I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!

I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!

I bet you weren’t expecting this!

So, what happened?

As you know, I’m a great advocate for Europe, and even more so for Eastern Europe. I mean you only have to scroll through this link to experience my love for the continent.

But if you’re as lazy as I am (whaaaat!), I’ll give you a helping hand!

CROATIA:

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

THE CZECH REPUBLIC:

Myself with ski leaders in Rokytnice nad Jizerou – Czech Republic

ESTONIA:

On the cobbled streets of Tallinn, Estonia.

HUNGARY:

With Eszter Bittmann In Budapest, Hungary.

LATVIA:

Green soup from Riga, Latvia.

LITHUANIA:

Our extremely funny walking tour guide in Latvia.

POLAND:

Polish fishermen on the Polish Baltic Sea who did fabulously well. 🙂

SLOVAKIA:

Take photographs and wander at will!
Go on a walking tour in the Old Town.
Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!

SLOVENIA:

A delicious mug of cold beer in Ljubljana – Slovenia!

Now to be clear, I’m not saying that I don’t like Romania. I’m not a hater you know.

I’m just saying that it didn’t tickle my fancy!

And even though that’s a rare thing, here’s somewhere else that I won’t be rushing to anytime soon.

Singapore.

South Africa.

The Dominican Republic.

And.

Slovakia!

Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!

Not Sloveeeeeenia that I absolutely adore.

But Slovaaaaakia.

I mean, once upon a time, I even spent a considerable amount of time living there.

And it hadn’t changed.

Not one bit.

And not for the better either!

Now before you all get your pitchforks out and proceed to burn me at the stake.

When writing about Romania, I’m refering to the nation and state of Romania, not the people.

And certainly, I’m not in any way making reference to the Roma minority!

I’m not cruel!

 

If anything, I very much enjoyed learning about the history and culture of the indigenous people, and only wish that I could have learnt more!

So what’s this post all about then?

Well, Romania was my 65th country, and in truth I was excited, and waiting to be dazzled.

Not by flashy buildings or histories of yore, but just by that feeling of joy.

Being in another place.

I mean, I was in a new country n’ everything.

And some things were quite interesting (I’ll tell you all about them next week)!

I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!

But.

I wasn’t overwhelmed.

I wasn’t fascinated.

And sad to say.

I wasn’t even impressed.

Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

I’m well-travelled and know perfectly well that each country has a different charm to it.

And you don’t have to be a wealthy nation, have historical claim, or filled with a huge amount of resources, to get it right.

You don’t even have to have a name that anyone can pronounce.

Heck!

You can be as tiny as you like and still be totally compelling!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

So.

I’m the last person on earth to ram my opinion down anyone’s throat.

Let’s get a little bit of background shall we?

ROMANIA

I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!

Romania is a country in a region that is considered to be Eastern Europe, Central Europe, and South-East Europe, and surrounded by Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia, Moldova, the Ukraine, as well as the Black Sea!

It has a population of almost 20 million people, is considered one of the poorest members of the EU.

That notwithstanding, Romania has the second-longest river in Europe flowing through it – the River Danube – the second-longest mountain range in Europe – the Carpathian Mountains – and has been around as far back as 40,000 years ago!

Most people don’t know an awful lot about Romania, but it’s rise to fame came about in modern times due to the Communist rule of Nicolae Ceaușescu, and the intrigue of Bran Castle, otherwise known as Count Dracula’s Castle.

More about this next week!

AND BUCHAREST?

WELL, I WENT TO ROMANIA. IT DIDN’T WOW ME!

Corvin Castle / Hunyadi Castle / Hunedoara Castle or Castelul Huniazilor / Castelul Corvinilor in Hunedoara, Romania!
I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!

Bucharest, otherwise known as București, is the capital of Romania.

It has a population of roughly 1.8 million people, is very near the Bulgarian border, and was first mentioned in 1459!

The architecture of Bucharest is an interesting mix of neo-classical, art-deco, French and communist-era design.

