We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Hunting dragons in Bratislava

Continuing my tales of Bratislava

One of the things I very much enjoyed was the food. Although a short visit of only a few days does not give my views much authority, I have to say that both the home cooked meals and restaurant victuals were really rather good. One restaurant in particular was so good that I would have to say it would make my top ten must-eat-at places anywhere I have been… and all modesty aside I am extremely well travelled. This splendid place is called Café Zichy (formerly known by the name ‘Harmonia’). The venison in plum sauce with puréed chestnut was sublime. I was also introduced to the splendours of Demänovka, the excellent local firewater. The service at the Zichy was informative and agreeable without being intrusive: the place is a mandatory visit when in Bratislava!

Another thing that caught my eye…

Art for art's sake

…is that if you pay attention, you can find interesting and idiosyncratic art all over the place. Some of it very modern and some of it very old indeed…

Seriously gothic

But as I have mentioned before, Bratislava is filled with the sort of distractions that can make a person miss such details…

Another fine Bratislava babe

During my meandering around the cobbled streets, I encountered the first dragon I saw in Bratislava: a rather fine golden dragon which happens to be the mark of a pharmacy…

A golden dragon and a Bratislava babe who is only occasionally a dragon

…and although I did not know it yet, it was the first indication I was about to fall madly in love, but more about that later

Whenever I visit a new city, I always pay attention to the graffiti and political posters as I always believe it is worth seeing what ‘the others’ are saying. When I was passing though Vienna airport a few days earlier the only graffiti I saw was ‘EU NEIN’ engraved on the flusher in the men’s room…

One finds wisdom in the strangest places

Compared to Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina (the other part of the Slavic world in which I have considerable experience), Bratislava has much less of a problem with graffiti or flyposting. It was mildy interesting therefore that in Slovakia the only political posters I saw were for a rather incoherent group of ‘anarchists’ and a nameless call (in English) to ‘smash the reds’…

I entirely agree!

Anarchist eh?

Warning sign number one… these ‘anarchists’ are waving their flags on May Day.

There may have been other political posters but the distractions on the streets of Bratislava are many and varied…

Yet more of Bratislava's finest product

I saw an interesting sign of the transformations going on in Slovakia when I visited a carpet warehouse with my hostess, the mother of my travelling companion. The warehouse was until quite recently the Factory of MDZ (Medzinarodny Den Zien, or International Women’s Day)… an old style communist industrial collective. I was much amused to see that under its new capitalist management, it was advertising Astroturf, a quintessentially American product.

The rout of communism writ small

During our meanderings, we wandered past a rather typical gated Austro-Hungarian era courtyard and noticed a small sign directing us to something called ‘Gallery F7′. Being curious by nature, we went in and found at the far end, an exhibition of the work of an artist called Jozef Borovka… and that is where I well and truly fell in love.

Borovka’s work was just fantastic. He is an extremely talented Slovak artist working in wood, stone, oil and pen and I would have happily walked off with almost every item that was on exhibit. As it happened, that day was the last day of the show and so we contacted the artist and arranged to purchase several of his works. The first we acquired was a superb and whimsical bison made of 5 kg (11 lbs) of stone with antlers made from a coat hook, the second was a pen and ink drawing of a rural house in the Slovak countryside, the third was a female torso in mahogany on a large brass base…

Whimsical and wonderful... and bloody heavy

…and the last piece was a table… but, oh, what a table! This was the true object of my undying affections: the finest Dragon in Bratislava.

However seeing as we were flying on Air Berlin, which is El Cheapo No Frills Cattle Class Airlines personified, actually getting a honking great cherry wood, mahogany, glass and brass table that was very fragile back to London was rather a major problem. We explored shipping it back via DHL but that proved to be prohibitive on the grounds of price, so we retired to the many and wonderful cafés of Bratislava to ponder what to do and admire the passing parade…

Bratislava means babes and cafés

More to follow…

9 comments to Hunting dragons in Bratislava

  • I expect that they would have confiscated that thing if you had tried to carry it as hand luggage, too. I am sure that you could hijack the plane with it, at least in the fevered imaginations of airport guards.

  • Dale Amon

    Yes, there is no telling what EVIL people might get up to with UNREGULATED TABLES.

  • Perry,

    Before the feminazis strike I’d just like to get in a respectably political defence for you regarding all these sexist photographs of nubile Slovak girls.

    The display of feminine beauty in that part of the world is an artifact of political resistance of some thirty-five years standing and a symbol of liberty. During the Prague Spring young ladies in short skirts set out to torment the gob-smacked invading Russians. The latter had seen nothing like it but, of course, found every love object achingly unavailable. When I was in he north of the country in 1991 the dress sense was more or less the same, although the mini skirt had disappeaed in toto from the west. I cannot comment on the availability of the girls, even though I am not a Russian soldier.

    It was the call of freedom, Perry, that inspired you to record this charming local custom, and let no one accuse you otherwise.

  • Johnathan

    Perry, nice pics. I take it you have their phone numbers.

  • “…and although I did not know it yet, it was the first indication I was about to fall madly in love, but more about that later”

    So, came anything of it (and I hope it did)? Inquiring minds want to know.

    “I cannot comment on the availability of the girls, even though I am not a Russian soldier”.

    They are much more partial to my Teutonic charms than to Russian ones. :)

  • serkan

    very beatiful.

  • Turk

    …you portray a wonderful picture of Bratislava and it’s attributes…let me asure adventurers the art and the beauty continues in that wonderful town….

  • Edweirdo

    I have Slovak ancestry and always wanted to travel there and sort of reconnect with my Slavic brethren. Do they fist bump there? I hope the women still protest that way if i ever visit.