Geoffroy : Across the borders

02.06.2023 10:45 EZS Slovensko
May in Slovakia has been a month of exciting travels, intercultural experiences, and surprising discoveries. From exploring the austro-slovak border to indulging in festivals, I've been immersed in new encounters and beautiful landscapes. The celebration of Mother's Day brought smiles and joy, while intercultural games sparked interesting discussions. I've pleasantly surprised by the sincerity and directness of the Slovak people and the charm of Bratislava.

This month of May was full of experiences and travelling. Spring is back and it is the good moment to discover nice places in Slovakia and, also, met nice peoples.

The austro-slovak border

The first of May, I visited an interesting place, at the austro-slovak border. Indeed, you can find in Petrzalka an old military graveyard and a renovated bunker. There is a strange legend around this bunker : if two lovers go on his top and see a sunset, they will marry in one year and one day. He is next to the military graveyard, a cemetery who was created in 1916. In 1922, this place became a memorial… But this place was only renovated in 2008. A total of 331 soldiers lied in this place. 122 was Czechoslovaks and 53 was Hungarians.

There is a lot of bunkers at the borders, I hope I will discover another of them.

Majales and beer festival

The next week-end was the Nemesis of the previous week end. With Amandine and two of her friends, we firstly went to the Bratislavský majáles, an open air festival organized next to the Danube. It was in a good atmosphere, but I personally finished very early. At 10 P.M, all was already quiet…

The next day, we went to the Jarný pivný festival, an event focused on craft beer, small breweries and beer specials from Bohemia and Slovakia. It was next to the Štrkovecké jazero, a small and quiet lake inside the city of Bratislava.

Unfortunately, I personally think this festival was very very small. Only a handful of stalls… But whatever, as you can see in the pictures, I met a nice guy from Austria.

Mila pre mamu

The month of was also animated by the famous Mother’s Day. INEX’ team was in this funny afternoon for helping the organization of this event. It was an opportunity for Mom to relax while their kids was created badges and/or drawing.

My role was to take family photos. It was very pleasant. I have nerver seen so many Slovak smiles in only one day. :D

The polish-slovak border

If the austro-slovak border was rich in history, the polish border was full of beautiful landscapes. Thank to Mateus, an ESC volunteer from Poland, we walked in a very beautiful National Park in the very south of Poland. Together, we went to the top of Trzy Korony. The view was very beautiful.

And the next day, we went in the High Tatras at Štrbské pleso, a beautiful lake under wonderful mountains. Thank to Adrian, who will be coleader with me in the workcamp of Lukovistia, for showing us this good place.

Intercultural game night

Well, after chilling at two borders with people from another country, I continued my intercultural experience by organizing a tea meeting around a nice game who is named : The Cultionary. This game was introduced by the Federation Wallonie-Bruxelles for students. The goal : confront ourselves with our own stereotypes by drawing as fast as possible a nationality, an ethnicity… without word. And the others members of our team have to find what we are drawing…

Personally, it was very interesting to see how, sometimes, some people can be uncomfortable with their own representations. But it was a very good way to have interesting exchanges around the origin of stereotypes.

I personally think it is a good task for an ESC Volunteer. Especially from Belgium... Indeed, in Brussels anti-Semitism and homophobia are gaining more and more ground every day, according to the last news :(. It was important to me to do it.

Even myself had stereotypes about Slovakia before to come here. For the moment, I have the impression that the Slovaks are very perfectionists and are very honest people. It’s only my point of view but I have the feeling that people from Slavic culture have less filters than Belgians. I find that the relationship to work is also different here. In Wallonia, it's more a Latin approach to the world of work.

Also, I was goodly surprised by the city of Bratislava. I like the fact that is smaller and cleaner than Brussel. Belgium do not miss me but I hope some friends will come soon. 

Maybe I'll teach them some new Slovak words. At the moment the lessons are about body parts and how to ask for directions in town. At the moment, I'm still able to order a coffee without sugar or milk and understand the price. That's a good thing. We'll see if I make any progress between now and then.

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