Erasmus meets slovakia

This trip was especially prepared as the tribute to 25th anniversary of Erasmus in
Europe. It was also the first big project of ESN Košice with the aim to discover
Slovakia by Erasmus students from Košice. Coordinators were Andrea
Hanáková and Milada Konečná from ESN Košice.

The trip lasted for 4 days, from 30.3 to 2.4. 2012. Altogether 26 Erasmus students and 2
ESN coordinators were participating in this trip. With 2 experienced bus
drivers we travelled 1417 km across East, Central and West Slovakia with the
starting and finishing point in Košice. The excursion crew visited 18 places
including castles, cities, ZOO, factories, museum, aqua-park, national reserves
and folk villages.



The first
day, Friday 30th when Košice was covered by clouds and rain, early
morning, 7.30am was the time when all participants met in the bus with various
expectations. However, the weather in Košice was horrible, but while reaching
Rožňava, sun welcomed us. First stop was Château Betliar from the 14th
century which surprised us by its pompous furnishings. Second stop was brewery
Kaltenecker, one of the small breweries in Slovakia. Brewery produces more than
20 types of special beers and we did not miss the opportunity to taste 5 of
them. The last one, Brokát, is the beer on the list of the best beers of the
world. The 3rd stop was castle-ruin Šomoška from 13th
century which is located on the Slovak-Hungarian border line. It is part of the
natural reserve which includes also the 'stone-lava waterfall' and the 'stone
sea'. These are the remains after volcanic activity in this area. The 4th
stop was the UNESCO site – Banská Štiavnica, one of the oldest mining cities in
Slovakia. After the 'tour de Banská Štiavnica', there was time for late lunch
and later we approached Banská Bystrica, which was the last stop of the day.
After getting ready to experience the night life in Banská Bystrica, ESN UMB
Banská Bystrica and their Erasmus students welcomed the Erasmus from Košice at
the party in club – Nová Ponorka.


After the
long night, early morning was dedicated to 'tour de Banská Bystrica' when
willing members of ESN  UMB BB, Veronika
Basthyová, Dominika Šelengová and Dominika Kráľová prepared an interesting city
excursion for us. The 2nd stop was other mining city, Kremnica, with
the oldest factory for producing the coins – mint factory in Europe.
Unfortunately we didn't visit the mint factory, but the Museum of coins and
medals, where we could see some of the oldest means of payment what was very
interesting. Rain didn't keep us from enjoying the excursion. The 3rd
stop was one of the most beautiful castles in Slovakia, Bojnice Castle from the
12th century which was the residence of Palfy family. This was the
place which Erasmus students enjoyed the most. The next stop was Bojnice ZOO,
the largest ZOO in Slovakia, but because of the rain we could not see all
animals of the ZOO. After the dinner, the last stop was Nitra where ESN Nitra
(Kristína Macháčková, Zuzana Bajúsová, Mária Hrdličková and the rest of the
team) and their Erasmus students welcomed us in very nice pub. While talking
and getting knowing each other, we decided to go for the party in the big club



long night was followed by another early morning. However, all Erasmus students
were ready almost on the time – 8.30am! Michaela Raganová and Zuzana Valovičová
from ESN UKF Nitra took us for the 'tour de Nitra' and fortunately, the sun was
accompanying us too. The 2nd stop was one of the oldest SPA cities
in Slovakia, Piešťany and next one where the snow surprised us, was Brezová pod
Bradlom, where is the Monument of General Milan Rastislav Štefánik, the place
of the rest of a famous Slovak politician and diplomat who contributed to
Czechoslovak sovereignty. Trenčín was the following stop where Erasmus students
were amazed by lovely view of the Trenčín castle above the city. As it was 1st
April, it was dedicated to something crazy and funny, therefore, ESN trip
coordinators did not miss the chance to joke with Erasmus students and in the
cooperation with waiter, the idea was there – to announce bigger bill as they
were supposed to pay - from the 150eur it becomes 476 euros :). After amazing reaction
to the bill, they found out about the joke and we had a good laugh altogether.
After the lunch the 5th stop was the traditional folk village,
Čičmany, which is known by its special paintings on the wooden houses. The last
stop on Sunday was Žilina, where ESN UNIZA Žilina and their Erasmus students
welcomed us in the stylish beer-house, where we had a pleasant time while
talking and getting knowing other Erasmus students from Žilina.



The last
early morning started with the 'tour de Žilina', thanks to the ESN UNIZA
members, Ján Hovančík and Zuzana Liptáková who introduced Žilina to us. The 2nd
stop was natural reserve Manínska tiesňava, the wonderful narrow where we went
for a little walk. Following stop was the Christmas decorations factory –
Okrasa, in Čadca, where we had an excursion across the factory, we saw the full
process how the decoration is made and at the end we bought some souvenirs –
balls, bells, etc.. in the factory shop. Everybody was amazed by this excursion
as no one has ever seen something like this. Seeing the process of fabrication
helped us to realise how some products are made and to think about the real
price of product, because the hard work (it was hand-made!) is many times not
appreciated enough. The 4th stop was the folk village Vlkolínec,
which is on the UNESCO heritage list too. It is an untouched and complex
example of folk countryside architecture of the region of the Northern
Carpathians. The very last stop was aqua-park Tatralandia, which was the
'reward' for really tiring, exhausting, but amazing and adventurous trip across
Slovakia. On Monday, Košice crew reached dorms at 11.30pm, everybody tired, but
happy, full of new experiences, and ready to enjoy the long sleep.

Now, after
the trip, Erasmus students are fully obliged to say 'I met Slovakia'. The
mission was accomplished.



We would
like to thank to all Erasmus students that joined the trip and to the all ESN
sections across Slovakia that managed pleasant evenings and interesting tours
in their cities for us.

ESN Košice