Slovakia in Europe

Slovakia in Europe

Friday, November 12, 2010

Last Days Sunday, November 7 and Monday, November 8

Sunday was a glorious warm fall day in Bratislava.  We attended church with Bill Bagatela, our new friend who teaches at the University and lives in our dorm/hotel.  He had been investigating the church a few years ago and was happy to come along.  We went for a nice lunch afterward at the Tulip Hotel.  We spent the rest of the afternoon packing and getting ready to leave for the states and home.  We had decided to drive into Vienna and stay at the NH airport hotel overnight.  It was my idea, and after we got there Stan thought I was brilliant, as the hotel was literally right across the street from the terminal.  We were able to check in our car and bags and go back to the hotel to relax before the flight.
As we were leaving Stan decided to evade the police (it seems like we were always stopped on the border by the Slovakian police) by going the "back way" into Austria and then getting on the freeway.  Success.....we slipped across the border undetected and made it to the Vienna airport without incident.   We did encounter a problem at a gas station near the airport that evening, however.  We filled the car with gas and then parked the car in the gas station parking lot while we ran across the street to the grocery store to get some snacks (just one more package of butter cookies, chocolate, salami and cheese).  We were shocked to go back to our car and discover a tow truck ready to tow our car!!  There were other cars on each side of us, but he was going to tow us, saying (in German) that we could not park there.  Stan shocked him by telling him in German that we were customers who had bought gasoline there and to get the tow truck out of the way so we could leave.  They did comply.  I think that they were circling and looking for tourists with rented cars to tow and increase their revenue.  Our flight home was long, but smooth.  We flew to London, had a 2 hour layover and then took an11 hour flight straight to Las Vegas.  There were only about a dozen Americans on the flight so our line at customs was short.  The rest were Europeans headed here for holiday.
It was a wonderful experience living in Slovakia for the time we were there.  We have fond memories of the students, the Druzba Hotel, the food, the autumn landscape, the Danube River, the history, and our daily walks though town.  Farewell Bratislava!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Nov 5th and 6th Friday and Saturday

The last two days of our stay in Bratislava have been magical.  I was able to finally teach my class and meet some of the students and professors.

On Friday we met for breakfast with the two professors we have come to know, Bill Bagatelis and Dave Reichart at the Druzba Bufet, the dinning room at the dorm.  We had a wonderful conversation about teaching and Slovakia.  They both have been here for over ten years.  We also had some nice discussions about the church.  Dave is a very active catholic and Bill is searching for something.  He has talked to the missionaries and is going to church with us on Sunday.

We went to my class in the afternoon.  Carol and I prepared an idiom game, that was successful.  The students enjoyed learning some idioms.   I taught about american civil procedure and criminal procedure and then made assignments for our activies (the trial of William Penn) and the trial of John Wheat.  All 36 students came to that class, it was surprising to see eveyone there.  At the prior class I assigned essays, so I had recieved essays from many of my students on the Advantages and Disadvantages of the American Jury System.  The essays are excellent and well written in english, very impressive.   I am blessed with a wonderful class.

After class in the evening Carol and I had dinner at the Rivera Restaurant which is down the street from the Hotel.  It was our third time at the Restaurant and the waiters now recognize us, so they were very nice to us.  The food is very good.  I had Halusky for the third time (Carol calls it Slovakian Macaroni and cheese, but it small dumpings and sheep chesse), I like it.



Today, Saturday, we started class at 9 AM.  Carol and I were alittle early.  Mentally, I had prepared myself for something to go wrong.  I had a feeling that something would be wrong with the room.  Sure enough, there was another class in the room we were assigned and that class would go until noon.  Fortunately, my students were able to talk to the building manager and get us another room assigned.  Ironically, we went back to our original room.  We had a drama, the trial of William Penn.  The students had been assigned their parts and they did very well.  The narrator was Mira Kober, Sonia Ondracikova was the judge and Tomas Gasparovic was William Penn, they were wonderful.  It is a play about the trial of William Penn in England when he was 21 before he came to America. 

We then had mock trial, I was the Judge and we made assignments the night before.  It was very well done and we had a great time.  It was about the theft of bread by John Wheat to feed his family.  The jury found him not guilty even though he clearly stole the bread.  The Prosecutor, Katarine Hodalove, was not too happy with the verdict.  We then had a great discussion about the American jury system.  

