Friday, April 17, 2009

Easter in Bratislava

It's been a short work week! Easter is a four-day holiday here, and the weather this past weekend couldn't have been nicer. Heather and I took full advantage. We played tourist on Saturday, roaming Bratislava's Easter Market and other parts of downtown we'd only walked past.

Above, I am wielding a souvenir branch for whipping. On Easter Monday in Slovakia, it is tradition for the boys (and drunk men, we hear) to whip their female friends and dump water over their heads. In return for this act that supposedly "makes them beautiful," the girls give them money and candy! Can you believe it? We actually didn't, really, until we saw every third man (big and small) on the street with a branch and a wary look in his eye.

We finally visited nearby Devin Castle, an old castle mostly in ruins. There wasn't a cloud in the sky as we climbed all over the ancient frameworks--very un-American. After anticipating it for months, we finally saw Slumdog Millionare (released overseas after its Oscar win) and the first half of the movie was in an Indian language with Slovak subtitles. Oops. We didn't understand much of this part, naturally, so we'll be re-watching when we get the chance.

Devin Castle's watchtowers on the Danube. Jamin, this picture is for you! :-)

Monday, we spent the day picnicking at the park with friends from church up in the hills outside the city. (Below: Ivetka, our pastor's wife, and her son, David; Peter and Sylvia, our friends from church.) Now, we're off to visit Munich with our colleague, Frank, for a nice weekend roadtrip to his hometown.