Outside Nicolae Ceaușescu’s Palace of the Parliament!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018

In fact, pre-WWI and WWII, Bucharest was sometimes referred to as Little Paris, but was utterly destroyed by earthquakes or the rampant desires of Nicolae Ceaușescu, who preferred Bucharest to look like the country of his dreams, and bull-dozed most of the city to the ground!

Inside Nicolae Ceaușescu’s Palace of the Parliament!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018

In truth, Nicolae Ceaușescu did this to make way for his Palace of the Parliament, which outside of the Pentagon, is the largest administrative building in the world!

So there’s that!

WHY GO TO ROMANIA?

Vlad the Impaler – The Real Dracula!

To visit Count Dracula’s Castle!

Nah.

Don’t be ridiculous!

No seriously.

That’s really why I went to Romania!!

The legend of Bran Castle in Romania!

To visit the castles!

Not just Bran Castle, but Pele Castle too!

I’m a tourist. What of it?

TAKE ME THERE?

The Tall Young Gentleman & The Music Producer about to get on the airport bus in Romania!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018

Once again.

We flew with Ryanair.

Phew! We made it! The Ryanair flight was alright!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018

And it was pretty alright.

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

There’s hardly any one here! Most of the tourists at Hanu’ lui Manuc in the Old Town, were local!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018

Nope!

Bucharest is beginning to attract attention, and certainly, in the peak months, you’ll get a summer rush, but it’s hardly Dubrovnik.

Or Prague!

Romania isn’t on the radar of most people and so the capital city – Bucharest – is almost always mixed up with – Budapest – the capital city of Hungary!

They’re nowhere near the same!

Budapest is far nicer!

WHAT IS ROMANIA LIKE?

The Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest is most beautiful!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018
Near the trams in Bucharest. Not so much!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018

Well, it isn’t Switzerland, that’s for sure.

Or Denmark!

It’s not anything like other East European cities either!

It’s a bit gritty, but not like Berlin.

It’s got that old ex-Soviet Union look, but not like Riga, or Warsaw.

It’s a bit rough-looking, and not very well looked after, as there were loads of really beautiful buildings that were either abandoned, or falling apart!

I wanted to get a feel of Romania, so we were there for a week.

Romania didn’t wow me, but The Music Producer said his Romanian soup was nice!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018

It didn’t wow me!

I DON’T SPEAK ROMANIAN!

Not a problem.

If you can speak German, Russian or a little English, you’ll be fine!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

You’re not going to live in this abandoned hut, so don’t worry!

Umm!

Thanks to the fact that Romania isn’t on the beaten path, accommodation ranges from quite simple, to 5-star establishments.

It won’t be necessary for you to live in a cave!

Prices are excellent, so we decided to use booking.com to book a large two-bedroom, two-bathroom, two balcony apartment for just €54.00 a night.

Our Green Apartment was big enough for four (4) people sharing, making it a ridiculous price of €13.50 per person.

I really don’t think you can do any better!

Having said that, in the summer months, book ahead.

BUT WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN I GET TO ROMANIA?

But what should I dooooooo?
I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!

Romania isn’t boring.

There is plenty to do.

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

Outside the bigger cities, simply walk or use Uber!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018

Romania isn’t the safest of countries, but public transport is cheap and available.

We chose a better option.

Uber.

OMG!

Uber was so cheap that our rides across town cost as little as €2.60 in some places.

Two (2) Euros and sixty cents!!!

Isn’t that marvellous!

If you’re in Germany, here’s my link!

ANYTHING ELSE?

The service at Distrikt 42 & other restaurants in Romania, was under-whelming!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018

Prices are extremely cheap, but do double-check your bill.

Don’t bother to use public transport as Uber is cheap as chips.

The city centre seems to be alright at night, but most of the side roads had no street lamps, so was pretty dark.

There also seems to be a lot of construction going on as the pavements had lots of huge manholes that were fenced off with plastic tape, and couldn’t be seen at night, so that you did, in actual fact, fall in!

Don’t expect service at restaurant and bars.

I live in Berlin, where service isn’t that fantastic, but Romania totally beats nonchalant attitude, hands-down!

The amount of time that I had to ask staff at “nice” restaurants to clear and clean tables before we sat there, was rather too much for my liking.

