Cornwall, England

Cornwall is blessed with scenic hills and impossibly narrow and intimate country lanes.  These lanes remind me of a battle between man who, it seems, is barely capable of gouging out winding narrow swaths then hastily slapping asphalt on top, and nature who patiently, inexorably, encroaches back upon its rightful territory daily reclaiming inches  Two average passenger sedans could absolutely not fit side by side along the majority of these of non-primary roads.  And it's not just that the roads are narrow, rather that the also earth rises up on either side at 4, 5 and even 6+ feet high.  It's as though the road is the cavity produced from a giant round ice cream scoop in search of a chocolate and dark green dessert. 

We took a disproportionate amount of photos while driving over these roads simply because neither Erin nor I had ever seen anything like this.  Consider not just the roads and hedgerows but also the trees.  They were as in a Timothy Burton fairy tale, reaching up, over and connecting with the other side forming a lattice that covered maybe 50 car lengths.  We were so taken by it all that we recorded a video in which we listened to cheerful classical music on the radio while passing under the tree tunnel.  The light from above coruscated between the trellis of branches in a hypnotic way that would, if you're not careful, lull you right to sleep.  Meanwhile, the poor kids in the back are car sick something fierce.
Here's a link of some other natural tree tunnels of note.

Looe Bay town (pronounced "loo"), what a pleasant surprise!  All that's lacking in this quaint town is a sense of the exotic brought about by a foreign language or signage that you cannot read.  Short of that, it's a very quaint town.  It seems that a number of the towns on this part of the coast are very similar:  formed either by river outlets or ocean inlets, each is isolated from the next almost like folds in a cupcake wrapper.  Looe is jammed into a space that was never meant for so many people, for delivery trucks, for families with blocky minivans (oops! That's us) yet with roads cordoned off to encourage foot traffic.  I recall towns like this in the Amalfi Coast in Italy. (Granted those towns do have more panache given their flamboyant painted buildings and rocky perched outcroppings overlooking cliffs but hey Cornwall, I'm gonna upgrade you with your ISDA today.

For this trip we officially instituted the "Family Vacation, One Ice Cream Per Person Per Day" policy.  Strictly enforced!  It wasn't rich gelato a la Amalfi, but it sure was tasty ice cream offering a good number of flavor choices (10+ at most places) all made from "Cornwall and Devon Dairy".  Apparently Cornwall and Devon claim boasting rights about the quality of their dairy.  Well of course!:  picture these bucolic, verdant hillsides, home to sublimely happy cows who are downright giddy to give up their rich milk for fame.  The weather was, by and large, pretty darn warm in May, so the ice creams were a hit.

The beaches in Cornwall were sandy and smooth.  No rocks.  Quite nice.  The water could have been a little warmer, but all would agree that we were very happy at the beaches and could splash around in the sea (well, all except for Charlie... he and the big scary sea are definitely not friends yet).

About our lodging.  We stayed in a single-wide in a trailer park for the week.  They call it a Holiday Camper Park--  row after row of single and sometimes double-wides occupy what surely was once one of those verdant hillsides for happy cows (sidebar:  how it the world did they truck these things into the park en masse?  I mean seriously!!!  The roads, I just don't see how it could be done without shutting off entire swaths of county through-fares or taking out countless trees along the way).  There is the distinct possibility that the holiday park could slip into a decidedly white trash feel.  Sorry, I have no better, no more politically correct term for this -- you know, people walking around midday in a bath robe and flip flops carrying charcoal briquettes and cigarette and smoking a poodle.  No, wait.  Make that, carrying charcoal briquettes, a poodle and smoking a cigarette.  Ahem.  There were a few trailer highlights, but by and large the place was respectable.  Maybe the Europeans/English aren't edjumacated on the finer art of deep, unrepentant, trailer park trash-ness.  For historical reasons they lack the necessary implements of Miller Lite, hot rods, guns and outdoor gym sets (it's too wet here for a bench press to sit out on the front lawn of course).  We can attest, however, that the entertainment / bingo hall is not a place in which you'd want to spend too much time.

