Yesterday I travelled to Zilina, a city 2-3 hours away in the North West of Slovakia and closer to the Czech Republic and Poland borders. The scenery gradually begins to look a bit more Alpine-like, but the hills are still pretty modest. I’d been advised to travel another 2 or 3 hours East from Zilina into the High Tatras, and I can understand why as I saw some beautiful images of them in the film by Yuri Dojc on Day 3. But since this is a sponsored trip and I’m on a particular mission, my first stop instead was to Budatin Castle. This houses the Povazie Museum which has a unique collection and documentation of the Tinker’s trade, craft and art. I couldn’t wait to see it.
It wasn’t an easy trip because without the ability to walk very well, I was dependent on communicating. No-one speaks English here and my German is shocking, and after a bunch of conflicting instructions re buses, a passer-by called me a taxi (or at least someone to give me a lift – there were no markings on the car). Then in the middle of nowhere, it took a while to find the only person with any English language - an 8 year old member of a primary school party. Unbeknownst to me, I was very kindly invited, and I apparently agreed, to join their class on an hour-long tour of the castle, in Slovak. Despite my protests, we were all herded round in our cloth bag slippers (to clean the floors as we went and to risk our lives as we negotiated 5 floors of narrow winding sloping polished wooden steps up and back down the tower)…and me with a limp!
Fortunately there was just enough time for me to spend in the actual exhibition I’d travelled to see, while the children did their thing, and then the 8 year old negotiated with a member of staff to call me a taxi back into town. I’ll write more about the contents of the museum and the interesting transitions of the wirework and industry in a later post. But here are a few images of the transition of the Tinker’s craft from a basic, travelling fix-it trade, through to creating utility objects, moving into more decorative designs and quite sophisticated fancy filigree and figurative art objects, before it came to a halt after WWII.
I did actually later find another person who spoke English, but when my waiter asked “Can I pleasure you to pay please?”...Gulp!