And apparently, it’s quite the norm!

MY VERDICT:

Romania – A blend of European history, with distinct reminders of a socialist past!

Romania is a European historical country, mixed with distinct reminders of a socialist past.

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Victoria & family in Bran Castle near Brasov – Romania!
I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Brasov – April 2018

Probably not!

It didn’t wow me!

I wouldn’t go all out to visit Romania, but if you’re in the region, take a day or two and visit.

Or go to the countryside, which is quite nice!

But as always, don’t just read the papers, or listen to hearsay.

Go see for yourself.

Europe is wonderful!

How I can afford a life of travel. Don’t choose. Live a life of style and travel!

I WENT TO ROMANIA. IT DIDN’T WOW ME!

I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions are really, my very own!

Next week, the Romanian places that I did like!

And in a few weeks, I’ll be revealing my next summer trip!

Stay tuned.

Yay!

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!

Have you ever been to a place that didn’t click? Would you visit Romania?

Let me know in your comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

Advertisements

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

We’ve just returned from Croatia.

And OMG!

Even though I’ve travelled to 61 other countries!

Croatia is the first time that I’ve ever been to the Balkan States, my 62nd country, and the first (1st) new country for 2017!

It was better than I ever hoped.

Me in Dubrovnik – Croatia!

My plans for 2017 (in alphabetical order) were:

  1. Austria
  2. Croatia
  3. Czech Republic
  4. England
  5. France
  6. Germany (of course. Ho! Ho!)
  7. Holland
  8. Ireland for TBEX (the Travel Bloggers Exchange Conference)
  9. Poland
  10. Romania
  11. Russia
  12. Slovenia
  13. Sweden

Let’s see how we’ve done so far.

Mozart & Vienna are adorable!

AUSTRIA:

CZECH REPUBLIC:

I went skiing!

I haven’t quite got around to writing about skiing in the Czech Republic this year yet, but this is what I previously wrote!

HOLLAND:

Dutch children in traditional costume.

CROATIA:

  • Yay!
Because Game of Thrones!
Because Game of Thrones!

Now, to be frank, most people have never heard of Croatia.

Game of Thrones?

Yep!

I love that show by the way…!

But Croatia?

Isn’t it somewhere in Eastern Europe?

Yes.

And No!

It can’t be both surely?

The Music Producer in Zagreb. Geographically, Croatia is one of the previous communist states!

Well, geographically, it’s one of the previous communist states.

Don’t worry.

Breath!

However, in recent years, Croatia has managed to re-invent itself, so that even though it is actually in Eastern Europe, it’s marketed as Central Europe too!

Croatia has such a Mediterranean vibe, that you could be in Italy or Austria!

In truth, it has the vibe of the Mediterranean, and you’d be hard pressed not to think that in certain parts of Croatia, you could actually be in Italy, or dare I say it. Austria!

I know!

Book your hotel here!

LET’S GET A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY!

Ceremonial Officers in Zagreb – Croatia

Croatia, otherwise known locally as Hrvatska, or officially – the Republic of Croatia – is a sovereign state between Central Europe, Southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean!

Croatia covers 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles) and is on the Adriatic Sea coast, which contains more than a thousand islands!

Croatia’s population is just 4.28 million, and the capital city is Zagreb.

A traditional Busker in Zagreb – Croatia!

The Croats arrived in the area of present-day Croatia way back in the early part of the 7th century, before becoming two Duchies in the 9th century.

Croatia became a kingdom in 925 and remained so, for almost 200 years!

After World War I in 1918, Croatia was included in the unrecognized State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs which seceded from Austria-Hungary, and merged into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In 1991, Croatia declared it’s independence which sadly, between 1991-1995, became a bloody war with Serbia, then known as part of the ex – Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia!

However, Croatia won it’s independence and since 2013, has also been a fully fledged member of the European Union!

WHY GO TO CROATIA?

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Why not?!

Well, Croatia is in Europe!

It’s on the map where East meets West.

It’s entwined with civilizations, history and culture, that goes back centuries!

