07 April 2009


So often, visitors to this area become familiar with 'the old country' -- which doesn't often look like that anymore -- through museums known as skansens, or open-air museums.  But there is another way -- through village preserves.  I like this because it encourages the preservation of traditional communities and architecture but also encourages development and continuation of those communities in real-time.  We don't exist in a vacuum.  One example of such a village preserve is Vlkolínec, near Ružomberok.

Here's a view of the village looking towards the south -- behind me is a beautiful mountain, 
but there was still snow visible in the distance in the direction of the Low Tatras:
View Vlkolínec in a larger map

There were cute wood carvings all over the place.

View of some of the houses -- typically, very close together with long, 
narrow plots going back from the street.
So the cool thing is that people actually live in this village.  On the other hand, a potential drawback if you live there is that there are tourists peeping into your windows because they're treating the village as a museum.  We were there the week before the season officially started, and in the afternoon, so there weren't many other people around, but I think it may get a bit crazy during the summer.  On the other hand, it really contributes positively to the region's tourism, so everything's give and take.

While we were there, we also collected some flowers to be used for tea -- not sure what exactly they were, but it's one of the things I love about Slovakia -- so many people know where to go and what to pick at certain times of the year to make different teas, syrups, and other types of preserves.  It's one of those things I think that you kind of have to be raised with to learn and make it part of the normal, natural rhythms of life.

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