First day in Snina, Slovakia & NP Poloniny experience

Hello everyone!

Today is the first day of the last project meeting of this year’s Erasmus+ programme, taking place in the easternmost town in Slovakia, Snina – my hometown. I’m hosting a Cypriot girl here and I’m really thrilled, way more than before Thessaloniki where I was being hosted! This Slovak region is quite interesting, we’ve got a lot to offer here, I’m looking forward to show her everything what we got!

First of all, introduction. Cyprus arrived on Sunday around 9pm, I picked my guest up, accommodated her and we went to sleep. Now about the next day, because that’s what’s interesting about this article! Firstly we listened to a welcome speech by the headmistress of my grammar school, then everyone introduced themselves, some icebreaking activities took place, and finally, first two workshops began.

The first one was about biology, we analyzed some preparations and even prepared our own native preparations.

Then we moved to chemistry lab where we prepared three experiments. I can’t really desribe you the tenet because I’m not good at chemistry at all, but maybe you’ll get something from the photos…? Anyway, later on we moved further to the local manor house, where the foreigners were officially welcomed in the town by the mayor. And finally, the interesting part of the day.

It was about 4pm when we left the manor house. We went home, however, I did a little by-pass so I was sure she wouldn’t miss anything interesting in this town. Later on we changed, got in our off-road car and the road trip of the lifetime could begin.

First stop – Gazdoráň

Gazdoráň is a natural reserve in national park Poloniny in Eastern Slovakia. It’s basically a hill situated over the largest water reservoir with drinkable water in the entire Slovakia. View from this place is unbelievable, just look at this! Weather wasn’t the best, unfortunately, but we enjoyed this sunset scenery anyways.

Second stop – Mini wooden churches

This park of miniatures of wooden churches is located in Ulič and is free of charge. You can find there all of the wooden churches that used to be scattered around Eastern Slovakia back then. Some of them are still standing at their original places, some of them were moved into open-air museums and some of them were even destroyed.

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Third stop – Workroom with cars

Let me explain, because the title probably didn’t tell you anything in particular. We were already in Ulič, when my dad proposed us this place. He told us that a friend of his who lives in Ulič likes to play with cars. I mean it literally. He basically builds them from nothing. And what’s even more interesting? They all have special features. One is completely wooden, another one doesn’t use engine but pedals, another one has only three wheels. He also creates wooden miniatures of famous cars. Great, right? I loved it.

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Fourth stop – Ukraine

Since my Cypriot guest is in fact Ukrainian, we brought her to Ukraine. I mean, there’s not an official transit here, but since we had this off-road car, we climbed up to the mountains to the point from which we had a great view over one tiny Ukrainian village.

Fifth stop – Ruský Potok

First of all we visited the lodge that we own here. It’s a cute little log cabin in the woods. Also, in this village stands real wooden church, still in great condition. Unfortunately, it was too dark already to get a good photo. We wanted to see it from the inside as well (it’s free of charge), however, the man who owns the keys was already asleep. Nice. Nevermind.

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Afterwards we went home where we had dumplings (pirohy) with curd cheese (tvaroh) and potatoes. Yum!

Now I want to suggest you two movies about this region that I also suggested to the girl. First one is called Wolf Mountains (Vlčie hory) and it’s basically a 50 minutes long documentary about NP Poloniny. It explains you everything about this park and shows you numerous amazing shots. The second one is called The Line (Čiara) and this is by far one of my most favourite movies ever. Let me explain why. For people who haven’t experienced it it’s just another action movie, however, for us it’s a very open topic because it’s based on reality and what was for real happening here, at the Slovak-Ukrainian border a couple of years ago. It’s about a cruel reality of traffickers, smugglers, dealing and mafia. It’s very intriguing, I definitely recommend it to anyone who’s into criminal thrillers, or those who just want to know more about this corner of the world. You may say it’s exaggerating….it is not. It really used to be like that. The only problem about this movie is the language and accent. In Eastern Slovakia, people have this specific accent and dialect. In the village where this movie was supposed to take place, there’s even an entirely different language. And the actors in the movie had strong Western accent. They could have worked on it, it didn’t look real for us in this way because of that. But people outside Eastern Slovakia won’t even notice it. Otherwise it’s a very good movie, I definitely recommend it to you. Original version is in Slovak/Ruthenian/Ukrainian, but one can find it with English subtitles anywhere. Enjoy!

That was it for the first day of this exchange, I’ll keep you updated with everything what happens later. We’re gonna visit some nice places around Eastern Slovakia also in the next couple of days, I’m looking forward! And now all that is left is just hope for a good weather.

Have a great day!

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