It boasts numerous architectural jewels and a world heritage that make parts of Croatia enviable. And UNESCO locations filled with buildings, marked by world history of thousands of years, that made me practically salivate when I saw them!

It’s modern, but also traditional with folk customs, rural traditions that are still adhered to.

In fact, we were all given traditional Easter eggs and Easter cake, handed out as gifts. And I can’t even tell you how many random people (many of them old), waved and smiled at me, on passing by!

The Tall Young Gentleman at the sea in Split - Croatia!
The Tall Young Gentleman at the sea in Split – Croatia!

Croatia is near the sea.

It’s pretty cheap by West European standards.

Fairly developed in services and infrastructure.

And I’ve never been to the Balkans before!

Because Game of Thrones!

Because Game of Thrones!
Because Game of Thrones!

Now when I pitched Croatia to my husband – The Music Producer – he wasn’t initially convinced.

He thought that Croatia would be too far into Eastern Europe, leading into the throngs of Albania, Romania, and Bulgaria.

He wasn’t excited at all!

The Tall Young Gentleman & The Music Producer were pretty excited once they got to Zagreb – Croatia!

However, one of the things that changed his mind, was the personal contact that I made with the Zagreb Tourist Board at the ITB travel trade fair in Berlin!

I was so excited to be visiting their country, and they were wonderfully helpful.

Thanks so much!

Is it any wonder that The Music Producer was caught up with my enthusiasm too!

I have a lot of things to write about, and you’ll see them all.

I promise!

No worries!

TAKE ME THERE?

Take me to Croatia by ship!

As you all pretty much know by now, I’m a great believer in train travel. However, Croatia is quite far from Germany, so we flew!

We had planned just ten (10) days in Croatia – three (3) days in Zagreb, three (3) days in Split, and four (4) days in Dubrovnik.

We wanted to spend at least 14 days (yes, please!) but school commitments meant that the German Easter School Holidays this year, only catered for ten (10) days! But as I always advocate, be smart, use all the weekends, and make it work!

It’s not possible to fly non-stop from Berlin, so we flew with Lufthansa, via Munich on the way in, and Austrian Airlines, via Vienna, on the return leg.

Our outward journey from Berlin Tegel (TXL) to Zagreb (ZAG) with a stop-over, took 6 hours and 20 minutes. Our return journey from Dubrovnik with a stop-over, took just 4 hours.

However, you don’t even need to fly, as you can either take a cruise ship in from the Mediterranean States, a ferry from Italy, take a bus-coach from anywhere you like, or simply rent a car and drive from Austria or Slovenia!

Note: There aren’t a lot of inter-city trains. In fact, there’s no train station in Dubrovnik at all!

There actually aren’t a lot of trains in Croatia at all!

If you’re on a tight budget then many bus-coach companies such as MeinFernbus / FlixBus also go to Croatia. But do be aware that the fastest routes are usually only sold in Croatia itself.

We decided to use the coach-bus between Zagreb – Split and Split-Dubrovnik.

Zagreb – Split was a straight-forward ride, and took 6 hours and 20 mins. Cost: €24.00 per person.

Split – Dubrovnik proved problematic, as the coach-bus actually went backwards in the direction of Zagreb, then dropped us in the backwater town of Benkovac, at the Benkovac Busbahnhof!

I didn’t like Benkovac in Croatia, at all!

Benkovac was yucky!

As soon as I saw the “bus station,” I wanted to get the hell out of there!

It was practically deserted and every “room” was boarded up.

We had a 1 hour stop-over at 10:30, and the next decent place was a bar. So we ran to it and ordered a few (non-alcoholic) drinks there!

It’s 10:30 in the morning remember.

An early morning shot of vodka in many East European countries, is believed to be quite healthy!

Not that it stopped any of the local punters. Ho! Ho!….!

Our journey took 8 hours and 30 minutes, but the bus was 45 minutes late, so make that 9 hours and 15 minutes instead!

We probably should have rented a car, and be done with it!

Cost: Split – Benkovac €12.00. Benkovac – Metkovic €7.35. Benkovac – Dubrovnik €5.65 per person.