Perhaps related to that last point:  what grandiose and pervasive tattoos on the men at the caravan camp!  I'm not talking the occasional snake or eagle on the bicep, I'm talking the Battle of Britain and Genghis Khan on your back, thighs, neck, buttock and abdomen.  There is some serious painting going on here.  Here's the funny part though:  it took me a while to realize that it was so common.  The penny dropped the second afternoon when we finally made it over to the indoor pool facility.  I realized that I was the only (this is no exaggeration) male above 18 years of age who wasn't painted to the teeth.  I thought to myself, "ah, we must be near a military base or something" or "maybe there's a motorcycle convoy in town."  Nothing of the sort.  Then you realize that, for a trailer/camper park, it sure has a lot of Mercedes and BMWs... Gosh, how does one make sense from all these conflicting signals!  I wish we had snapped a few photos to backup my hyperbolic claims.  Suffice to say, you'll see some great tats if you ever visit.

The relative isolation of Cornwall and Devon is my final topic to remark upon before telling you about Eden.  We decided to make the trip in a car because we didn't think that we could go everywhere we wanted on foot or by train.  It turns out that, for the most part, the trains even run to these small towns!  I'm really impressed how the English were able to build these rail lines.  Why didn't they just say "ah, this is too expensive, too hard to build here, not enough rail traffic, we'll just lay down a road"? (see aforementioned ice cream scoop analogy.)  But if you look at the map, you can see that they have woven rail lines all throughout Cornwall and Devon, the nooks and crannies too.  Perhaps it had something to do with the strong mining industry that used to define the region during the industrial revolution period and the boating/transport docks.

We visited something called the Eden Project.  We were very happy to have visited this place (read:  admission fees are worth it.  The kids looooved it).  The Eden Project is essentially a very large clay mining pit reclamation project.  They've brought in vegetation of many types to carpet what surely would have been a seriously ugly eyesore 10 years ago (though there are still plenty of such pits right around the corner that yet have to be reclaimed in any way; a few of which are even active). And at the base of this pit are giant "biomes" in which there are self-contained tropical environments.  We would recommend the Eden Project for any visitors of the area, most especially with children, but certifiably enjoyable without children too.  We had the good fortune to be there on a day in which the BBC was filming a children's science show.  The show organizers thought that it would be a good idea to try for a Guinness World Record - "most people dressed up as fruit in one place".  Evie, Lucy and I were pineapples and Erin, Ellie and Charlie were strawberries.  Our smiling mugs were indeed filmed but it doesn't look like we made it onto the show (called Blue Peter).  If you look reeeeal hard on YouTube during the show's intro, you can see us for all of 3 seconds.

So we have a Guinness World Record to show for the day.  How 'bout them apples!


3256 days

The number of days since our marriage that has taken my wife to cook chicken fried steak for dinner.  Now this may sound like a sexist comment, but... woe unto you, chicken fried steak lovers, hungry husbands, Texans.  
Forsooth!  For ye goeth withouteth chicken fried steak for such an interminable age and gird your loins surely ye willest.

Anyway, my gal was born in Texas, Houston no less.  So at the very least I know I have 26 million kindhearted sympathizers out there.  It was a very nice chicken fried steak.  Served with sweet corn and other fixins.  The kids* thought so too.  Thank you dearest.

I feel the need to further explain myself, at the risk of spoiling the axiomatic truth that simply is the chicken fried steak; to all my UK friends, you see, chicken fried steak is high upon that pantheon of American comestibles which is both essential, adored, unhealthy and, by golly, pleasemayihaveanother!  It is in rare company with the green chili pork and black bean burrito, the New York style pizza (2 slices please), the plump and thick eggs benedict, and the fried oyster po-boy.  It is, quite simply, a cardinal offense to visit the US, or at least the South, and not have tried one.  You Germans and wiener schnitzel eaters out there, you know what I'm talking about.  We may have grown quite fond of our tea, biscuits, steak and ale pies (and Real Ale, for that matter), porridge and Marmite, but such fundamental truths as chicken fried steak are immutable.

* Charlie gets a mulligan.  He fell asleep at the dinner table after too much galumphing around today in the sunshine and going without a nap.  This saps his dinner appetite to the point of even skipping desert.  Another time son.  Hopefully soon.  And with biscuits.  And gravy.


Aqueous delights

This past weekend we had a relaxing couple of days of gardening, block-partying while watching the famous wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, a guitar/djembe/shaker/berimbau jam with some neighbor friends (maybe it was the few beers I had, but I thought we sounded downright decent at points), various not-so-busy trips to the overcrowded grocery store, family trips to nearby parks, and a nice seafood lunch.

