Last week I brought you over to Bojnice Castle in my blog post and today I’d like to show you another of Slovakia’s delights. It’s a place very special to me, called Domaša. Slovakia may not have a sea, but it has lots of beautiful dams, which lend themselves to swimming, water sports, fishing or just taking in the sun.
Domaša is an artificially built water reservoir, where in order to bring it to life, they had to take apart and flood 6 existing villages. The river Ondava used to frequently flood the area, so the authorities decided that the best way to regulate it would be to create something that would boost the local economy. As many as 700 families had to leave their homes and start a new life from scratch somewhere else.
This was over 50 years ago and so this is just a distant memory to the current generation, who know it as one of the most popular holiday resorts. Growing up, I was very lucky to spend a lot of my summers there, at my grandparents’ weekend house. I remember in those days, the water would still wash ashore the odd fragmented tile from the structures that still remain underwater. It always used to fascinate me and I know some people now go diving to see the old walls, stairs and cellars.
The white church of the former Trepec village also serves as a reminder of this fascinating history. Our terrace looks straight out to it and the view is still the same as when I was a child. I am so happy that they haven’t built a single house there or chopped any trees – it’s the same, dreamy landscape that I remember.
Each time I would visit, after a week or two there, I never wanted to go back to the city. My mind would adapt to the serenity, to nature, even to all the bugs and walking on rough rocks. We would feast on forest strawberries, grow our own delicious onions and tomatoes and drink wild thyme tea. My days would consist of swimming three times a day, taking walks in the forest and picking flowers. In the evenings we would build a fire, roast potatoes and fish (that we caught) while looking at the starry sky. I used to always come back home fitter, healthier and with a tan.
My grandparents, along with my uncle, built this house from scratch. This also happens to be the place where I took my first steps. Last month was my first time visiting after five years and seeing all the familiar details was really emotional. Yet it in a way, it always feels like I’ve never left. My Granny, at the grand age of 80, keeps it in a beautiful condition, with the help from some friends. Every item has its rightful place and no stone remains unturned.
The amazing thing about a place like this is that the nature is never quite the same. The sun, the wind and the clouds always surprise you with a different arrangement. I love getting up early in the morning and seeing the mist rise up from the valley. At the end of August, the weather was perfect – we had drinks on the balcony and I even went for a swim twice.
I wanted to have this visual diary for myself but I also wanted to share this place with the wider world. Perhaps when you’re in this part of Europe next, you’ll think to visit and like me, you’ll fall in love.