We arrive at Alena's house just before noon and lunch smells fantastic!
Meals are long and boozy when we are hosted by our Slovakian relatives. Every course begins with a shot of local liqueur called Slivovica, served in a fancy cut glass. Whoa! Mom & I play along- knocking back our shots and shouting, “Nastrovia!!!” Dad has learned that he can opt out of most celebratory drinking with a single word, “Chauffeur”, since the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.0%. Slovakians take drunk driving very seriously… probably because they take their drinking very seriously!
*Upon closer review of this photo- this is breakfast. Omelets and shots = Yowza!
The first course is always Slepacia. Homemade, delicious chicken soup with delicate handmade noodle (if you're lucky). Alena had ordered focaccia with bacon from the bakery and I had to pace myself- everything was so delicious but there was more to follow.
Then, the pork knee arrived at the table, wood fired and full of flavor. (Did we have veggies?) There is a little plate of cut veggies & pickles- just like at G'mas house.
We sat for a while after dinner- Michael in the center of multiple conversations- and then dessert arrives on the table. Kolache! Dad's favorite kind of Slovak cake is a roll with walnut paste inside. There is also a poppy seed version that is very popular. G'ma Sip used to make both varieties. Two & 1/2 hours after lunch began & its time for a walk… Or a nap. We opt for the guided tour of Klato.
In such a small village, the principal attracts attention wherever she goes. We stop to talk to kids & parents as we head up the hill to the cemetery.
One of the older women we pass offers us handfuls of walnuts that she has collected.
In the cemetery, we visit Alena's mother's grave, Stephania who passed away 3 months ago and clear the leaves off her grave and light a candle for her. In Slovakia, everyone takes care of their own family's grave – one family was there doing some landscaping with white quartz rocks.
The town of Klato is so small that they do not have a church- the chapel in the cemetery holds services on Saturdays, when the priest from the next-town-over is available.
We stopped in side to ogle the paintings on the ceiling and making sure our number wasn't up…
Jesus is now serving number 888.
After leaving the cemetery, we make the logical next stop… the VINOTEKA!!!
Slovakians grows lots of grapes and many of them make their own wine. This guy built a bar in his basement and it's awesome! He is also a metalsmith and really went all-out decorating the bar in a manly fashion.
The owner really wanted to put up this sweet chandelier and then his wife pointed out that tipsy patrons may try to swing on it. So, he re-installed it to support up to 250 lbs. In the photo, Veronica + Michael are giving it 'the ultimate test'. It seems to be holding up!
Did you notice the pitcher of cloudy 'wine' in the photo of all the taps on the wall? No? Well, it may have been your introduction to BURCIAK- its midway between grape juice and wine. A lot of the sugar hasn't fermented into alcohol yet, so it's sweet yet gives you a buzz. And since we had WALKED there, Dad's usual excuse did not apply. This photo cracks me up!
The tour of Klato wasn't over, next we head over to Alena's school to check out the Agricultural Fair! We'll save that excitement for next time!