For the seafood lunch we prepared fish stew that came in a glass jar with French writing. Oh la la! It was brown, expensive and, well, fishy smelling. It resembled the same base used in gumbo. In it we dunked slices of toasted french bread that had any of rouille, butter, real crab meat, horseradish, or tomatoes along with fresh parsley and mature cheddar cheese. We made each slice slightly different in a veiled attempt at keeping the girls interested while they helped prepare the the meal. We sprinkled a little extra shredded cheese on top of the soup and dug in...

As for side dish, we ate whelks - okay, I ate whelks, Lucy and Ellie just admired the pretty spiral shells and Erin gave me a foreboding "don't you insist on making me try that suspicious smelling slightly slimy grey mollusk buster". They were served with real lemon juice and parsley. They were a bit chewy and had a slight smoky flavor. I later learned ("learnt" here in the UK) that you avoid the whelk's digestive tract because it contains toxins. The key word here is "later" as the fishmonger mentioned no such thing when I bought them; I happily slopped the whelks down, goo and all. For the record, even if you had told me in advance "don't eat the digestive tract!" I may still have managed to do so, for much like an oyster, you really can't tell what one fleshy blob is from another. Avoid that little black vein? Pass on that grey mass over there? Skip the pale clumpy stuff in the middle? This must be how early humans learned what they could and couldn't eat. "Ops, Urk just dropped dead after eating whizzle-zogs. That must be in the not-a-food group of organic substances."

So aside from being thankful for a successful gastronomic adventure (yours truly shall be one human that continues to pass on his genes thankyouverymuch. No yacking or near death experiences were to be had.), they weren't too bad and I'm glad we tried them. Or maybe I should say "we're glad I tried them".

To top off the meal we had fresh picked spinach from the local Pick Your Own gardens, cherry tomatoes and some cold white wine. Ribena juice for the girls.

Tomorrow we eat seaweed salad. Challenge of the day to ponder: how to trick, ahem, "encourage" a 3 and 5 year old to eat super salty, greener-than-anything-edible-you've-ever-seen seaweed. I plan to rinse the seaweed off to reduce the saltiness, go with a little spring onion, then add some parsley, tomato, lemon juice and a touch of black pepper. Maybe we'll ease into it with some MSG-fortified (mmm, healthy!) fried Japanese seaweed snacks.

The theme here: seafood and the Brittany Coast. We really liked that area in the brief time we were there last April (If you're paying attention: yep that was precisely when Eyjafjallajökull blew it's ashy lid. Ugh.), only passing through from Paris en route to the British shore. That journey conjures up some images of WWII that I've been researching (That is, the Brittany Coast itself reminded me, not our tumultuous journey together. It turns out that we as a family are pretty darn good travelers and rarely have tumultuous moments. I'll revisit this theme if/when I blog about our trip to Scotland.), specifically The Miracle of Dunkirk, when some 30,000 British troops were evacuated from the shores of France by ordinary British civilian pleasure boats. This was in 1940 when the Blitzkrieg was making quick work of France.

Alas one final fishy story though before we part ways. I also recently tried another apparently typical London dish: jellied eels.

Again, I'm including these qualifiers in the description because "typical" is what it says on the top of the plastic container; and "apparent" because I've certainly never heard my cockney colleague at work ever fondly sing the praises of those "right tasty jellied eels gov'na!". No sir. By the way, I should mention that we had a good friend in town all the way from Beijing. What a trip! Fortunately she had a good excuse not to be subjected to my latest foray into aqueous delights as she's well into her first pregnancy (congrats and best wishes Cathleen!). Too bad because otherwise I would have been able to compare notes with a willing someone; certainly no one else in our house volunteered to swallow these chilled, jellied, bony specimens. I can at least say that they are relatively... healthy. Anyway, behold some interesting history and descriptive pictures about jellied eels.


A perfect London fog

Today I was treated to a perfect London fog. Finally, after all my adolescent years, after retiring countless coats and sweaters with that semi-famous label*, after witnessing numerous episodes of very-bad-faux-fog courtesy of my childhood TV fav Doctor Who, after taking the Tube to work for the first year and a half in London (and thus being underground for most of my commute), it happened: perfect London fog. And I was there to witness it in style.

