Plasma Medicine Conference 2016


Family visits bring me to Slovakia once every year or two, but this September was my first time ever traveling there for business. I was attending the 6th International Conference on Plasma Medicine, ICPM6, organized by researchers from Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics at the Comenius University in Bratislava. The conference was attended by almost 400 people with the largest group of about 70 coming from Japan. The organizers, including Zdenko Machala and Karol Hensel, did an amazing job. Not only was the quality of presentations superb, they also put together a wonderful program to highlight Slovakia. This included various excursions. I settled for the walking tour of Bratislava. At the conclusion, we were brought to the Flagship restaurant. I figured the free tour will end here. Instead, the waiters started bringing out beer and wine for everyone. These were then followed by family style portions of baked meat, halusky, and pierogi. At the banquet we were treated to traditional singing and dancing – including a dance lesson for the attendees to partake in.

icpm group shot
I attended the conference with my doctoral advisor, Prof. Keidar from GWU. The last photo is a group shot of the attendees, taken from the ICPM6 website.

I took the opportunity to also spend some time with my family. My mom has been living in Prague for the past few years and came to visit for a day. I did not realize prior to this visit that she had never before been to Bratislava! I think she left with a great impression. I am starting to very much like this town. The center is pretty, but not as packed with tourists as Prague.

Here my mom and I area having the traditional sauerkraut soup in Mestiansky Pivovar. My wife swears this place has the best ribs anywhere, so we also ordered those – mainly to tease her.

I also managed to find some nice running trails. Bratislava is so close to Vienna that on a 6 mile trip around town I was able to stop by Austria. How often can you say you visited a different country on your morning run?

Pictures from morning and afternoon runs around town. One morning I ran up to the Kamzik TV tower overlooking Bratislava. The trail from Zelezna Studnicka winds through a forest past a picturesque lake, but unfortunately there was no view from the top. For that, you need to visit the Altitude restaurant.

As mentioned above, I am starting to very much like Bratislava. It’s the right size city – not too small and not too big. The public transport is great, and prices are very reasonable, especially if coming from the US. A small glass of Slovak wine at Trunk Wine Gallery will cost you only one euro. Slovak wine is surprisingly good. That machiato and pastry were only about 2 euro total. There is also a tremendous amount of growth, with cranes dotting the skyline. Just next to my sister’s condo is rising a new 23-story apartment building.

Few more photos from Bratislava. I ended up buying those three bottles to bring back as that was all that would fit in my bag. I will need a bigger suitcase next time!

Banska Bystrica

After the conference ended I took a train to my hometown of Banska Bystrica, to spend some time with dad. Among other things, we visited the grave of my grandmothers, both of whom passed away in the recent years. As you know, my grandmas Pavka and Terka were a great inspiration behind this cooking site.

We don’t get sausages like this in the US. I also did more running, this picture was taken about 6 miles out near the town of Molca.
No trip to Slovakia would be complete without going mushroom hunting. These amanitas are living up to their name (muchotravka – fly ‘killer’). We found few edible mushrooms, but not too many.
I took my dad to a new sushi restaurant in Banska Bystrica, where he tried chopsticks for probably his first time. It didn’t go too well! Another day we stopped by a koliba for more traditional specialties – eaten with more traditional utensils.

Finally, here are few more photos of delicious home cooking. That cake looked quite easy to make so look forward to that as one of the future recipes.

Just a sample of the many delicious home cooked meals. Clockwise from top we have a bean soup with frankfurters, Hungarian goulash, pork cuts rolled in some bacon, and a berry cake.