Similarities between Slovakia and Chile
I clearly remember the day when I crossed the Argentinian – Chilean border and was hoping for different cuisine than in Argentina. Steaks, white baguettes and pizza not even resembling the traditional Italian pizza I was used to after living in Brindisi were far away from the food I could enjoy.
I spent a month hiking around Argentina and surviving on expensive avocados, bananas, apples and tomatoes with white bread and boiled eggs and really did not want to keep on doing so.
But then I arrived in Chile and found out so many pleasant surprises there that even rainy days could not make me upset.
Surprisingly enough, already after a few days I noticed a bunch of similarities between Slovakia and Chile and I loved it.
Slovakia and Chile similarities
- daily menu in both countries with a special price usually for a soup + main course + dessert, sometimes even coming with a drink included. Very handy and every day it made me look forward for the lunch time. The only problem I find in both countries is very few options for vegetarians/vegans/raw vegans, if any. In Chile it’s mostly fish and chicken, in Slovakia traditional flour or meat meals.
- both Slovaks and Chileans eat soups a lot and I don’t think it’s just in the gloomy weather. I am a huge fan of soups so just this simple detail made me happy every day (PS: this trip was before I went on raw vegan diet.)
- chicken or beef soup – made in a similar way but in Chile they add rice and sweet corn to it while in Slovakia we add pasta. The taste and even green chopped parsley sprinkled on top are alike.
- egg and cumin seeds soup – often found at Slovak school and kindergarten canteens and in Chile I had it as part of daily menu not just once but twice.
- cakes – apple pie and other simple tarts very similar in taste and texture, such as kuchen and empanada de manzana in Chile and their parallel koláč s posýpkou and jablková buchta/štrúdľa in Slovakia.
- similar flowers and other plants and so much green around – I know in Chile it is because of a lot of rain as the clouds get stopped here by the Andes and pushed back to the Pacific coast so Chile is pretty green most of the time. In Slovakia we have it similar maybe half of the year so the green Chilean nature made me feel at home (vs. the Argentinian Patagonia was more dry.) The forest and trees are something I incredibly miss when I’m home-sick and in Chile the nature just felt ”right”.
- small grocery shops are more expensive than big hypermarkets – so true in both countries.
- prices are very similar.
- in both countries we eat lots of bread and use similar wooden bread boxes to store it – the bread box used to be very typical for all the Slovak families years ago, even when I was a child and nowadays still found in the houses of older people. In Chile I saw the bread box maybe in three different places.
- prams for babies – I found it interesting as in many Latin American countries they don’t use prams; e.g. in Bolivia you cannot see prams at all but they always carry the babies attached to the women’s bodies in long scarves.
- thick duvets – I remember as if it was yesterday when we stayed in a cabaña for the night after looking for a place in heavy rain in Dalcahue town on Chiloe island and I was so happy we found one with a fireplace where I could warm up. My happiness doubled once I went to sleep and found a super thick and heavy duvet looking exactly the same as I used to cover myself with at my grandparent’s when I was a kid. So heavy that I could not move all night and each time I woke up in the same position. Seeing the same kind of duvet in Chile made me smile. And honestly, I did not even move my finger all night long (is a heavy blanket the new solution to my insomnia?)
- home-made redcurrant marmalade – when visiting Chiloe National Park, we stayed for a night in Cucao in a private house with a local family and for breakfast they prepared us bread, coffee, tea and home-made currant marmalade that tasted like the one my grandmother makes!
- blackberries along the road – so much like at home! Reminded me of my childhood when we used to find blackberries each time we just wandered around. In Chile we found blackberries even when strolling around the German houses in Puerto Varas.
- people are not so positive and smiling all the time, but a bit more negative – from all the Latino people I know, the Chileans seemed the least smiling especially at the streets or when we asked them something. Not that they were rude but just not positive and happy. I think in Slovakia it is very similar and I wrote about the negativity when speaking about the 5 things I dislike about Slovakia as negative approach is one of them, if not the most important one.
- fresh home-made cheese easily found along the roads in both countries.
- wooden churches – some of them declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in both Slovakia and Chile and this was probably the biggest positive shock for me. I would never imagine almost identical wooden churches built with no nails scattered around villages in Eastern Slovakia and then find the same ones on Quinchao and Chiloe islands in Chile. So far away from each other and yet so similar. The only difference is that the wooden churches in Chile have been freshly rebuilt and painted in colours while those in Slovakia are kept in natural colour of the wood.