless you pay a 2 euro photographers fee, which made me feel like a photographer until I got home and realized I’d been shooting on the worst possible setting. So none of the photos turned out great.
The inside of the cathedral was really beautiful, and it was nice to explore it from the inside. A lot of people use the church, and even though it’s obviously massive and impressive, it’s still really accessible to the locals, which is nice.
This afternoon we picked apricots from big trees in the backyard using these really cool old wooden sticks that people use in orchards. It was really hard to maneuver, but it felt so satisfying when you managed to get a few! Especially since they were so delicious.
Tonight we had a really nice barbecue in the back yard. Slovakian sausages were roasted over the fire with bacon on each side so that the sausages would cook with the bacon fat. We ate them with a spicy mustard, and it’s definitely the best meal I’ve had so far. We also made Smores, which was a North American treat.
I’m exhausted, but it feels really nice to know the city a bit better now. I don’t speak a word of slovak, which is definitely a challenge, but I’m trying to learn the basics. There’s very little English spoken here, so there’s been a lot of smiling and nodding going on, but that always seems to be effective.
I’m falling asleep as I write this, so I’m off to bed.