This week was spent in Vel’ky Meder, a spa town about an hour south of Bratislava. Aside from the obvious perks (yes, we did score free tickets to the spa, which featured a diving pool, outdoor thermal baths that make winter swimming worth it, and, sure enough, a waterslide), our accomodation–a private teacher’s apartment on the actual school grounds–was far more comfortable than usual, and our students, a mixture of Hungarian and Slovak speakers, turned out to be extraordinarily enthusiastic.
Our last evening in Tábor, a couple of our Active English Weeks students treated us to an afternoon at a traditional Czech-style tea house or Cajovna, where we drank red tea with caramel and had these green matcha coconut balls that were absolutely delicious. It turned out that the place also did water pipes, and so, after successfully cooking a dinner that did not blow the fuses out, Jack, Clara and I went back to finish off our week with shisha smoke and war stories.
Today, we said goodbye to our classes, gave our kids their certificates, and posed for the requisite selfies. So now, waiting on the train to take me to Bratislava, I can definitely say I’m going to miss Tábor. It’s been the best week on this journey so far–and even considering that my last two weeks involved Povazska Bystrica and Holic (by which I mean, there’s no competition), I’m not sure it’ll be an easy place to beat.
That said, I have been informed that next week I’ll be going to a spa town on the Hungarian border. So we’ll see. Thermal swimming pools, here I come!
Well. It’s dark.
This week sees me venturing into the Czech Republic, through Prague and south, to a town called Tábor, where I’ll be teaching kids in the last year of primary school along with three other co-teachers: Jack, Clara, and a newcomer, Robin. Aside from the fact that we got lost following Jack’s map to the hostel, things are going pretty well: the kids are great, the hostel rooms are comfortable and have internet (though I spent a good half hour trying to convert that internet into actual wi-fi for our device users), and, at last, we’re staying in a place with a kitchen–which means all the vegetarian meals and egg breakfasts you could possibly want–
Well, except for one problem. Did I mention that it’s dark? That’s because turning on the hob in the kitchen just blew the power out. We’re pretty sure it’s just a fuse problem, but with no way of knowing where the fuse box is, Jack and Clara have gone on a quest to notify the hostel staff. They’ve been gone… fifteen minutes now?
I hope they haven’t been eaten by some kind of monster. Though I wouldn’t blame the monster. I mean, if I lived in a place where the power went out every time I tried to cook something, I’d be hungry enough to eat a couple English teachers myself.
It turns out that “coffee” is pretty much the only English word Peter knows, though within a few minutes of him setting the water on boil, we’ve established that “sugar” means cukor (tsuu-kohr) and “milk” means mlieko (mm-lee-koh), and that instant coffee is the only thing Peter’s got in his cabinet, which is a little bit tragický (trah-gits-kee).
Oh, and also that the word vodka is pretty universal.
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.
Something you should know about me: I’m pretty unlucky. This has prompted several of my friends to come to the conclusion that I must’ve, at some point, been cursed by a gypsy–and my dad confirms that our family’s got a bit of … well, unglück, to put it mildly.
Continue reading “Breaking the Curse”
It rather says something about a town when its most striking feature is a massive highway overpass. Welcome to Považská Bystrica, the town whose name I can barely spell and definitely can’t pronounce, where the major landmark is a stretch of regional highway that wants absolutely nothing to do with Považská Bystrica.
Continue reading “Town Guide | Považská Bystrica”
It turns out that having a dietary restriction in Central Europe is far more convincing if you claim to be part of a cult, at least as far as the Slovaks are concerned.
Continue reading “The Rare Perks of Vegetarianism”
One good thing about running into a co-teacher as you get off the train in a town whose name you can neither spell nor pronounce is that he can always help when it comes to finding the hostel.
Continue reading “Your Party Checks Into an Inn”
Something you should know about Malta in the winter: it sucks.
Continue reading “Main Quest: SIDAS Active English Weeks”