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

Croatia isn’t crowded in the Spring – Locals in Zagreb – Croatia!

Not in the Spring it isn’t!

In fact, there were very few tourists around as it wasn’t yet “the season,” and many a restaurant were luring customers in with 10% discounts.

But in the summer, prepare to gird your loins, and fight your way through!

Plan well.

Book your hotel here!

Zagreb is the capital of Croatia, and it’s very small!

Zagreb is the capital city in Croatia, and it’s very small!

Split and Dubrovnik are even smaller, and receive up to 3,000 guests per cruise ship, in the summer!

I haven’t a clue how many cruise ships sail by, but it won’t be pretty.

Having said that, if that’s the only time that you can travel, don’t let anything get in your way, as most cruise visitors are only in town for half a day, so that evenings will all be yours!

Book your hotel here!

WHAT IS CROATIA LIKE?

Croatian food is most delicious!

We were only there for 10 days, but Croatia definitely made an impression on me.

It’s of historical and architectural interest, the food and wine is impressive, the waters are clean, green-blue, and crystal clear.

And it’s very, very pretty!

I DON’T SPEAK CROATIAN.

Our guide speaks at least four (4) languages. Possibly, even more!

Not. A. Problem.

It’s amazing how many languages a typical European speaks.

Most speak a minimum of three (3)!

If you speak English, German, Italian or Korean, you’re good to go.

Besides, everyone pretty much speaks English too!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

A stone house in Croatia!

Ha! Ha! Not unless you want to!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

This plate of Cevapcici was certainly pretty cheap. Ho! Ho!

Croatia isn’t cheap-cheap.

If you’re from the UK or the US, it’s as cheap as chips.

If you’re from Germany, prices are the same as in Berlin, and you can eat at gourmet restaurants, at far cheaper prices!

We pretty much spent a large amount of time drinking a few glasses of wine, whilst people watching. And a few more!

And on this trip, we decided to book apartments instead of hotels or hostels.

Book your apartment here!

Booking an apartment in Croatia is by far better, than booking a hotel!

We had great difficulty with personal space in Madrid last year, as The Tall Young Gentleman has recently turned 15 (OMG!), and is very tall. We decided to either book two (2) hotel rooms, or a large apartment instead.

Prices are low, and the quality and standards of apartments available, are exceedingly high. I’ll write more about it in the next few weeks!

Frankly, if you’re paying between €45.00 – €60.00 per night, for huge apartments with terraces, working kitchens, and a piano, you simply can’t go wrong!

Book ahead to get good prices.

Book your apartment or hotel here!

I’M LOOKING FOR SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT. ANY IDEAS?

The Adventure Begins – More next week!

Absolutely!

Too many to write at the moment.

More next week!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

A vintage car, ‘cos modern cars aren’t allowed in the Old Towns, in Croatia!

All of Croatia is pretty small, so every city we visited was quite walkable.

In most cases, cars are not allowed into the Old Towns!

However, you could take the bus, the tram, or simply walk!

ANYTHING ELSE?

A Bosnian waitress - Don't forget if you're travelling to Dubrovnik, you'll have to go through Bosnia!<br /> ©Photo Adam Jones - adamjones.freeservers
A Bosnian waitress – Don’t forget if you’re travelling to Dubrovnik, you’ll have to go through Bosnia!
©Photo Adam Jones – adamjones.freeservers

If you’re travelling to Dubrovnik, note that there’s a tiny strip of road that’s actually in Bosnia! It only takes about five (5) minutes, but make sure that you have your passport with you.

The motto in Croatia is to relaaaaaax & not rush things.

I think we did that rather well!

MY VERDICT:

You know nothing Jon Snow except that Croatia is pretty brilliant!
You know nothing Jon Snow except that Croatia is pretty brilliant!

We all loved it!

Croatia has got art and culture, and has a vibrant history.

Because, Game of Thrones!

Just kidding!

Or am I?!

You know nothing Jon Snow…..!!!!

But seriously.

For many international visitors, Croatia isn’t a destination that immediately comes to mind, but if you’re in the Balkan area, make it a point of duty to spend a few weeks days, in as many cities as you can manage.

