Since 1993, the tiny, central/eastern European nation of Slovakia has been LOST.
Prior to that, their acreage belonged to the former country of Czechoslovakia which was part of the Warsaw Pact formed in 1955. Of course, it existed on and off prior to that as well, however, this article isn’t about the sovereign state of Czechoslovakia. It’s about the insignificant nation that was left behind. Similar to Hungary, Slovakia drew a short straw with their location – sandwiched between Budapest and Vienna – and with Prague just a hop, skip, and a jump to the north. All in all not a very positive location for promoting tourism and trade.
Hence why they’re LOST (strateny is Slovakian for lost).
Most of the country is wilderness. There’s not much to see that visitors can’t get in the neighboring nations of the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, and even as far away as Moldova and Romania. So why go? The dinky capital city of Bratislava – where I spent about 24 hours in (the only reason we went was to check another country off of our list) – has very little to offer in the way of interesting sights. In fact, it looks much like the smaller parts of Budapest and Prague. Since the split in ’93, Prague has received the lion’s share of tourism. Such a pity for the Slovaks.
It’s their own fault though. One would think that the people of Bratislava would go out of their way to project images of warmth and friendliness. One would think the citizens of Slovakia would dump money into their tourism and marketing, hoping to increase travelers coming across their borders. Quirky museums, churches, and statues do little on their own. Alas, no. The Bratislavans are lost, just like their country.
They aren’t friendly. They aren’t welcoming. And they certainly don’t seem to give a shit if tourists come to their city or nation at all. Which is a shame, since they’ve got no other major industries there. What a missed opportunity for Slovakia.
Hasta La Proxima…