Another day in paradise

It was a balmy Sunday evening at the end of April when I first arrived at Sedliacky dvor Camping & Guesthouse. I found this little paradise in the heart of Slovakia by chance, or more accurately, it had found me. Monique and Dion, the Dutch couple behind this innovative project, contacted me after they’d bought A Taste of Slovakia book at a regional fair last year. They introduced me to Sedliacky dvor Camping & Guesthouse through their Facebook page, and I was so intrigued by the place that I immediately made a plan to see it.

Sedliacky dvor would loosely translate as farmyard, and on hearing the name my mind conjures up images of my grandparents’ house with lots of animals that had to be catered for, large fruit gardens and vegetable plots that we helped to tend, and plenty of delicious food that came fresh to our table. I, as most Slovaks, would never associate ‘sedliacky dvor’ with camping, but as I have recently seen, it works very well at Sedliacky dvor Camping & Guesthouse near Brezno, Slovakia.

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A new covered terrace is being built on the premises, where campers will be able to meet and socialize.

On the way from the station to the campsite, Monique tells me why she and her family decided to make Slovakia their home. When they first visited the country back in 2005, they were captivated by its beauty and the simple, leisurely life in the Slovak countryside. Monique and Dion had long been dreaming of setting up their own campsite, and a year later they made their dream come true in a valley of fields and meadows near Brezno. They bought a farmhouse in a small village of Hliník, and moved in with their two sons. Since then, their farm-on-the-campsite has welcomed campers and visitors from all over the world.

As we drive in at Sedliacky dvor, two young French couples are preparing wood for a campfire. They’d stationed their caravans conveniently close to each other, although they didn’t know each other. It’s easy to make friends in a place like this, where everything from the welcoming hosts, to the campsite’s technical equipment, to the smallest details in sanitary areas, is designed to make you happy and aid congenial atmosphere.

For non-campers like me, there’s a B&B farmroom to be rented inside the house, and a charming country kitchen where guests can cook their meals. If you choose to do so, you can use (and buy) one of the copies of A Taste of Slovakia book that I left there on the table.DSC_0242

For those who want still more comfort and privacy, there is an apartment upstairs with a separate entrance that can sleep six people.

After leaving my bags in the farmroom, I go for a walk around and chat with Monique and Dion for a while. They tell me about the many things their guests can do on and off the campsite, like helping to feed the farm animals, make the hay, jam or fruit liquor, go for a mushroom or herb picking trip, or watch traditional Slovak cheeses being made at a nearby sheep farm. Most of our conversation is in English, but Monique often throws in Slovak words, especially when talking about the farm. They’ve been living in Slovakia for 12 years now, and they obviously speak very good Slovak (on top of Dutch, German and English), although they still find our spelling difficult.

As the soft twilight turns into dusk, I snug in my room, make myself tea and have something to eat. While sipping the tea, I imbibe the tranquility of the place and attempt to read a book, but my eyes feel heavy. The walk in the fresh country air has clearly done its job, and I fall asleep sooner than I intended.

Before I say goodbye to my hosts the following morning, I take a few more pictures to remind me of this hidden paradise.

When sifting through them back home, I realize that only very few photos capture the ambience of the place, so I’ll refer you to Sedliacky dvor‘s website for more authentic images, as well as additional information on room, caravan and tent rentals.

P.S.: I read dozens of positive reviews on Sedliacky dvor Camping & Guesthouse after my visit, and I’m not surprised it’s been voted the second best campsite in Slovakia. Only I feel sad that I forgot to write a ‘thank you’ note in Monique & Dion’s guestbook, so I hope they will read this post before I return again.

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