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Return to Slovakia

Here are some pictures from my latest visit to Slovakia. You can also read some additional highlights of the trip here.

The village of Torysky as seen from the hill above the cemetary. I wish you could hear the birds singing!

Easter in Torysky

We finally got to attend an Easter service at the church in Torysky, and got to see the Easter custom of the blessing of the food baskets. Each family prepares a basket with all of the food needed for the Easter meal: Ham, kielbasa, eggs, Easter bread (paska), salt and pepper in crystal shakers, and butter in an elegant china cup. The basket is lined with a linen napkin and everything is beautifully arranged. All the baskets are brought to the service and blessed by the priest. If the weather is fair, this is done outdoors, but when we were there it was rather cold, so this ceremony took place in the church. A candle in each basket is lighted, and the priest walks down the line of baskets sprinkling them with holy water as he pronounces his blessing.

The Village Grapevine

My Dad has fourteen first cousins on his father's side in Slovakia, and he's now met almost all of them. One of our cousins that we hadn't met before approached us immediately after the church service and brought us to her house, which you can see in this picture - it was right behind the church. We learned later how she had found out that we would be there. The day before, we'd stopped to buy gas in Levoca and had used my Dad's credit card. An employee of the gas station was married to a daughter of the house, so when he saw the Turek name on the American credit card, he warned them that something was up!

Later in the trip, we drove to Slovinky, to visit Great-Aunt Anna, who was staying with her daughter Katherine.

We visited Cousin Anna and her family in Kezmarok.

And ended our visit with a big family gathering at Great-Aunt Katya's 80th birthday party in Torysky.

We visited the Primary School at Hladovka, and were entertained by this folk music ensemble, directed by Miroslav Jurči. These girls played really great foot-tapping American country and western music!

The Jurči girls modeling folk costumes of the Goral region. The flower pattern on the bodices is made up of hundreds of individually-sewn sequins!

The Brinsko children performing Slovak folk songs for us.

We saw castles everywhere...

...and a spectacular sunset over the High Tatras.

We spent a day exploring wooden churches around Bardejov. The first one shown was built in the 1400's.

These men were butchering a pig in their front yard. When they noticed us watching they invited us to come and see. The man in the center is splitting the carcase in half with an axe, and the table is piled high with the innards.

Bratislava - the view from my hotel window, and a street in the old town.

Devin Castle on the Danube near Bratislava

[Read more trip highlights]

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[Contact me at leslie@leslie-turek.com]