Drinking With Slovaks (Part I)

Well, I managed to get to Holič, and I’m still in one piece, though the prize for Most Difficult Accommodation to Find definitely goes to the Turisticka Ubytovna Holič, Nam. Sv. Martina 9. Getting off the bus, I type the address into Google Maps and heft my backpack for what Google predicts will be a twelve minute walk, but when I get to the area where the Ubytovna should be, it’s nowhere in sight.


It’s a bad sign when, after asking three people where the place is, none of them has any idea. Two ladies shrug and wave me off, while one particularly gruff office worker, standing outside with his smoke, points me in the completely wrong direction, just to get rid of me.

Finally, I ask an older lady who’s shuffling down the street, and within a few seconds of showing her the address, she’s made it her personal mission to find the place and deliver me there safely. She asks the owner of a nearby hair salon, who points us toward a door just around the corner, and apparently gives my guide a couple numbers for the rooms and floors. We make our way into the dim building, and I follow the little old lady up two flights of stairs, while she chatters at me in Slovak, even though I can’t give any answers but clueless smiles and nods.

At the door marked “Recepcion,” no one answers, so my Little Old Lady turns to the next door, her knock echoing through the tiled hall. A man opens the door, heavy and shirtless and pale, his shiny round head perched like a boulder on wide, rounded shoulders, gym shorts hanging low from his waist. He glares down at the Little Old Lady, and I have the sudden, violent image of a mountain troll eating someone’s grandma.

This, I will later learn, is Peter.

“Co?” he asks, though it comes out as a low, rumbling choooooooh?

The Little Old Lady gestures to me, and I catch the words ubytovna and Anglicka (“hostel” and “English”) as she explains the situation. Peter continues to glare down at her. When she pauses, he answers with an irritated grumble of sounds, and I don’t have to understand a word of Slovak to know that he’s just said something along the lines of:

So what do you want me to do about it, Lady?

But Little Old Lady’s up to the challange. She eyes Peter like he’s one of her naughty grandkids and pokes her finger into his chest, and after a good, sound chastising in Slovak, he reluctantly pulls out his phone to call the Receptionist. The call takes all of a minute, and then Peter hangs up.

“Dvadsat’ minút,” he says at me.

“Dvadsat’ minút,” says the Little Old Lady at me, smiling.

“Uhhh…” I say at both of them, because I don’t understand a word of Slovak.*

Peter throws his hands up, and the Little Old Lady traces an invisible number on the wall: 20. Twenty minutes. My face must light up as I get it, because the Little Old Lady grins at me and nods. “Dvadsat’ minút.”

Peter waves the Little Old Lady off, but he’s not done with me. “Kava?” he says. “Coffee?”

I look to the Little Old Lady, but she shrugs. She says something at Peter in Slovak, but whatever he answers, it’s good enough: she smiles at me and waves good bye. Peter gestures for me to follow him into his room.

Well, if the Little Old Lady has no problems with it, I guess it must be fine. So I readjust my backpack, and step through the door.

Click Here for Part II

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