Thursday, March 14, 2013

#scintilla13 ~ Czech Republic/Slovakia

Eight years ago a group of North Americans invaded the Czech Republic and Slovakia for four days. A good friend from veterinary school who now lives and works in Canada was getting married to his Slovakian sweetheart. So a small group of both Canadian and American friends spent a long weekend in celebration. As a result of this whirlwind trip I have come up with a Slovakian wedding celebration survival checklist.

Step one: When you check into your hotel in early afternoon, rest and drink a ton of water. This will help with jet lag and prepare you for an intense drinking experience.

Step two: When your Canadian friend offers you red bull and vodka while resting at the hotel, simply decline. Firstly, it's gross, and secondly, refer to step one.

Step three: Use the principle 'when in Rome'. Try the local fare! But also, when as a large group at dinner the first night and you see a friend paying zero attention to anything but the conversation he is in, just watch. You might just see him down a glass of absinthe like a shot, not knowing what it is. Then you will see him virtually explode.

Step four: On your day sight seeing (after 3 hours sleep) sing with the locals, even if you don't know the language, and carry water. Inevitably it will be 90 degrees on a fall day when you are hoofing it.

Step five: Once you settle into the new hotel after a picturesque train ride to Slovakia, walk the town and breathe in the history around you.

Step six: When having supper at the brides families vineyard, prepare for a not so slow, steady infusion. Shots of plum brandy (slivovice) await upon arrival, followed by fantastic food, dancing, and a trip to not only the hosts wine cellar, but to the neighbors as well for a tasting.

Step seven: The wedding celebration lasts minimally 18 hours, so be thoughtful about footwear. The day will begin with photos and a procession through town.

Step eight: It is somewhat ok to be a 'rude American' at the reception, when after a respectable amount of time with the folk band, the friends of the groom, begin to DJ with their iPods.

Step nine: While stepping out for air in the evening, invite the random passerby into the reception for a few minutes. In a small Slovak town, they likely know the family and will in turn invite you across the street to their party for a drink.

Step ten: Carpe Diem! Participate in the culture fully and enjoy the experience. What an amazing trip with a special group of people!

This post is part of the Scintilla project.  Tell the story about something interesting (anything!) that happened to you, but tell it in the form of an instruction manual (Step 1, Step 2, Step 3….)
The Scintilla Project


  1. What a fantastic experience! I loved your telling and the photos. My two sons got to go to Prague a few years ago and I've been longing to go for years. Maybe one day...and I'll remember your advice!

  2. Sounds fantastic and a memory that you probably hold dear to your heart. I'm sure your friend really appreciated it! So they do the chair thing just like in a Jewish wedding. Cool!



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