Monday, January 29, 2007

Snow, Whirlpool, and Slovak roads

Hi to all,

Well, this past weekend I trekked up to the High Tatra Mountains in Slovakia. Those of you who wish to grab an almanac, this mountain range runs across the north of the country and acts as a natural border with Poland.

Winter has arrived in Slovakia. Snow accompanied the bus on Thursday morning as it made its four hour journey north and stayed throughout the night providing the perfect conditions for skying. So on Friday, my free day, I and twelve of my colleagues took a bus to the ski slopes. Since, this was my first time skiing I was promptly forgotten by my more experienced friends, though truth be told they did check on me, more often than not, looking down upon my sprawled body in the snow. After two hours of frustration though I achieved what I had hoped for. Actual skiing down a slope at speeds that made my Olympic fantasy come alive, shortly, before the practical concern of how to stop shattered my day-dreaming. With my bruised body, not to mention ego I left the Tatra slopes unbowed though and definitely undaunted. I have found I love the activity and plan on returning as soon as I can. Later that night I found the warmth of a whirlpool the necessary remedy to my aches and pains.

Saturday was the conference and I spent most of the day inside a lecture hall listening, taking notes and educating myself.

Sunday the bus that had taken us up to the mountains now returned us, though under tougher road conditions. For those of you in the U.S. road maintenance, in particular, snow removal is considered a priority in many states where snow is the common denominator during the winter months. This is not the case in Slovakia. Such maintenance and removal does occur, just not as frequently as expected nor as I had hoped, so many prayers where offered on the return journey.

This week my students in Political Science take their mid-terms examinations. I hope for their sake they will do better than how they did on my review today.

Until next time.

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