Slovakia - Day 2
May 13, 2007
|Today was a day of more cemetery fun! We left Ruzomberok and headed towards the area of Prievidza where Pete and Cynthia's paternal grandmother, Helen Skadra, was from. We were at our first cemetery by 10:30 AM. This was in the town where Helen's father was from. Once again we couldn't find any graves with the Skadra name.
We headed next into the town of Bojnice, where there is a very famous castle. Pete has records that show that his great-grandfather was buried in Bojnice so we were hopeful we'd find a grave. We stumbled upon an older cemetery but again had no luck. This cemetery was filled with both unmarked graves and tombstones that had the writing worn off, so it's possible that he was buried there.
We went into the town of Bojnice and parked so that Sara could see the castle, since she'd been talking about it since the start of the trip. Sara and Linda walked around the castle and took lots of pictures but didn't go in. The castle is like a fairy tale although most of it was recreated in the 1940's.
After leaving Bojnice we went through the town of Prievidza and looked for the tiny village of Kuty where Helen Skadra was born. After a few missed turns, we stumbled upon it. There were about 8 houses in the whole village and even though Pete had an address for the house we couldn't find it. While we were driving back and forth down the street in the village we were stared at by bicyclists (who were riding for pleasure, not necessity). When Pete couldn't find the house number in the main strip of houses he kept going down the road. There was a little gate that clearly could have blocked the road off but it was open.
As we went down the road it got a bit narrower and we realized we were surrounded by bicyclists. Pete suddenly realized that he might be driving on a bike path. At the moment he realized that, he also saw a police car coming at him down the path. He quickly found an open space and turned around but it was too late - the police were pulling him over! Linda had a moment of semi-panic and visualized all of us being forced to the ground spread-eagle before being sent to jail and eventually deported. However, Pete handled it very well. The police didn't speak much English but he explained that he was looking for his grandmother's house and showed them the page with her address in his genealogy folder. They said ok and let us go. Whew!
But as we turned out onto the main road, the car pulled up alongside us and one of the officers said to us "follow me." He was holding a map in his hand so we thought he must know something about the house we were looking for. The police led us on a long ride through the city. We were afraid that maybe we were being taken to the police station and that fear intensified as we turned in the direction of a sign pointing to "POLICIA". But we passed right by the police station without turning in. Then we remembered Linda's brother Bob's warning about following strange cars and being led into a trap. As we went farther and farther into the country we locked the doors and started planning an escape strategy. Just as we were really starting to get worried, we reached a small village and the officers got out of the car. They asked to see the genealogy book again! They had led us to another village with Kuty in the name. However, they decided it wasn't the right place. After talking to each other in Slovak, they again said "follow me."
They then led us all the way back to the other side of Priviedza and back to the original Kuty. This time one of the officers got out of the car and talked to a resident. Apparently she didn't know anything about the house number and the officers sadly told us they couldn't help us after all. It must have been a slow day in the office for them to go to so much work to help us!
We did a little more exploring in the Priviedza area and found another cemetery in Bojnice but again there were no Skadras. Priviedza is a very beautiful area. It's in a valley surrounded by low mountains. It was a nice day and there were many people out riding bikes and walking. Next time we'd like to spend more time there!
After leaving Priviedza we made one more cemetery stop in the town of Partizanske where Pete's grandfather, Peter Petrik, was born. Pete hasn't found out much about his grandfather because he died in 1915 and no one who is alive knew him. In this cemetery we did find a few Petriks but aren't sure if they are relatives.
We ended the day by driving north to the town of Uherske Hradiste, Czech Republic, where we will spend 3 nights and visit the villages of Pete and Cynthia's maternal grandparents.
Thanks to everyone for the American Idol updates! Linda is very sad about LaKisha. We enjoy getting your comments every day.