What I Did on My Summer Vacation: July 15–Barbecue! (and Trencin Pictures)

*Stumped about the connection between Firefly and yesterday’s post? Here’s another clue for you in the pic today. Somebody’s gotta get it now, right? (Denisa’s not allowed to respond–I told her in person yesterday.)*


We’re up to July 15 now, and I think we might stop there for the next few posts, just because there’s so much material to blog about. Denisa and I took the kids into Trencin to get several Vodnik-things done at once. First up was finding some Slovak story books. Remember, the hope is that I get to write a second book set in the setting of Vodnik. One of my main goals on my trip to Slovakia this time was to get research done for that book. Not saying it’s actually going to happen, but I figured while I was there, it wouldn’t hurt.

Doing research for Slovak-oriented subjects can be difficult. Since the country only has about 5.5 million people, digitization of their cultural knowledge doesn’t quite happen at the same rate as in America. (Think of it like this: imagine if American internet influence was spreading as fast as the population of Wisconsin would allow. And don’t forget: not all 5.5 million people are actually online. 75% of them are. Broadband penetration was at 4% in 2006, and even if it’s skyrocketed since then, there just hasn’t been that much time for people to get hold of the huge backlog of information any society has on hand. Even in America, if you go back to the 70s or earlier, good luck on finding much digitized (outside of the New York Times or other bigger publications.) It’s getting better, but it takes time.

This is just to say that I knew going to Slovakia that if I wanted to get some information, it would be easier and cheaper to do while I was there. So Denisa and I took the kids around town, visiting bookstores. I wanted to get some books of traditional Slovak fairy tales. So much of what you can find easily is just reheated Grimm. I wanted the real deal, and I found plenty. We also got some books for TRC and DC–their Slovak did so well during the 5 weeks we were there. We wanted to try and keep that up once we got home. (Denisa already speaks almost only Slovak to the kids, but TRC has very little experience reading in the language.)

Anyway, while we were at it, I also took pictures of the town–trying to get a shot of the site of all the major events in the novel.

Tomas and Katka’s Apartment Building:
An East German car, with TRC place in the picture to give a sense of scale:

The town park:

The bakery downtown:

The plague column:

Random Communist building plunked down into the town center:

The Vodnik, again:

A look at what the Vodnik is looking at:

The closest thing to a “mall” downtown Trencin has. It’s really getting run down:

A certain fountain that roller bladers in the city really ought to watch out for:

The movie theater downtown:

I know: most of these pics probably don’t do much for you if you haven’t already read the book. Fear not. Because after we ran errands downtown, we went up to the castle to do some grilling. After the grilling, we’d arranged for a professional photographer to meet us at the castle to take pictures of yours truly. I need something decent for my book. Help me decide, tomorrow. (And the day after that, get excited: I’m posting princess pics of DC (and Denisa).)

Meanwhile, here are a few BBQ pics.
DC had so much fun riding horses, she kept it up at the castle:

TRC in action. Who knew bungee cords were a lethal weapon?

Speaking of lethal weapons, Milos teaches TRC how to maim tourists:

No pics of the food this time, alas. It was the same menu as last time–check the pics I took from three years ago here: http://brycesramblings.blogspot.com/2008/06/castle-bbq.html Yes–we dressed up then and shot arrows, too. Kind of a walk down memory lane. TRC and DC were so much younger . . .

Until tomorrow . . .

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