Photos

Orešanský Rínek: a fall celebration

Slovak traditional costumes - Almost Bananas blog

A while back a town nearby, Horné Orešany, had a “rinek”, which involved music, dancing, and lots of food.

There are a number of different types of celebrations in the fall, for example, vinobranie celebrates wine. While considerably bigger, the Trnava jarmok is similar to the rinek. Friends tell me that ‘rinek’ and ‘jarmok’ are mostly just dialect differences. Rinek comes from ‘ring-kruh’, both German and Slovak for circle, because tables were placed in a circle as they sold their wares, while jarmok comes from ‘jahr markt’, yearly market in German.

Play of a traditional Slovak wedding - Almost Bananas blog

This year’s rinek had a wedding theme. The entertainment consisted of a play in which the music and dance acts were incorporated. Above, a woman throws her hands up as a friend relates how useless her husband is in preparing for the wedding (if I recall correctly).  Click to continue reading

Mt. Robson and Kinney Lake, Canada

Mt. Robson and Kinney Lake, Canada - Almost Bananas

Mt. Robson is a towering giant of a mountain, both in height and width. At a height of 3,954 m (12,972 ft), Mt. Robson is the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies, and second in British Columbia. What makes it so impressive to look at, however, is the prominence, the distance from the peak to the surrounding area (the lowest encircling contour line, if you must know) – basically how high the mountain looks from the valley floor. With a prominence of 2,829 m (9,281 ft), the mountain is 7th in Canada and 21st in all of North America.

Mt. Robson Provincial Park has been around since 1913, which is something when you consider that hardly anybody lived in the valley. One of the few routes through the Rocky Mountains passes by Mt. Robson, however, and so it has long (relatively, as this is western Canada after all) been an object of admiration and awe.  Click to continue reading

Mt. Trudeau, Canada

Mt. Trudeau trail, Valemount, BC, Canada

Mt. Trudeau, near Valemount, BC, Canada, contains picturesque valleys and views – but not for the faint of heart.  

This summer our family was fortunate to visit Canada for over two months. With a few pauses on the West coast, we spent all our time in my hometown of Valemount, BC.

High on the To Do List was get in as much hiking as I could, not an easy feat with four children. When a friend organized a group to go hiking up Mt. Trudeau, therefore, I jumped at the chance. Who better to hike with children than a large group of enthusiastic but laid back young people?

The mountain’s full name is Mt. Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Officially named in 2006, it belongs to the Premier Range which has been set aside to honour former prime ministers of Canada. The peak rises to 2,640 m (8,661 ft).

Mt. Trudeau is a favourite hike of mine, for the simple fact that it’s a shortish hike to get out of the forest and have beautiful views. Notice I said short, not easy.

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An Antiques Bazaar, A Goulash Cook-off, and Honey Drinks

Antiques Bazaar in Slovakia - Almost Bananas

Nearby where I live is Červený Kameň, a preserved castle/museum that regularly hosts cultural events like medieval festivals and, in this instance, antique bazaars.

Well, to call it an antique bazaar might be stretching it a bit. There are swords and furniture and old books. There was also plenty of what my British friend calls ‘tat’, which urban dictionary tells me refers “to the kind of junk sold by crafty Cockneys to unsuspecting tourists in central London.” But then again, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

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Cherry Blossoms in the Morning Sun (and other photos of spring)

Cherry Blossoms in Morning Sun in Slovakia - Almost Bananas

Spring is my favourite season in western Slovakia. The sun starts showing itself again, new signs of plant life begin to appear. Bear garlic, the European version of ramps, carpets the forest. And the trees burst into bloom.

March was a month of chicken pox here, and we limped into Easter. On Palm Sunday, instead of palms we use branches of pussy willows at the church.

Pussy Willows - Almost Bananas

Easter Sunday lunch is, of course, rezne (schnitzel) – deep fried breaded cutlets. My oldest daughter loves to cook, here she helps her dad. Hammered pork (sometimes chicken) is dipped first in finely ground flour, then beaten eggs, and then breadcrumbs before being deep fried.

Making schnitzel - Almost Bananas

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Winter Markets, Fog, and Misc. (Winter 2015/16 photos)

Winter in the Small Carpathians of Slovakia

Now that spring has finally come, at least to my town, I’m finally posting photos from the winter. I blame it on my family genes, always late for everything.

November begins with one of my favourite traditions, visiting the graveyards and honouring the dead. I can’t even come close to capturing the atmosphere. I’ve written about it before: Nov. 1, All Saints Day

All Saints Day in Slovakia

All Saints Day in Slovakia

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Traditions: finding the balance between the past and the future (October 2015 photos)

Are traditions your garbage or your treasure? - Almost Bananas

As any reader of my blog will know, I’m a big fan of keeping traditions alive, whether a village, song and dance, or lighting candles in the night. So many people, however, seem to take these traditions for granted or consider them as unimportant.

I was taking pictures in the old shed behind my inlaws’, grinning that they would not understand my fascination. A shed of old junk, to them.

Treasures in an old shed - Almost Bananas

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August Photos: mostly from the road on our vacation

Vysoke Tatry in Slovakia - Almost Bananas

We had two weeks of holiday in August and the first week was spent at the end of the Vysoke Tatry, the highest mountain range in Slovakia. I’ve got a number of posts coming up about different places we saw coming soon (so sign up for the newsletter, if you haven’t already), this is random bits of what we saw on our journey.

Ruined Castle in Slovakia - Almost BananasThere are ruined castles all over Slovakia, tucked up on the hills. I find the ruined castles more romantic, in a way, that preserved castles. And so many times I wonder at how much work it must have taken to build these huge buildings, high on hills with not-modern technology and often in awkward places.  Click to continue reading

June 2015 Photos

I’m starting a new series with photos from the month that didn’t warrant a whole post but that I wanted to share anyway. I’ve shared some on Instagram but my new phone requires more work to put up a big camera photo, and therefore I get them up less.

This month I actually have photos since the end of April, so there are some spring ones in there as well.

Gaming, Austria
Sunrise on the former monastery in Gaming, Austria.

Mystery Flower
Despite looking like lilacs, these lilac coloured flowers were growing singly in my sister in law’s lawn. I have no idea what they are, but I saved them from the lawnmower.

Spring Leaves

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