In a previous post I mentioned that I had acquired a proud new piece of British engineering: the Brompton folding bicycle. Heretofore I haven't gone into any detail about what a joy that bike has been. Initially I bought it simply to eliminate the tail ends of my workday commute: inbound I would walk 15 minutes from home to the Woking train station, take the overland train ~30 minutes into Waterloo station, then take the Bakerloo line to District line underground trains (subways/tube) to Victoria where I'd walk the last 5 minutes to the office. That tube portion was a killer, taking as long as the prior two legs combined; it was hot, loud, packed, and at a not-insignificant yearly transport cost.

The Brompton paid for itself instantly because within a month I had cancelled the tube portion of my yearly transport pass. That portion cost about the same as a new Brompton. And the additional benefits were much greater:
doing my part to avoid fossil fuels, skipping the 15 minute walk, a bit of exercise to get me going in the morning (round trip 6 miles/day total), and an increased mobility to wander through the city. It was this last one that has since proved to be a gem - I can meander along the Thames or within Westminster or in Belgravia on the way to work, all the while looking ahead, up, and around at new buildings. In any case, my basic city commute is now quite satisfactory indeed (that's British English for "not too bad"): after arriving at Waterloo station I head directly west over the Westminster bridge where I enjoy a great view of the Thames, Parliament, Big Ben, Charing Cross, Westminster Abbey, Scotland Yard, Westminster Cathedral, finally ending up near Victoria station. Fortunately, Westminster bridge is wide and clear so you can get a relatively unobstructed view from it's slightly elevated arc (all this probably by design).

It was crossing over this bridge today that I looked left and into the fog covering the Thames. I had seen foggy days before to be sure, but this particular morning was just perfect. Parliament (actually called the Palace of Westminster) was engulfed in a whispy white fog that stretched across the river and further upstream.
I almost hate to spoil the painting of a poignant picture with words, but well, I've probably yammered on enough already. So without further adieu, I present to you a very comparable picture to what I saw that morning. This picture was not taken from my camera and I don't know it's provenance, so to whomever took and published it on the internet, "thank you".

* Did you know that the London Fog clothier known to many Americans is, after all, an American company based in Baltimore? How strange! Witness:


Another training day... but first some travel to whet yer appetite

First I have to acknowledge these elusive, and nearly ridiculous by now, 3rd and 4th "update from England" posts that have yet to be published. Elusive because, well, I've been making allusion to them for nigh on a year+ now. Ridiculous because I somehow still believe that someone out there, somewhere, gives a holy hootenanny. (<- that last one for my friends in Argentina who seem to derive some enjoyment from uncommon American English colloquialisms. Espero che disfruten el post!)

I remain eternally optimistic. I have plenty of material. Plenty of material.

One way to shake myself out of this lackadaisical conundrum is to simply list out all of the places we've traveled to here in the UK. In this way, perhaps, one or another locale piques your interest and you will come a'running back for more -- or you may feel the urge to post a comment asking whether the settlement in Bath was in fact occupied by those industrious Romans even earlier than 1AD. Why dost think I should possess of such chrestomathy?

Thus, here is the geographically organized list of our Great Britain family travel days out. Thereafter I may actually get around to telling you about this Big Training Day on my road to the London Marathon.


(This reads a bit like the Shipping Forecast, doesn't it? Enjoy the meditative rhythm.)

Hayfield (hello relatives!)
Edingburgh (Scotland)
    Perth (Scotland)
      Pitlochry (Scotland)
     Inverness (Scotland)
   Warwick (impressive castle grounds)

Every castle, Historical Trust site and museum in Surrey county (Okay, that is not true. But you might be amazed at the sheer number of such destinations in this one county alone. We aim to visit a significant portion however.)

So you can see, there is a fair helping of pent up travel angst chomping at the proverbial bit.

Now on to more substantive matters: fundraising. That's right, I need your help. And that of your friends too. A couple weeks ago I completed the Brighton Half Marathon (bib 2005) as the first in a number of self-prescribed "official" runs leading up to the London Marathon. I ran this same course in 2010 and swore that I would never do it again; the rain and wind and cold were so substantial. But weather be damned, I signed up for it again and actually had a great time. I ran with a friend, Shane, with whom I also ran the previous year. I did not fundraise for this run simply because I need to keep focused on my still substantial Children's Trust fundraiser goal. It could also be said that another reason for not fundraising was due to the fact that Shane and I decided to contribute to the local Brighton economy by donating a hefty sum to the oh-so-efficient Ethical Parking Management bureau. Egad.