If you’re looking for a new destination that isn’t really on the beaten path, say hello – CROATIA!

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Totally!

Croatia is a sunny dream, and I can’t wait to visit again.

Let’s do it!

HOW TO VISIT THE BALKANS: INTRODUCING CROATIA – THE DREAM OF GAME OF THRONES!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions and the delightful cobbled walks that we happily rambled through, are my very own!

In April & May, I’ll be writing more about Croatia, and visiting  Sweden & Finland!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in April, you’re quite mad!

April is going to be superb!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!
How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Have you ever been to Croatia? Are you a fan of Game of Thrones? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!

9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!
9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!

Have you ever been to Slovakia?

You know the one.

Slovakiaaaaaaaaa. Not Sloveeeeenia!

Most people haven’t or if they have, they’ve sort of breezed through.

In Prague reading something and looking all serious, but not completely serious!
In Prague reading something and looking all serious, but not completely serious!

On a day trip from either Budapest or Vienna.

Or worse, as an after-thought from visiting Prague or Krakow, which is no-where near the capital that is Bratislava!

Ah well!

Let’s have a look at Slovakian or Slovak food shall we.

Communist vodka & Jaffa cakes in Warsaw!
Communist vodka & Jaffa cakes in Warsaw!

Traditional Slovak cuisine, like Polish cuisine or Estonian cuisine, as well as Czech cuisine, is rather rustic in nature and tends towards the stodgy side of things!  These include such delights as wheat, potatoes, milk, dairy, pork, cabbage, and onions!

To a lesser degree beef, poultry, lamb and goat, eggs, beans, corn on the cob, lentils, parsley, carrots, wild mushrooms, and other vegetables are often used to create soup, and other dishes. Fruit like apples, plums, apricots, peaches,  and cherries, are also traditionally eaten.

9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!
9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!

It wasn’t too long ago that families had to grow and produce food for themselves, or trade or barter with their neighbours, or in local markets.

As a result, wheat was milled into bread, dumplings and noodles. Potatoes were boiled or made into potato dumplings, and milk was made into products such as butter, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, and various types of local rustic cheese.

Pork is the big thing, and typically made into sausages.

Pork is typically made into sausages, but not always! 9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!
Pork is typically made into sausages, but not always! 9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!

The Slovakians or Slovaks also have their own traditional blood sausage, smoked bacon, and lard.

Beef and chicken, as well as rabbit and venison is widely used, and sometimes goose.

Black bread or rye bread is as a direct influence from Austria, and many Slovakians or Slovaks eat bread for breakfast or for lunch with soup. Very frequently for dinner too!

Traditional Slovakian or Slovak drinks tend to be milk or beer!
Traditional Slovakian or Slovak drinks tend to be milk or beer!

Traditional drinks tend to be milk or beer!

We went to Bratislava, and this is what we had!

9 TRADITIONAL EAST EUROPEAN THINGS TO EAT IN SLOVAKIA!

9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!
9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!

We went to this really neat place called the Slovak Pub.

At the Slovak Pub in Bratislava - 9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!
At the Slovak Pub in Bratislava – 9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!

From the outside it looks really touristy but loads of people inside were also Slovak or Czech, so feel free to go there. They also had heavily discounted prices for students and the local population!

  • We had the national dish of Slovakia called Bryndzové Halušky

Bryndzové Halušky is a type of local potato dumplings (similar to gnocchi), mixed with traditional bryndza sheep cheese, and grated smoked sheep cheese, sprinkled on top with bacon pieces.

The national dish of Slovakia is called Bryndzové Halušky.
The national dish of Slovakia is called Bryndzové Halušky.

It’s a bit gooey and looks like porridge. I looove porridge but I didn’t like this dish, although “The Tall Young Gentleman” did.

He even had my portion, so that’s alright!

Cost: €4.50

  • We also had the Vychodniarsky Rezen
The Vychodniarsky Rezen is an Eastern Slovak schnitzel!
The Vychodniarsky Rezen is an Eastern Slovak schnitzel!

