Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Čas rýchlo plynie.

One year and two days ago I moved to Slovakia. I would have written about it earlier, but then the killer flu hit me and I thought I might die. I didn’t. Obviously.

What? Slovakia? Why on earth would anyone want to move to Slovakia?

I did not really know what I was doing at the time.

But it was a good decision, me thinks.

It’s been a tough year. Studying full-time, working full-time, travelling full-time.

It has also been a lot of fun.

Slovakia, I think, it’s something of the hidden corner of Europe. Located between places that everyone has heard of, Slovakia is easily forgotten.

Which means that the world is missing out. Slovakia is a beautiful country.

The people are kind.

The wine is tasty.

The cheese is good, too.

Bratislava is grey and the streets are full of cracks, but it has somehow managed to keep its charm.

I feel safe here, and good. I have never felt like I didn’t fit it.

Beautiful language, too. And plenty of bookstores.

Life is sweet here.

život je tu sladký.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

1st Year In Slovakia In Pictures. Pt.2


January 2013: the winter finally arrived in Bratislava. We also visited Prague.



February 2013: morning walks across the Danube and a bit of philosophising.



March 2013: we went on our first trip together just the two of us – to Györ in Hungary – and apparently I felt need to eat some vitamines.


April 2013: the very beginning of the month was spent in Belgrade, the next weekend I treated myself with a trip to Budapest for my birthday.

Monday, 23 September 2013

The Whole House Stinks of Garlic

Out former flat mate was always able to guess that we had been to our favourite restaurant, as the whole flat would smell of garlic.

Cesnaková polievka – also known as garlic soup – is J’s favourite starter. I don’t mind having some either. So yesterday we hit our fabulous heads together and decided make some of our own for lunch. Result? A very smelly flat and two happy people.

This is probably one of the easiest dished ever. As long as one doesn’t mind playing with garlic.



So. 8 garlic cloves, 1 litre of water and 2 vegetable stock cubes. Fry the garlic. Add the water and the cubes. Boil. Add some fresh parsley.

Croutons and cheese are usually added to the soup but we were lazy and had a cheese sandwich instead. Tasty.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

1st Year In Slovakia In Pictures. Pt.I.


September 2012: the very first days.



October 2012: learning Slovak and first trip to Vienna.


November 2012: Walks in Bratislava and a trip to Budapest


December 2012: a lot of coffee and conversation on Christmas Eve. Getting ready for New Year’s Eve.

6.50 on a Sunday


Rooibos tea with honey. Sunshine outside. Sore throat, fleeing voice. Dizzy head. The promise of good reads and a trip to the bookstore. Sneezing just a little bit. Writing about then and now, the problems we face, the life people should be able to lead. An attempt to understand society, an attempt to understand life. Talking to friends.

This morning – a Sunday morning – I woke up at 6.50 am. This day has all the potential to be a really good one. 

Saturday, 21 September 2013

And the happiest people on the planet are…

Happiness in all its forms is a theme that I like. What’s there not to like?

But. It becomes a bit funny when one starts comparing countries and different types of happiness. Being happy and being satisfied seem to be entirely different things, at least according to different indeces.

So what do we have out there?

The World Happiness Report – published by the Columbia University with financial aid from the UN, finds that the Scandinavian and some other North European countries, led by Denmark, are the happiest countries in the world. The report, that looks at various issues, can be found here.

The Happy Planet Index shows results very different from those reported by the World Happiness Report. The Index uses the following formula to measure happiness:


According to this report, the happiest people can be found in Central and South America, as well as in Vietnam. The highest ranking Nordic country is Norway, at place 29. Interestingly, Norwegians live longer and experience higher well-being than the Costa Ricans, but the ecological footprint is much higher. The ecological footprint measures resource consumption.

More about the Happy Planet Index can be found here.

A third Happiness Index is the OECD Better Life Index. This index is not completely comparable to the others, as it only concerns the OECD-countries. Again, variables come from a wide range of topics, from jobs to work-life balance.

The result? The report can be found here. According to this report, Australians, Swedes and Canadians had the best lives.


Happiness is a tricky concept. It’s a subjective feeling that is dependent on various factors. The inclusion and exclusion of factors, and the way these are measured, have a huge impact on the results these reports show.

Bratislava Tip: Mileticova Open Air Market

Right nearby to where we live, there is a an absolutely fabulous open air market. We like to go there for  a stroll on Saturday mornings to look for berries, herbs veggies, fruits, flowers and whatnot. Apart from food, one can also find bags and clothes, flowers etc.

There you will hear Hungarian, see elderly ladies, talk to strangers and be overwhelmed by colours, smells and sounds. 

Here’s a part of the goodies we found today:


Friday, 20 September 2013

Tips Wanted

Blogs about travelling, healthy living, languages, books, living abroad, politics etc. Can you recommend any good ones?


Thanks Smile

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Happy Thoughts

A bit of coughing, a bit of cold chills. Dark clouds cover the sky and the rain is falling. Head is a bit dizzy and there is the gnawing knowledge of a busy day at work.

Sit down. Relax. Breathe. Hug a little. Drink coffee. Think some nice thoughts:

  • It’s Thursday – two more days to the weekend!
  • A pile of books and some necessary shopping are waiting.
  • The coffee tastes good.
  • Soon I get to celebrate 1 year in Bratislava. Wow!
  • It’s less than 100 days to Christmas. It wouldn’t be such a big deal, but I ‘m going home to see friends and family.
  • It’s fun to write.





What is making you happy today?


Looking back at the texts and the photos in this blog almost makes me melancholic. All those great times! At the same time I know that I’m creating other memories – just as great – right now.

What did I do and who was I on Septemeber 9th 2011?

I did not write a blog entry.

But apparently I had signed up for a course at the Open University and ate chanterelles. Maybe I even attended the course on that very day, now that I think of it.

I think this was around the time that I felt I needed to change something. Having an insecure job at a company that wasn’t doing too well and living in a place I didn’t like. At least that changed.

I honestly don’t know what I did on 9.9.2011. It was a Friday. Maybe dinner with my parents? Maybe a good book? The course. And work.

BBC has some very nice photos from that day.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Things I’ve Been Liking A Lot Lately [or my week in pictures]


Homemade raspberry ice tea with lemon, lime and mint.


Raspberries are always delicious, as was The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite


Kraków did not disappoint.


I was very, very happy when I found my one and only make-up essential in Poland. Hey, that’s closer than Finland.


Finding this fig made my day on Monday.


Finding these socks made my day on Tuesday.


And this Greek inspired Tzatziki Pasta Salad might well make my Wednesday. Ingredients: tagliatelle, ruccola, tomato, feta cheese and homemade tzatziki.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Places: Sopron

One of my reasons for moving to Bratislava was its closeness to Hungary. Going to Hungary as much as possible was the plan, and I have done my best to follow it.

Sopron is a very cosy town near the Hungarian border. Interestingly, when we went there on a Saturday in May, the city was almost empty. The centre was well-preserved and rather pretty, but I found it slightly boring. As you can see from the photos – there weren’t that many sights that ended up on camera. The coffee was good, though!


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Places: Eger

One of the most picturesque places we visited in the summer 2013 is a small Hungarian town in the northern part of the country. Two hours north-east of Budapest, it was easy to hop on the train and spend a very rainy but lovely day in Eger. We spent the day wandering around, passing on the chance to try red wines and thermal baths. Maybe next time!