Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Bratislava. Done. Cheers. Bye. Don't bother calling.

I wonder whether we would have liked the place better if it it had not been cold, damp and foggy. Of course not! The reason is that Bratislava is always gonna be full of Bratislavians and there lies the problem. We have been astounded at just how rude they are. The term 'Customer Service' has never been heard of here let alone implemented. I watched a Tesco employee tutting and cussing a Chinese customer for using a load of Tesco's own vouchers. Appealing to the rest of the queue with a "For f's sake" face. I wonder what the collective for these people might be? "A Scowl of Bratislavians"; Possibly "A Sneer of Brats"; Or maybe just "A miserable bunch of .....". Now hold on there Chris. Enough's enough!

OK. one last thing. We finished at the school where we had taught for two weeks. Bear in mind we are pretty good at this stuff. We get a lot of praise and make friends easily. Not one teacher came to say goodbye or officiate over the certificate presentations. Just me and Rachel and a huffy cleaner waiting to sweep up after us. Appalling.

On a lighter note we did see Bohemian Rhapsody on our last night. The very good cinema was only a short walk from our lovely apartment so we wrapped up and braved the snow. A Good film. Took me back to the times when I saw them in concert. Clap Clap Stamp Clap Clap Stamp.

Next stop Povasky Bystrica. A fantastic sounding place. The sort of place that you would expect to see dragons nested in the town square. Actually it was a really dull looking Communist hangover type of town with block buildings and a concrete square so any mythical beasts would stand out like a sore thumb. That aside it was a fantastic week. Our digs were lovely spacious and stylish. The School kids were 16 and 17 with good English so you could have decent conversations. Not only that but they were engaged and interested in what we were doing. They even took us on a tour of the town and treated us to coffee one day. Finally, to top it off, the teachers were lovely as well. We developed a great relationship with Lenka and Tanya who took us out for lunch as well as having us to dinner at Tanyas house one evening. Anyway. Thanks for that lovely people. You helped claw back points for Slovakia and we left with our attitudes greatly improved. 

Crikey its cold here. We are currently hovering around 0 in the day and -4 at night. Snow is hanging in the sidelines the whole time and little flurries keep the roads and fields dusted. We are in a place called Moravsky Krumlov (Tolkien characters spring to mind) a little village a few miles away from our digs. The school is another winner. Entertaining kids aged 15 to 18. Once again interested in what we are doing and fairly motivated. This place is, however, in the Czech Republic. Astonishing, difference between Czechs and Slovaks. It's like a switch has been thrown. The second you cross the border attitudes change. One of the highlights of our stay in Moravsky Krumlov was being taken to the Krum Brewery. A small brewery owned by one of the students father. Radek (the dad) claims to make the best Peevo (Beer) in the Galaxy. A claim i was happy to accept considering that this magnificent man was Hagrid Incarnate.  6ft 5in tall, barrel chested with a Santa claus belly held in with a thick leather belt. A huge, bushy beard and heavy brows covered most of his face but could not hide his smile and lively eyes that kept you engaged without even needing his sonorous and jolly voice. I think i have a bit of a man crush on him simply because his nature and image was far bigger than life. Kinda weird since my last man crush (I worry too) was Bruno Mars singing Uptown Funk. Ho hum. We tried his beers and left with a hearty handshake and some bottles to drink at our leisure.

Brno Town centre statue in the ice rink
We spent the weekend in Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic. We stayed near the centre in a bijou little studio apartment which we were quite pleased with until we heard that the area was known as the Bronx of Brno. We feared for Itchy alone and dusted with snow in a hypermarket car park. So much so that I woke up and went and checked her at 1.30am in the morning - expecting the streets to be crowded with drug taking thugs, broken bottles, roaming gypsies and bin fires. Nothing! You could hear a pin drop. Ichy was sleeping and and all was well. Brno was lovely. Christmas markets, nice buildings, cool restaurants and smiling, yes smiling, people. Buskers played, Christmas songs blared out of shops, Mulled wine burbled and the sun shone. All in all a far better place than I thought it would be and personally a place I found more appealing than Prague due to reduced numbers of people. 

Jasna - The Low Tatras nr Liptovsky Mikulas
Our last week is in Liptovsky Mikulas. A long trek of 5 hours up to the Northern part of Slovakia. We are teaching in a Hotel Academy. A high school that grooms its students for life in the service industry. A mixed bag academically but fantastic lunches with waiter service. I am so glad that our places of work have been better. I don't think i will hurry back to Slovakia but its been an experience. In closing I would like to congratulate the country on its skiing. I spent a fantastic day in the Low Tatras with only me to worry about. Skiing for several hours on well maintained slopes on the opening day of the season. Truly beautiful and I didnt even fall over.

So tomorrow we leave. After lunch we have a 1200km slog down to Montegnegro and will need to be there in two days so not much stopping...Just as well as its due to be -9 over night on Wednesday.....and we will be in a tin box

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