The Vychodniarsky Rezen which is an Eastern Slovak schnitzel made from chicken breast, green beans, ham, and cheese served with potato wedges and a few leaves of rucola!

Cost: €5.80

  • A large glass of Frankovka Modra or red wine went down quite well. I had two!
A large glass of Frankovka Modra or red wine, went down quite well!
A large glass of Frankovka Modra or red wine, went down quite well!

Cost: €1.80

  • Son had a large glass of Kofola
A large glass of Kofola - a popular traditional Slovak cola drink! ©Martin Strachoň
A large glass of Kofola – a popular traditional Slovak cola drink!
©Martin Strachoň

Kofola is a traditional Slovak cola drink and is very popular among the local Slovak or Slovakian people.

Cost: €1.30

The next place we tried was in the Old Town.

We went to a restaurant called Venturska Kubovna.

Even though we're tourists, stop cheating us! Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!
Even though we’re tourists, stop cheating us!
Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!

The food was great, the outdoor location was lovely, the prices were fantastic, but the service was rubbish, and I was not impressed in the least!

They seemed to think that because they get a whole barrage of tourists, who don’t know any better, the staff can blatantly cheat them.

I hate people who cheat.

I consider it akin to stealing.

I hate stealing too.

Srop scamming us in Slovakia!
Stop scamming us in Slovakia!

I’ve experienced this numerous times in both Slovakia AND the Czech Republic where prices are so cheap that it’s easy for the staff to change the order around, add “extra” bits that the customer didn’t request, or just simply, serve the most expensive item on the menu, even though the customer ordered something completely different!

In this case, not only did the restaurant get our order wrong, they even had the cheek to charge the complete bill of their local Slovakian mates, from the next table!

My suspicions were raised when the bill started with the butter that I ordered, but never received…..!

I had promised “The Tall Young Gentleman” a feast, so this is what we had:

  • A “Klubovňa” hamburger
A huge “Klubovňa” hamburger in the Old Town in Bratislava, Slovakia
A huge “Klubovňa” hamburger in the Old Town in Bratislava, Slovakia

A huge “Klubovňa” hamburger is a beef burger with homemade BBQ sauce, bacon, cheddar, served with sour pickles, onions, french fries, and a small pot of baked garlic mayonnaise sauce!

Cost: A hefty €10.99

I’m not into burgers. Or beef for that matter!

I prefer lamb.

I know!

Right!

Anyway, I wasn’t very hungry so I had:

  • A Gril. bravcova klobasa
The bravcova klobasa - a Slovakian grilled pork sausage served with mustard, horseradish and a pepper!
The bravcova klobasa – a Slovakian grilled pork sausage served with mustard, horseradish and a pepper!

The Gril. bravcova klobasa is a Slovakian grilled pork sausage served with a small bowl of mustard, a small bowl of spicy horseradish sauce, a small basket of bread, with a spicy hot pepper stuck on top of the sausage!

I was so impressed with the sausage that here is a closer look!

The bravcova klobasa - a most delicious Slovakian spicy grilled pork sausage!
The bravcova klobasa – a most delicious Slovakian spicy grilled pork sausage!

Cost: €5.99

After that, we decided to have dessert.

  • We had a Smotanova torta jahodova
A smotanova torta jahodova sponge biscuit cake filled with cream, vanilla & a strawberry purée topping, covered in kiwi!
A smotanova torta jahodova sponge biscuit cake filled with cream, vanilla & a strawberry purée topping, covered in kiwi!

A smotanova torta jahodova is a sponge biscuit cake filled with cream, vanilla, a strawberry purée topping, vanilla, and served with kiwi fruit and castor sugar!

It was quite delicious!

Cost: €2.99

  • We washed it all down with a huge glass of Zlanty bazant tank beer and Kofola – the traditional Slovak cola drink!
All washed down with a huge glass of Slovak beer and Kofola!
All washed down with a huge glass of Slovak beer and Kofola!

Cost for the beer: €2.78

Cost for the Kofola: €1.69

On our last night we went to a local restaurant just one (1) minute away from our hostel.

The restaurant was called Reštaurácia Štefánka.

