Balancing A Regular Life with Extreme WANDERLUST
Slovakia sees all four major seasons, and this makes it seem like a completely different location depending on the time of the year. My preferred time to visit is June and July because you find warm weather, outdoor festivals and fresh water lakes to swim in. If you visit during winter, you’ll find a snowy paradise, with ski resorts and warm spiced wine.The best time to visit Oman is between November and February. You will find bright days, pleasant nights and almost no humidity. Carry light cotton clothes and tons of sunscreen.
Away from the hustle and bustle typical of Europe, I chose to stay at Hotel Alexander´s. This hotel has breathtaking views of the nearby hills as well as Nitra’s city center. The staff is helpful and will go out of their way to make sure your stay is pleasant.
The art gallery has several exhibition rooms that present major national and international projects, but my favorite was an underground room for alternative art called Bunker. The Bunker contained peculiar modern art created by students, artists and curators from all around Slovakia.
The city of Nitra has been one of the most important centers of Jewish life in Slovakia for centuries. First mentioned in a document from 1113, the Jews have built a prosperous community over several centuries. Constructed in a narrow lane in 1908, the synagogue has Byzantine elements, and is now also used for cultural activities and for showing local art.
When in Slovakia, trying their national dish, Halušky (pronounced ha-loosh-key) is an absolute must. The dish is essentially potato dumplings served with cheese made from goat’s milk, something unique to this part of the world. Apart from this, you must also try Perogies, Cabbage Soup and Goulash.
Slovakia is extremely proud of its drinking culture and the quality and strength of spirits they produce. The most popular Slovak spirit is Slivovica, a strong liquor made from plums. Slovaks love gulping shots of Slivovica while cheering for their favorite sports teams at local bars. Additionally, any fans of the movie Eurotrip must have a mandatory Absinthe shot while in Slovakia.
Nitra does not have its own airport, but it is close to both Vienna and Bratislava airports. There are several buses every day from these airports and the journey takes about a couple of hours. Alternatively, you could also take a train from Bratislava but that usually takes longer. While in Nitra, it is best to explore the city on foot.
Nitra’s city center, the Pedestrian Zone is the perfect place to kick back, grab a beer and observe people. One of my favorite destinations from the trip, this street was renovated by local artists in 1996 who used symbols and art from Nitra’s Great Moravian past. One such work of art is a sword half buried in the ground as a symbol of peace. You will also see the Music Clock that has a different tone for every hour that it strikes. If you’ve still not had your fair share of history lessons, you may want to visit the Ponitrianske Museum located here.
Nitra’s most famous landmark, Nitra Castle was built in the 11th century on the site of a worn-down fort which was the seat of the Nitra Princedom and Great Moravian kings. The gigantic yet beautiful castle dominates this town, especially at night when it is illuminated. The castle is also home to two churches, a Gothic lower church, and the Romanesque St. Emmeram's Church. St. Emmeram’s Church has some of the most intricate marble carvings I have ever come across. Its interiors are rich and tell stories of Nitra’s heydays. There is also a small but excellent museum which details the history of the castle and its church. You must also take a moment to appreciate the views from the castle.
St. Ladislav’s Church is a complex on Piaristickej Street and consists of a Church, a convent and a grammar school. The construction of the complex was started in 1701 but it almost got destroyed by a fire right before its inauguration in 1716. This Church is an excellent source of information on the first Christian missionaries that arrived from other parts of Europe.
When most people think of Europe, they think of Paris' Eiffel Tower, Amsterdam’s canals or Barcelona's famous nightlife. On my last trip to Europe, I wanted to go beyond what was popular and explore Europe’s hidden history and culture. This quest led me to a quaint town in Slovakia called Nitra.
Nitra is the oldest human settlement in all of Slovakia, having been built in the early ninth century. Its location at the crossing of ancient trade roads as well as proximity to the Nitra river predestined this place as an ancient settlement. Nitra offers a little of everything that draws most visitors to Eastern Europe: castles, churches, restaurants, pubs – a lot of pubs! Be it Nitra Castle or St. Ladislav’s Church, the city’s most incredible attractions have their roots in its heyday. Here are a few of my favorite experiences from my time in Nitra.