I’d never thought about visiting Slovakia before I met Maria in 2016. She’s girl from Bratislava and married a guy from Milan. Actually we met in a cafeteria where I use to come every Wednesday evening. It’s the local place, you won’t find there any tourists. The the girl spoke English so I decided to approach her. What’s more, she had features of a Middle Eastern woman, so I wondered whether the two of us didn’t come from the same country.
My assumptions turned out completely wrong–Maria was originally from Slovakia, but nevertheless we had coffee together and became friends. She didn’t know any people in the city except of her husband’s family, and often had nothing to do in the evening. We started meeting each other every Wednesday, drinking coffee and chatting.
Later in the summer she told me she was going back to Slovakia, to visit her family. She invited me to join her for a week. Free transport (she went by car) and accommodation–that’s the kind of an offer I always struggle to reject. So we went to Bratislava where we spent two days before heading for a folklore festival in Hrusov.
My second experience with folklore
I saw folklore dances only once before. It was three years ago, during my short trip to Estonia. The dresses there were rather dull, and the dances quite monotonous. I didn’t like the music too, and the weather was just terrible–rain from the morning to evening, which didn’t add to the experience.
In Slovakia, however, I was deeply impressed with what I saw. The dancers (both male and female) practiced a variety of really complicated group dances, all of them perfectly synchronized. More than people, however, I was interested in the colorful dresses. Every group of dancers seemed to wear a different one, and as I later found out, each region, (and sometimes even each village!) had their own pair of folklore dresses for both men and women. That’s what I call a truly local art! See a couple of shots below:
Buying the folklore dresses, enjoying the festival
I am a woman, so literally I wanted the dress at once! I hoped my friend would take me to the shop to buy it there, and was surprised to find out it din’t work so easily with folklore dresses in Slovakia. There is one shop in Bratislava–a super expensive one, and I really couldn’t afford (and I didn’t want to) spending 150 euro for a single dress….
However, there are companies that sew the folklore dresses on demand. Their websites are only in Slovak language, but Maria helped me to make an order. It took about two weeks until the dress arrived in Bratislava, and Maria’s parents then sent it to Milan. The quality of the fabric was just outstanding, and I can’t be more happy about the colors… If you’d like me to help you with ordering folklore dresses, just drop me a message. We’ll manage!
Back to the festival
The festival wasn’t only about beautiful artistic dresses, however. I had a chance to try a lot of local dishes and drinks, and I actually drank too much one night. We slept in tents–I’m pretty used to doing that, and all in all the atmosphere was just great. You don’t get much sleep on such a festival, but you’ll experience a part of a culture and art that’s I believe quite unique in the world. Definitely worth going….