I then gave some advice about life (Fatherly Advice) especially about families and priorities.  I was surprised because the students then gave me a book which they all signed.  They wrote, "Dear Mr. and Mrs. Parry,  Thank you so much! We greatly appreciate all the efforts you have put into this course.  This was the best course we have ever had!"  It was so nice they all liked Carol very much and really appreciated that she had come.  I gave them an Old Irish Blessing which was actually emotional.  I was able to shake everyone's hand and wish them well in life and say good bye.  I was so pleased that I learned everyone's name, it really established a bond and a sense of trust and respect.

After class some of the students stayed and helped fix the room because we had rearranged everything for the trial.  So I invited them to lunch.  We then went to lunch at the Bratislava Restaurant which interestingly enough is the same restaurant that we went to with the missionaries.

Carol and I then went back to the room for a little while.  We did some laundry and gave the bottle of wine we had received from the college to the building attendant that had been so nice to us.  I thought that she was going to cry she was so thankful for the gift.

(Backrow- Kamila, Zuzana, Natalia and Kristina
 front- Katarina H)

Off to lunch- Kamila, Katarine J, Tomas, Kristina,
Carol, Miro and Frank)

Lunch at the Bratislava Restaurant- Filip and
Miraslava joined us and Katarina Hodalova and
her Greek boyfriend, Demetri came later.

On Saturday night we went to the ballet at the new performing acts theater.  The ballet was Giselle which is about a peasant girl that falls in love with an aristocrat who disguises himself as a commoner.  He is engaged to be married so when Giselle finds out she takes her life and becomes a Willi, maidens who have suffered unrequited love.  However, she acts unselfish regarding her former lover who is extemely sad about what has happend, so you can say it has a happy ending.  The ballet was excellent and the new  performing acts theater is wonderful.  There was a live orchestra.  We then spent some time at the new Eurovia Gallery Mall.  It is a great mall, very attractive and modern.

Carol said that she was sad to have to leave Bratislava.  She could stay longer.  We have had a wonderful experience, and some unforgettable memories.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

November 4, 2010 in Bratislava

Our day started by going to the office Stan uses at the university to prepare and print out some English idioms for a game we are playing with the students tomorrow.  We bought a bagette at the student store and headed to Old town to check on the Christmas tree and decorations.  They were assembling a Christmas village and the tree was, we are hoping everything will be lit this weekend before we head home.  While there we went to the chocolate cafe for our hot chocolate fix.  Today Stan ordered Cokolada bielas karame lom (white with caramel) and I walked on the wild side with Cokolada horkas cervenym kore nim (dark with chili pepper).  Yum!
This evening we were able to meet Maria Patakyova, a professor at the law school, for dinner. She is a very impressive woman and dedicated to her career, but also married and the mother of two young adult children.  She told us that she has received what amounts to tenure and was very pleased about that.  She is the person who coordinated Stan's teaching assignment here, along with her assistant, Veronica.
Later this evening we went to the Havana Club, a bar here at the dormitory, where we met Michel Luvidjansky and Tomas, students in Stan's American Law class.  They had wanted to interview Stan and so had some questions prepared and recorded the conversation. 
Stan especially enjoyed this evening as he got to talk about American Law and Slovakian Law and how they are so different and yet the same.  I have been happy to tag along and listen to the conversations without contributing too much, but I have very much enjoyed meeting these fine people who are the future of this country of Slovakia.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Schloss Hof

November 3, 2010 Wednesday

Today we traveled across the Danuba to Austeria about 24 Kilometers to Schloss Hof, the hunting palace of Eugene of Savoy and later a Palace of Maria Theresa and Emporer Stephen.   It was originally built in about 1725 by the military hero of Austeria, Eugene of Savoy.  He was famous in part for having led the miliary conquest that freed Austeria and Hungary from the Ottoman empire in the early 1700s.  He became wealthy as the military leader of Austeria and wanted a hunting lodge to go with his several palaces including Belevdere in Vienna.

When he died in 1735 the castle was left to his niece who at 54 married a handsome not well to do 34 year old Prince.  They did not appreciate the art of the castle and sold many of the valuable pieces.  When they divorced he received the castle and needed to sell it.  So he planned a hugh party and invited Maria Theresa and Emporer Stephen to the feast.  It worked, Maria Theresa liked it so much she purchased it and gave it to Stehphen and they used often with their family (13 children).  After Stephen died Maria Theresa used it but not in the same manner, there was only one magnificant event the wedding of her favorite daughter, Christina.

The Castle fell into ruin over the next two hundred years.  The restoration of the castle started in earnest in 2002 through the creation of a special society.  It is now used for celebrations and is being restored.  Unfortunately for us it is only open April 2 to November 1, so we missed the tour by two days.  But they allowed us on the grounds and we had a great time walking around.

