Staying Local and Enjoying Spring

Spring has finally arrived in Slovakia! After almost seven months with snow somewhere on the ground and the sun somewhere behind the clouds, life has begun again! The days are longer, the flowers are in bloom, and the weather is sweetly warm. Life is good in central Europe and I can only wait with excitement at the prospect of summer.

While I love winter, I must admit I am very happy that spring has finally come to Slovakia. It’s always a treat to play in the snow, but it does get tiring when you always have to watch where you step so you don’t slip on ice! Spring in Slovakia is absolutely beautiful. I live in a very rural area that is surrounded by small mountains and farms. Each field is a different color as the farmers’ crops are beginning to burst through the earth. As I ride the bus I see people walking their dogs, working in their gardens, and riding bicycles around town and through the fields. There hasn’t been a cloudy day in two weeks! That is the biggest difference between the winter and the spring: In the winter we could go weeks without seeing the sun. I’m finally beginning to understand the quaintness or simplicity of life in Slovakia, and it is very sweet, just like the springtime air.

TRAVEL NEWS

Local Time: 11:12 am          

Time Zone: Central European Time Zone        

Location (Latitude, Longitude): 48.6200° N, 17.7236° E

How far did I travel this week? I traveled about 200 miles this week.

How far have I traveled on your journey so far? I have traveled over 10,000 miles since I began my journey last August.

How did I get around this week? This week I traveled by bus, train, foot and car.        

What was the most interesting place I visited this week? The most interesting place I visited this week was a place called Domaniža where I went rock climbing with my friends!        

Other travel news: This week my best friend is visiting me. She is from New York City, but she is studying for her Master’s degree in London. On Friday we climbed a mountain and visited some the ruins of a castle, or a hrad, from the 13th century. It was so cool to be standing on top of something that was built long before my own country was even discovered by the Europeans. On Saturday we got up early and went rock climbing at Domaniža with some friends. Outdoor climbing is very different from indoor climbing, and in some ways it’s more fun! You get to choose your own routes and find your own holds, or things to hold onto while climbing the rock. Saturday was beautiful and it was really nice to be able to stay outside all day and enjoy the nature.

NATURE NEWS

Weather Tally (enter the # of days for each weather type):

Sunny: 5

Cloudy: 0

Partly cloudy: 2

Rainy: 0

Snowy: 0

Windy: 1     

What is the air temperature right now? 61°F

How was the weather this week? The weather has been sunny and beautiful all week long!

What animals did I see this week? I have seen a lot of birds, rabbits, deer, and I even saw a wild boar wallow! A wild boar wallow is a large indentation left in the earth from where the boar rolled around in mud. This wallow was huge!

What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week? While climbing with my friends it was really cool to see all of the different rock formations. We were climbing on a cliff-side on a tree-covered mountain. Interspersed among the trees were rock towers! They were incredible to look at as they were planted within the trees

Other Nature News: This week we went on a very nice hike up a mountain side to see some old ruins called Tematin ruins. These ruins were built in the 13th century and have survived a number of attacks against the people inside the castle. It was incredible walking up this path and imagining what it must have felt like to walk up to the castle hundreds of years ago. When we finally arrived at the castle we could see nature taking it back: There were wild flowers and trees growing from all parts of the ruins; it was beautiful. The holes in the ruins also acted like beautiful windows that allowed us to see the surrounding countryside and mountains. The views were stunning.

OUR NEWS

What languages are spoken here?  Slovak

What type of money is used here?   Euro

How much does a bottle of water cost? € 0.57

What was the best meal this week?    This week at school one of our lunches was entirely made of doughnuts! They were covered in powdered sugar and filled with chocolate cream. I couldn’t believe it!

What music did I listen to this week?  This week I listened to Slovak pop music on the radio. I’ll be honest: It’s not my favorite music to listen to.

What activity was the most fun this week?   Rock climbing and hiking with my friends was the most fun activity I did this week. Although next weekend might be even more exciting: I’m going to see another ancient castle that was built on top of a cliff and climb some of the tallest mountains in Slovakia!

What did I read this week? This week I read the news as well as a book called “You Shall Know Your Velocity!” It’s a very interesting book about traveling and living abroad.

What games or sports did I play this week? This week I went running around my village and watched our local football, or soccer, team practice at our town’s stadium.

Other news from this week:

It’s always nice to see old friends in new places. This week my best friend from home is visiting me in Slovakia. It’s so cool to be able to show her around and realize how much I have changed since moving here. Things that I used to think were strange or so different when I first moved here are now normal to me. I didn’t see this change, but now I can watch her reaction to some of the daily happenings in Slovakia, and I realize that I have really adapted to living in this country. It’s amazing that when I talk to my friend, I really see the changes that have occurred in me since moving here.

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