Aug 272014
Tipping in America, Hand to Hand (Part 1)

When I travel one of the first things I look up about a country is restaurant tipping customs and etiquette. This wasn’t the case when I came to the U.S. 11 years ago, chiefly because I didn’t have the money to go out much, not to mention tip. After returning from the yearlong round-the-world trip and changing my tipping habits (and currencies) every few weeks, I was reintroduced to tipping in America with something close to a jolt. Tipping in Slovakia In my native Slovakia tipping isn’t a strict […] Continue reading >

Jul 172012
Guest Post: What Does Slovakia Mean to Me?

This is a guest post by Tatjana Pavlovič, who blogs at Czechmate Diary. *** Slovakia, in the back of my mind, still equals to Czechoslovakia, which equals to my home country where I was born and raised. I guess that would mean that my mind still refuses to accept the split which happened 21 years ago. I grew up around Slovak-speaking people. My grandpa was Slovak, a well-known professor in Martin. My dad was born there and even when the family moved to the Czech part of the country, […] Continue reading >

Feb 012012
Ghymes and Družina: How Music Creates a Sense of Home

One of my fondest memories of Bratislava, where I went to college in the mid-1990’s, is joining my friend Zuzana at the Hungarian Cultural Institute for monthly concerts of Ghymes, a Hungarian folk band from southern Slovakia. The concerts contributed to my sense of Bratislava as a place in Europe’s center. Peoples and cultures have mingled for centuries in the area where the Danube and Morava rivers as well as the contemporary countries of Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia meet. Heard at the foot of the Carpathian Mountain Range, Ghymes reminded us that the vastness of the […] Continue reading >

Jan 302012
Guest Post: Life in the Middle

This is a guest post by Marek Bennett, the creative genius behind —Coffee+Dumplings+Komiks—, a travel comics from Slovakia. The comic originally appeared on Marek’s blog on January 25, 2012, under the title “Juxtaposition 3: Life in the Middle”. Below the comic, Marek remarked, “Sometimes it feels like cartography and history are forms of cartooning.” Marek kindly allowed me to repost the comic here as a preview of my upcoming series about Central Europe. Enjoy!

Nov 262011
In Remembrance of Tanks

Another Thanksgiving is over and tanks won’t be haunting me for at least another year. Every year the holiday’s name makes me think of tanks, which is why I secretly call it Tanksgiving. Tanks play a role in a Central European’s, and particularly a Slovak’s or a Czech’s, life story and imagination. If you ask any Slovak or Czech with memories of living in socialist Czechoslovakia about tanks, I guarantee he will share at least one memory about a particular tank. (Please do share your tank story in the Comments.) ‘My tanks’ […] Continue reading >

Nov 112011
Cooking Slovak in America: An Interview With Lubos Brieda

Following up on my review of, I asked Ľuboš Brieda who runs that site a few questions about his experience as a Slovak transplant. *** American Robotnik: You started after beginning to miss the tasty Slovak home cooking in the U.S. and wanting to learn a few recipes. There’s a huge gap between learning to cook Slovak dishes and sharing the recipes on a website. What compelled you to take your craving for Slovak food  public? Ľuboš Brieda: You make it sound as if one day I […] Continue reading >

Oct 262011
Slovak Cooking Delivers Delicious Morsels of Home

If you were to ask Ľuboš Brieda, “What’s cookin’?”, he’d most likely tell you the name of a Slovak dish you’ve never heard of. Which is precisely what his website Slovak Cooking remedies: This site is dedicated to the natural and wholesome lifestyle of our (Slovak) grandparents. It’s the lifestyle when food did not come shrink-wrapped, when flour was part of every pantry, and potatoes of every cellar. Join in, and try some Slovak dishes today. There is a bit of Slovakia in all of us! The website is simple: […] Continue reading >