The course this year was really enjoyable. It snaked up along the coast to the east of Brighton on Marine Drive. Along the way it made a steady incline along the ocean front for about 3 miles until turning back on itself to head back towards Brighton Pier. From there the course continued a further 3 miles west towards the neighboring town of Hove. At all times the sea was either on your right or your left or your right again. Now, provided there is no gale force wind pummelling you like a boxer from the left then the right and then the left again, you're fine. Body blow! Body blow! Otherwise, you would be better equipped for a day of windsurfing than, pfooey, this running business.

In any case, it was a successful day with no injuries and a good dose of Brighton scenery taken in. My next big run is the Reading Half Marathon in a couple of weeks. I look forward to running with some of the team from the Children's Trust. They tell me that a number of us are signed up.

I also hope to have passed the GBP 1000 mark by that date. I'm very grateful to those who have already sponsored me - every amount brings me one step closer to the goal. And I've even received donations from the US. So indeed you can donate in dollars without much hassle. Fantastic.


Training day

Today I took place in a training run with my 2011 London Marathon team representing The Children's Trust. The Children's Trust is a non-profit group that provides care, education, therapy and rehabilitation to children with multiple disabilities, complex health needs and acquired brain injurys. It's main offices are in Tadworth which is about 20 miles due East of Woking, also in Surrey county. Tadworth, apparently, is well-known for being home to The Children's Trust: make a web search for Tadworth and the first result, at the time of this writing, isn't the Tadworth wiki or a real estate site or a tourism page, but rather the Children's Trust web site.

The Trust occupies some 24 acres of land variously interspersed with buildings including rehab centers, medical treatments wards, school/education buildings, lodging and others. They form a circumference around a red brick 17th century mansion that sports a proud front lawn and venerable shady trees. Inside is a grand two story atrium lined with refined (but not ostentatious) wood paneling. The white ceiling is artfully decorated with raised floral patterns. The administrative arm of the Trust is housed there and that is where we, the marathon team, were warmly welcomed to tune of tea, biscuits, fruit, juice and other goodies. We received our jerseys and our fundraising materials and got a bit of history about our role in this year's fundraising. After the run we would have a full tour of the grounds, and maybe I'll come back to that later, but for now, more about the group itself and the jog...

Our training group consisted of about 25 twenty to fifty-somethings. Apparently we represented about half of those who expressed interest in doing today's training run (a 50% success rate is probably not all that bad considering that the signup was a simple tick of a box completed over 2 months ago during the first registration). I recon that the overall team for the Trust numbers around 100 (to be confirmed) -- on this point, too, I may expound and wax lyrical, for the whole deal of awarding a certain number of runner slots to declared charities on particular days by the London Marathon organizers is quite interesting in it's own right. Suffice it to say here that the London Marathon is the premier fundraising event in the UK and is, by some reports, "the largest annual fundraising event on the planet" [source]. Wow. Thus, if we each strive to raise at least £2000 (~$3200) then that nets the Trust with (well, you do the simple math - I'm sure there are many other numbers to add and subtract from this figure, but we'll just use it for illustrative purposes) £200,000. Anyway you slice it, not bad. And not that this post is a pitch, but please do support my fundraising effort if you feel the spirit move you.

Back to our training plan. We were given the option to set off for either a six or twelve mile jog. The route (pronounced in the UK as "root" - yes it's taken me this long to finally remember which variation to use for what expression. For instance, in the UK the only use for that other thing the goes by same spelling is pronounced as "rowt"; as in the person who directs parcels or referring to the electronic thing you connect to your cable modem.) made a full loop, so you could run it either once or twice depending upon your goal. Now, at this point I have to mention that I had bicycled from my home in Woking in the wee hours of the morning over to Tadworth because on a Sunday morning there aren't as many trains running, fewer still that travel between two suburbs equidistant from London city center - that is, one can easily travel, as with a hub and spoke, in and out of London, but between spokes take considerably longer. I don't have a UK drivers license (aka "driver licence") so I reasoned that it would be a great excuse for a "nice tour of Surrey county up close". Indeed the bucolic hills sported many horse stables, hazy glens, and a look at some new town centers I hadn't seen before. I found the route between Leatherhead (What a name! Don't you agree?) and Tadworth to be particularly windy and hilly. So anyway, when I finally arrived to the Trust at 8:26 for the 8:30 jog, I was breathing pretty hard and having second thoughts about the twelve miler.

