Located far away from the any sea or ocean, Slovakia has a continental climate with daytime temperatures in the East of the country varying between -10 degrees in winter to over 30 degrees in summer. I managed to plan my way around the cold of Northern Europe and the heat of Southern Europe, but may be facing quite some hot weather for the remaining couple of weeks in Central Europe. Today`s question: how much does the course of the seasons influence daily life in Eastern Slovakia?
Many Slovakians think of summer as their favourite season. Gabriela (22, photo knows why. `Most Slovakians go for holidays once a year and summer is the most popular season for that. Some people leave abroad to the Black Sea coast in for example Bulgaria, or to the Adriatic Sea in Croatia. Those who stay in Slovakia will head for one of the many lakes that are suitable for swimming. Although these lakes may get crowded on hot summer days, they still make nice locations for sunbathing, relaxation and socialising. Beside spending two weeks on the Greek island of Tasos, I think I will spend quite some hours on lakesides in Slovakia in this year. I do try to avoid the midday sun though. On really hot days, I will try to stay inside from 11 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon.`
`Summer in Slovakia is nice as long as it doesn`t get too hot. Still, if people go on holiday, they often look for destinations where it`s even hotter than here`
`The summer is perfect for swimming and other outdoor sports`, Gabriela says. `It`s common for Slovakians to practice different sports in summer and winter. In winter, I like downhill skiing and ice skating on the lakes. Skating is popular here, and many young people play ice hockey on the lakes. Unfortunately, winters are starting to become softer and softer. In the same way, the summers get hotter. Altogether, the whole system of four seasons seems to be degrading, with less place for autumn and spring. In some years, it seems like we go straight from the cold days into the hot days, without any gradual transition. I like that transition, it`s a sign that the world is coming back to life after winter. Also, the temperature of 20-25 degrees suits me well. It is`
Kubo (23) is not a big fan of spring for the exact reason that it bridges the time between summer and winter. `It promises nice weather but most of what it shows is that you need to wait for the real stuff. I also get annoyed when it`s still cold in the morning so I put on warm clothes, only to find out that I`ll be sweating out of my clothes by the end of the afternoon because it all of a sudden gets hot. Summer is better, although I wouldn`t want summer to last all year. I am quite attached to this rhythm of changing seasons and it would be hard to live without it. Anyway, the advantage of summer over spring is that you can know what to expect so you can just put on some light clothes. Another nice coincidence is that all beer gardens are open, which makes the town centre a good place to be.`
Martin (29) agrees and specifies that he thinks the best thing in summer is the dress code for women. `They are happy and beautiful in summer. I like looking at their legs and bodies.` Marketa (26) thinks that every Slovak person has two different closets for summer and winter. `In my case, it`s more than two but there are definitely different sections for different seasons. Most houses and offices, contrary to many cars, do not have air conditioning, so the best way to stay cool is to take a couple of showers during the day, to dress lightly and to create some breeze by opening doors and windows.`
The length of days differs significantly by the season, although not as much as in Scandinavia. `In winter, we have daylight from 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. In summer, the days are about twice as long, lasting from 4 in the morning until 9 in the evening. I like the summer season. I often go climbing in the surrounding hills, or I head for the beach if temperatures are over 30 degrees`, Marketa says.
Autum and winter
Sandra (20) thinks autumn is the worst season of all. `It makes me feel depressed. The opposite of how I feel in summer. The streets get emptier again, people are less excited and fewer events are taking place. Maybe it`s also because I am quite scared of thunderstorms, which occur a lot in autumn.` Sandra changes her eating and drinking habits along with the seasons, just like many of her compatriots do. `I drink more water in summer. I prefer hot drinks once outside temperatures start to drop and will drink tea and coffee instead of water. People`s meals also tend to eat heavier meals in winter, while the summer diet contains more fruits and vegetables.`
Michal (24) is a fan of autumn. `I like rain, I don`t know why that is. My mood is generally better in autumn, even while most people have an opposite reaction to that season.` His girlfriend Lucia (22) enjoys winter most: `I like Christmas and I like snow. Summer is too hot for me. I will just put on some thicker clothes in winter and be perfectly fine`, she says. `I like to go to the skating rink which I think is only open in winter. Or maybe also in summer, but summer doesn`t make me feel like going ice skating.` Lucia further specifies that she does not feel comfortable putting on a lot of make up in summer, because it will get too sweaty and unpleasant. I think most other girls do the same.`
Dealing with cold weather
Slovakia used to have long and cold winter with permanent snow stuck to the ground. The current climate still sends in quite some snow, but relatively warm periods oftentimes cause the snow to melt away well before new supplies fall down. Lenka (21) explains that Slovaks are quite competent when it comes to keeping their houses and apartments warm in winter: `Most apartment blocks have central heating. People living in independent houses may still rely on wood or carbon to stay warm, but many have equipped their stoves to sophisticates tube systems that run through all rooms in the building.
Markus (23) tells me that the traffic usually deals with changing weather quite easily. `People cycle less in winter and are more likely to travel by We do not have delayed trains because of snowfall, leaves on the tracks or swelling of the train tracks. Maybe the first snowfall of the year can cause some panic on roads, because people have not yet prepared their cars and the snow removal teams may not yet have started their regular operations. Otherwise, it`s mostly the increased density of people and vehicles that may cause delays in the periods around Christmas, not the weather itself.`
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