Ed Petrie

20 July, Slovakia – ‘All Over The Place – Europe, Part 2’

By the sounds of it, until fairly recently life for most people in Slovakia was pretty basic, and with farming playing a big part of people’s life many children would have found themselves playing with corn dolls. I know they’re something we used to have in the UK but I’ve never paid much attention to what they were or how they were made. Well, now I’ve been to the craft centre in the beautiful town of Bankska Bystrica I can tell you that they’re made out of the discarded husk leaves of a corn on the cob. You need the leaves of up to 4 corns cobs to make one doll, and… well, that’s probably enough information for now.

I think some TV shows would struggle to turn stationary objects like corn dolls into an engaging 5 minutes of television, but over the years we’ve got pretty good at tackling this sort of thing. The Slovaks seemed intrigued as we shot an opening with me pretending I was in a comedy club telling corny jokes to the dolls, then Johny and I dressed up as fashion vloggers and squealed enthusiastically to camera about the clothes the dolls were wearing. By the time we got round to making some dolls ourselves I was having a ball and I think we’ve shot a really good item (if we haven’t, well, at least we had fun).

After lunch in the old town square it was all aboard the bus for our 4 hour journey to Budapest in Hungary. I was fascinating watching the landscape switch from wooded hills and mountains to the Hungarian farmland, and our bus driver had to stop off at the border and leave us all for half an hour in what felt like some sort of outpost from the Wild West while he sorted out some paperwork. Once we arrived in Budapest my jaw dropped at all the opulent buildings, squares and parkland. Looks amazing. Why have I never thought to come here before?

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