Hey, Macarena!

Letter From Slovakia

(Editor's note: The world, we are told, is shrinking, and all of us are coming to share the same global superculture. However, this brief report from a Slovakian college girl shows what happens to a commercial dance craze when it is taken up by an ancient community living on the fringe of Europe and transformed into a ritual of communal solidarity.)

To most Americans, even to readers of Chronicles, the eastern fringe of Slovakia, where I come from, must seem like the other end of the world, but the truth is—and I am not a tourist agent—Slovakia is one of the most beautiful places in Europe. If you are searching for a land of mountains and deserts, swamps and rocky caves, wild rivers, dramatic waterfalls, and untouched woods—everything but a seacoast, which would ruin the solitude—you will find all of them in Slovakia.

The capitol and largest city of Slovakia is Bratislava, 60 kilometers down the Danube from Vienna. Bratislava is a wonderful, cosmopolitan city—as German as it is Magyar and Slovakian—and it is visited every day by tourists taking the obligatory Danube cruise. For a more truly Slovakian experience, however, you must visit the second-largest city, Kosice, which has only 300,000 inhabitants, hi Bratislava, you are not far (either in distance or in atmosphere) from the city of Strauss, but Kosice is home to the world's record Macarena dance.


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