We went to the Gausthaus for some lunch, it was open but unbeknowns to us only for a special group of visitors that day.  But we unknowingly joined the group and ordered our traditional, what else but hot Schokolade and torte.  The waitress knew immediately that we did not belong to the group because we spoke english but she was nice and got us our schokolade and torte, very good.

The palace has many animals and special animals for that locations.  They even have camels and shetland ponies and walachian sheep.

Later in the day we drove to the community near the schloss, Hainreich.  We went to some old roman ruins but the museum was not open, being restored.  Then we had a wonderful dinner in Hainreich, Carol had sweinebraten with knodel and I had gurken salat (cucumber salad, afterall what is a day without cucumbers) with vegetable knodel.

Lovely day in Austeria.  I was disappointed because I thought I had an appointment in the evening to meet a student but apparently my email to him did not connect and so we did not have the meeting.  I hope to meet him again.   




Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bratislava Danubiana

November 2, 2010

As you can see by the photo above, we spent a couple of hours today at the Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum.  It is built on the edge of a penisula jutting out into the waters of the Danube River.  The open-air scuptures were interesting.......inside was an exibition of the works of Jozef Jankovic.  I do not pretend to understand modern art, but the setting was wonderful and we enjoyed our time there.  We did have an 'incident'  as we traveled to the museum.  Once again we were crossing the Slovakia/Hungary border and were pulled over by the police.  This time we were chastised for buying the required Slovakian travel
stickers by the week, instead of one for the whole month, thereby paying too much!  Then he let us go.
We started out the morning in Old Town purchasing some crystal that I have wanted and I am proud to say that we resisted having hot chocolate at the Chocolate Cafe next door to the shop.  We have been regulars there and have just about tried everything on the menu.  We will go again this weekend, for while we were in the old town square we saw them putting up the giant Christmas tree and so we will go back to see it lit up.
We had a 3 hour lunch with 2 professors from the USA who live in our building, Bill Bagatelas and Dave Reichart.  Stan had a great time discussing with them a variety of subjects. 

Monday, November 1, 2010


Monday Nov 1, 2010

Carol would not get up, she was so tired.  We went to Bratislava Castle, but the Country is still on vacation (4th day) so everthing is closed.  Then we went down town to buy Carol some crystal but the stores were closed, but we were able to get our European chocolate.

We went back to our room and Carol had a nap.  She thinks that because the whole country is on vacation that she should be on vacation.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010 in Bratislava

Because I didn't realize that day light savings time ended today, I was up and ready for church extra early, and wondering why Stan was still in his PJs....his Blackberry had changed automatically.  We went to the small Slovakian branch where Slovakian, Russian, English, and German were spoken.  One of the missionaries, Elder Melling, translated for us.  Elder Melling is soon going home to CEDAR CITY and will once again be a student at SUU.  Small world; he is the nephew of Cory Huntsman Melling, Stan's cousin's daughter.  It was a wonderful meeting with talks on covenants (in English given by a woman from Sweden) and dispensations (in Russian, translated into Slovakian, and then translated into English for us.) The 5th Sunday joint meeting was a lesson on temples given by the branch president.  The church is in its infancy here, the Book of Mormon has not been translated into the Slovakian language yet.  But there was a wonderful spirit in the meeting and we were grateful to be there among the members, the missionaries, and the investigators.

There is a bridge that crosses the Danube River that has a tower and looks like a space ship.  It is called the UFO.  We walked there, and took the inclinator up to the top to enjoy the view and dine at a fine restaurant.  Of course we didn't know it was a fine restaurant until we got there and certainly were not dressed as well as we should have been  (Stan editorial comment- I told Carol to be sure not to spill on her levies), but we stayed anyway and had a lovely dinner with a view of the whole city with it's lights.  The castle looked especially beautiful as the lights came on while we watched.

In the elevator as we left for dinner we met Bill Bagatelas.  He is an American from the Chicago area who has been teaching at the university here in Bratislava for eleven years.  He was on his way to meet someone and we were on our way to the bridge and dinner but we decided to meet later, and so we did.  We met him at a pub in Old Town and had a very interesting conversation.  At first it focused on the health care problems in America, taxes, the economy, why we were here, why he was here, etc. and then religion came up and Stan was able to tell him that we are Mormon.  He lit up and told us that for about a year, in 2008, he had been studying with the missionaries as a result of going to a international folk dance performance by BYU students.  He asked us several questions about Joseph Smith, Nauvoo, Carthage, the first vision, etc.  He may go to church with us next Sunday. 

It has been a full and wonderful Sunday.  We are looking forward to our final week here in Bratislava and continue to enjoy our experience here.

UFO Tower

Bratislava Castle at night from the UFO tower