Never fear! Peer pressure is here! Straightaway we gathered outside in the parking lot where we received the obligatory pep talk. I heard announced: "Everyone who wants to run 12 miles go to this (-->) side of the lot, and everyone who wants to run 6 miles go to that (<--) side". Whoosh. In an instant there were 20 people on "this" side. It's sorted then. I guess I'll have just have a greater opportunity to meet and chat with folks while (whilst) running. We made our way through some adjoining neighborhoods, under a train arch, up a few small hills and then, into the crown jewel of the run, Epsom Downs Racecourse. What a fantastic place to jog/walk/stroll! We galumphed through the moist ground past the grandstands generally making our way around the course. There were plenty of other joggers, walkers, and, oh yes, a few horses calmly chewing their cud. Probably thinking to themselves "Silly humans. Why are they all walking in different directions on our gorgeous course? Don't they know they should be following the white railing all the way around the nice oval?" After Epsom we engaged a fairly long (+1 mile?) and steady hill that would eventually crest and allow us to coast at an even pace back down to the Trust. A right nice route indeed and one that certainly contributed to my fondness for jogging in Surrey.

But back to Epsom Downs for a moment. There are two overriding observations to share about this historic track. First, it's big. Among the biggest at 1.5 miles, or 12 furlongs. Second, it's not ... flat. Huh? Who ever heard of a non flat oval racetrack that wasn't obviously some kind of steeplechase? Indeed this track undulated and banked - and it wasn't even a complete oval but rather, perhaps as a pun only appreciated by those flying overhead, horseshoe shaped. To make mattes worse, both the start and the finish are uphill. Doesn't it make you fatigued just thinking about it? For this reason, I suspected, and my hunch appears to be right, that Epsom Downs is among the tougher courses of this distance anywhere. Finally, I'll note that Epsom is the second race among the British Triple Crown.

At the conclusion of the jog, and after having wound down by chatting with some folks about the Trust and fundraising and "I prefer my glucosamine with a little aloe but only after drinking cherry juice on the morning of a sub 1500 calorie day", I decided it was time to shove off. I stuffed a couple bagels and bananas down my gullet, hopped on my trusty Brompton and made my way back to Woking feeling downright optimistic that the forthcoming marathon would be a memorable and rewarding experience. In the interest of full disclosure, I can't say that I rode all the way back. I picked up a train about halfway back because the weather just wasn't warming up.

Now where to run next...


52 in Slovakia - footnotes about Slovak culture

I've recently come across a blog (actually, I was sought out; I am one of the website administrators for the Colorado Slovaks yahoo group -- not to be mistaken with the official Colorado Slovak Society website) that I'd like to make mention of here. While the topic matter of the blog is not about my family's experiences living near London or observations about England, it is relevant in that it is written from the point of view of an American living abroad. And the location, Slovakia, scores points for me with respect to my own Slovak family heritage.

52 Weeks In Slovakia is by Allan Stevo, a writer from Chicago living in Bratislava. He chronicles traditions taking place in Slovak culture, giving a bit of history, color and commentary to the oft under-appreciated region. Much is said on the topics of Christmas, food, dancing and music, just to name a few. I fancy him an aspiring Bill Bryson-esque character. Below is an excerpt from his "about the blog" page.

But first, let me wish everyone out there, especially family and friends, a very happy and healthy new year. Can you believe it? We're well into a new decade already. I'm happy to be out of the "naughties".

Each time I read an un-insightful and tiring article about Slovakia with dateline Prague or Vienna, or each time I read an article by an overly critical “expert” who was “just passing through,” my desire to put together a weekly column like this was strengthened. In that respect, this website is the realization of a mutli-year dream.

Each week, something fantastic happens with a regularity in Bratislava and in many cases throughout Slovakia. On this website, I will spend 52 weeks highlighting some of those regular traditions that take place in Slovak culture. I will try to avoid the cheap joke – they’re always easy to make, especially after a person has had a bad day in a foreign culture. Instead I will try my best to approach this topic with a desire to understand.

Please make your way through some of the topics that might be interesting to you, and let me know what you think. I welcome you to sign up for the email newsletter on the right to learn more or to visit my own homepage www.allanstevo.com to read more of my writing. ...

Lastly, a few books on the topic of Slovakia that you might enjoy: