Vychylovka: You Can Travel Anywhere if You Feel Like It

Vychylovka open-air museum

I returned home after more than a year. To Slovakia, to Kysuce. So many times I sat on a bench and looked at the surrounding hills, like a little boy, that I shouldn’t be interested in it anymore. The contrary is true.

I’m sitting there again; slightly older, with quite different thoughts, desires, dreams, but also experience. I’m staring right in front of me and finding out that I should probably know  Kysuce a little bit better.

Africa, Asia, America… There are very many beautiful places that are worth to visit. But our Slovakia is also beautiful. So I’m turning the map on and looking for something that’s not far away and worth to see. After all, I’m home only for a few days; however, it feels to be an eternity now. I need to go somewhere!


I got it! I ask others at home: Who’s coming to Vychylovka with me? Familiar faces have exchanged silent looks, but no answer was coming back. This regularly happens to me. So I’m going alone again. I mean, with my most loyal partner on the road, crisscrossing the world. With my camera. It’s never said no to me. That is why I have thought that it should be a female noun instead. It would be my partner who lasted the longest with me.

I also like Kysuce because everywhere I look are hills and trees. So that’s my childhood memory again. The hills are still there today, but the trees have somehow disappeared, and I can only see plain and empty places that once had been called forests. It reminds me somewhat of Ireland, as a country that has been devastated and destroyed in a few years out of greed and pursuit of money.

The Slovak Astronomical Clock in Nová Bystrica

I’m not going to Vychylovka just to “kill time.” I planned two stops. The first one is a quite controversial building in Nová Bystrica. Some people wouldn’t let you say a word about it, and they are probably even more proud of it than Vysoké Tatry. As usual, a coin has two sides. Also this one, in Nová Bystrica. But let everyone decide on their own.

The Slovak Astronomical Clock also has both its positives and negatives. What is admirable is that it’s the only astronomical clock in Slovakia. Maybe that’s why people from other towns and cities are jealous of it. That wouldn’t surprise me. After all, envy in the country between the Danube and the Tatras, if it was a sporting discipline, would have the best representation in the world and would dominate in this category, like M. Schumacher in his golden age.

Walking in time and getting to know how the place I grew up looked like.

After less than an hour of wobbling around the building, which is the only one in the world to show the so-called right solar time, I’m heading further, to the open-air museum of Kysuce village, near the Vychylovka village. It should definitely look like I imagined there when my grandma used to tell me how she lived as a young girl.

Well, it didn’t take a long time, and I knew it was exactly that way. Small wooden houses surrounded by potato fields. This way Kysuce are! In the open windows, colorful geraniums were preventing penetrating the scent of fresh potato pancakes from getting free. They were as unsuccessful as my futile attempt not to try at least one of them. Beautiful girls in folk costumes were smiling at me from the beginning as I entered the house. I had no chance to think sober. The smell of freshly baked food with gliding melting butter and those girls… At that moment, I would have been able to fulfill what others never promised.


The Vychylovka open-air museum was exactly as I imagined it. Walking in time and getting to know how the place I grew up looked like. Sometimes it may not be easy at Kysuce. Mostly a visitor from another region may be a bit confused, because of the Kysuce dictionary. Beside the fact we pronounce very softly, we have our own vocabulary. No need to worry, it’s nothing complicated.

Kysuce Dictionary:

Ďienko – Slicing board / Kobar – carpet

Ňi – Look / Učej – Move, let go

Keľo – How much / Teľo – that much

Zeber – take / Saček- Bag

Taje – that way / Ic – Go

Han – There / Kaje – Where to

Odky poky? – From where to where?  / Odty poty – From here to there

Cebuľa – Onion / Cesnek – Garlic

Jabuko – Apple / Podlesník – Potato pancake

Gaz – Old forest car / Pitvor – Entrance Hall

Mrkef – Carrots / Fiok – drawer

Šporheľ – Stove / Štrimfle – Stockings

Patyk – Branch / Pojme – let’s go

Text and photo: Aleš Tvrdý