Reštaurácia Štefánka in Bratislava, Slovakia
Reštaurácia Štefánka in Bratislava, Slovakia

The only person who spoke English was a teenage boy, but the food and service was so top-notch that if I ever went back to Bratislava, I might actually stay there instead!

I liked what I saw.

It’s a bit old school reminding me of the Hotel Neptun Castle on the Polish Baltic Sea, but the restaurant also has a hotel that was opened in 1904, is authentic, local, historical, and a family business.

So why not?

They also had proper Slovak or Slovakian prices so we had the set menu, as the menu was in Slovak and we didn’t really know what we were going to get lol!

  • Our first course was a dish of Slovak or Slovakian pierogi dumplings and Bryndzové Halušky.
A dish of Slovak or Slovakian pierogi dumplings and Bryndzové Halušky.
A dish of Slovak or Slovakian pierogi dumplings and Bryndzové Halušky.

I love pierogi of course, so that was a no-brainer, but I only nibbled at the Bryndzové Halušky, as I didn’t like it!

I discreetly swopped my half-full dish with my son’s empty one, as the hotel owner was hovering, proud of her food.

  • The second course for “The Tall Young Gentleman” was Viennese veal cutlet or Wiener Schnitzel.
Viennese veal cutlet or Wiener Schnitzel
Viennese veal cutlet or Wiener Schnitzel

Oh yeah!

Yum!

Viennese veal cutlet or Wiener Schnitzel is very thin, breaded and pan-fried cutlet made from veal slices, butterfly cut, lightly pounded flat, and rolled in flour, whipped eggs, and bread crumbs.

Phew!

It’s the national dish of Austria and due to the regional and historical closeness, found it’s way to Slovakia.

It was served with slices of lemon, and a side salad of tomatoes, lettuce, and spring onions.

The schnitzel was so huge that even “The Tall Young Gentleman” couldn’t manage it!

  • My second course was grilled salmon with green beans served with slices of lemon, a side salad, and a small plate of potato wedges! 
Grilled salmon with green beans, lemon slices, and a side salad.
Grilled salmon with green beans, lemon slices, and a side salad.

Here’s another look at the whole picture. Including the wedges!

Grilled salmon with green beans, lemon slices, a side salad. Including the potato wedges!
Grilled salmon with green beans, lemon slices, a side salad. Including the potato wedges!
  • For dessert, we had a lovely scoop of ice-cream, melon chunks, and grapes.
A lovely scoop of ice-cream, melon chunks, and grapes.
A lovely scoop of ice-cream, melon chunks, and grapes.

What a delight!

Cost for all three (3) servings: A marvellous €8.99

Cost for a glass of wine: €1.50

Cost for a glass of Kofola: €1.50

I don’t think you could do any better. And on a Sunday night too!

That’s it for now.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing about art and films in Berlin, travels to the German Baltic Sea, as well as a comprehensive post on how to use the train in Europe!

In October, I’ll be travelling to the TBEX ASIA travel conference in the Philippines, and revealing the extra Chinese-speaking country. It’s a new one!

In November, I’ll be travelling to Austria.

Yippee!

9 TRADITIONAL EAST EUROPEAN THINGS TO EAT IN SLOVAKIA!

9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!
9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions and the tasty sausage, cheese and ice-cream that we licked our chops for, are my very own!

I’ll be at the official photocall for THE ONE Grand Show before the World Premiere at the Friedrichstadt-Palast on October 6th. With more than 100 artists on the world’s biggest theatre stage, a budget of over €11 million, and extravagant costumes designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, you know it’s going to be epic!

I’ll be attending a special By Invitation Only Berlin – Alternative Fashion Week (BAFW) press evening on September 28th.

I’ll also be going to the fashion shows at Berlin Alternative Fashion Week from September 28th – October 1st.

Save the Date!

September is going to be Wow!

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & Facebook!

If you’re not in Berlin in September, I can’t image where else you would be!

Watch this space!

9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!
9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!

Have you ever had traditional East European food? Can you think of other Slovak or Slovakian food? Can you guess the Chinese-speaking country that I’ll be going to? Have your say!

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com