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BabsV

Slovakia Fyi

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We're winding down our time in Europe and took a last minute ski trip to Slovakia this past week. We weren't in Bratislava (the situation might be better there) but in the mountains at a resort and eating gluten-free was just about impossible. Menus had very few items that I would even consider and servers had no idea when I would bring up the gluten issue. Luckily we drove down and our room had a kitchenette so I had brought food -- otherwise I would have been out of luck and very hungry. The only saving grace was the TESCO relatively nearby so I could pick up a few things I knew were safe. We have time for two more trips before we return to the States and I'm only going someplace I KNOW can handle the gluten-free diet with relative ease -- I'm voting Italy and Ireland!

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We're winding down our time in Europe and took a last minute ski trip to Slovakia this past week. We weren't in Bratislava (the situation might be better there) but in the mountains at a resort and eating gluten-free was just about impossible. Menus had very few items that I would even consider and servers had no idea when I would bring up the gluten issue. Luckily we drove down and our room had a kitchenette so I had brought food -- otherwise I would have been out of luck and very hungry. The only saving grace was the TESCO relatively nearby so I could pick up a few things I knew were safe. We have time for two more trips before we return to the States and I'm only going someplace I KNOW can handle the gluten-free diet with relative ease -- I'm voting Italy and Ireland!

Before we hit Slovakia we picked up lots of supplies. We did not eat out much there - sorry it was so hard! Have you been to Croatia? I find it to be quite a lot easier than Slovakia. Slovenia is ok, too. Parts of Croatia (esp. Istria) do tons of grilling fresh fish and not much deep frying (none at good restaurants).

Man, I love central and eastern Europe - the further east I go the happier I am. Have not been to Romania or Hungary yet but really want to.

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Before we hit Slovakia we picked up lots of supplies. We did not eat out much there - sorry it was so hard! Have you been to Croatia? I find it to be quite a lot easier than Slovakia. Slovenia is ok, too. Parts of Croatia (esp. Istria) do tons of grilling fresh fish and not much deep frying (none at good restaurants).

Man, I love central and eastern Europe - the further east I go the happier I am. Have not been to Romania or Hungary yet but really want to.

I haven't been to Croatia...it is on the list of places I want to visit but we're running out of time and available school vacations! I think the closer you are to the Mediterranean the easier it is to eat gluten-free -- the cuisine is just more naturally tilted to fresh and gluten free (Greece was super-easy with lots of amazing grilled fish and yummy veggie dishes...)

I'm in Poland and flour and gluten are EVERYWHERE! Seriously...for example all ground meats in the stores have gluten as do most sausages and bacon, and I have yet to find lunch meats or hot dogs that do not contain gluten. And that is just the tip of the iceberg -- I really wanted some garbanzo beans but couldn't find any dry ones (not a popular item) at the two supermarkets I checked and the canned ones all included 'natural flavors' with no way of easily contacting the companies to check to see what exactly those flavors were! Plus a lot of the "gluten free" products here contain gluten free wheat flour (starch) -- I have a full on reaction to that stuff so am rather limited. At least I can find some Schar items at some of the 'natural' food stores here. Honestly I am ready to return to the States where shopping will be a bit easier and I'll have a few more options!

As for Hungary, we visited Budapest in August 2010 and loved it. It is an amazing city, and I highly recommend it. This was before my Celiac diagnosis so I honestly can't speak to how easy it would be to eat out gluten-free. Just don't go in July and August because it gets HOT and nothing is air-conditioned. I almost passed out in the Museum of Applied Arts because the center court is covered in glass and it raises the temperature to out-of-control levels. Or at least it did the day we were there!

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I haven't been to Croatia...it is on the list of places I want to visit but we're running out of time and available school vacations! I think the closer you are to the Mediterranean the easier it is to eat gluten-free -- the cuisine is just more naturally tilted to fresh and gluten free (Greece was super-easy with lots of amazing grilled fish and yummy veggie dishes...)

I'm in Poland and flour and gluten are EVERYWHERE! Seriously...for example all ground meats in the stores have gluten as do most sausages and bacon, and I have yet to find lunch meats or hot dogs that do not contain gluten. And that is just the tip of the iceberg -- I really wanted some garbanzo beans but couldn't find any dry ones (not a popular item) at the two supermarkets I checked and the canned ones all included 'natural flavors' with no way of easily contacting the companies to check to see what exactly those flavors were! Plus a lot of the "gluten free" products here contain gluten free wheat flour (starch) -- I have a full on reaction to that stuff so am rather limited. At least I can find some Schar items at some of the 'natural' food stores here. Honestly I am ready to return to the States where shopping will be a bit easier and I'll have a few more options!

As for Hungary, we visited Budapest in August 2010 and loved it. It is an amazing city, and I highly recommend it. This was before my Celiac diagnosis so I honestly can't speak to how easy it would be to eat out gluten-free. Just don't go in July and August because it gets HOT and nothing is air-conditioned. I almost passed out in the Museum of Applied Arts because the center court is covered in glass and it raises the temperature to out-of-control levels. Or at least it did the day we were there!

I agree that it certainly is true that the closer you are to the Med the easier it is. We have a house in Istria, Croatia (a traditional old stone renovated house with blue shutters) and have found that we can forage for so much (i.e. all kinds of herbs, juniper berries, nuts, fruit, fennel) and want to get to know the mushrooms, too. And the sea is so close that we can go buy fresh fish and seafood from the boats.

Poland definitely sounds challenging. And we don't travel anywhere in July and August - I do not function well in heat nor do I like the crowds.

When do you return to the U.S.?

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I agree that it certainly is true that the closer you are to the Med the easier it is. We have a house in Istria, Croatia (a traditional old stone renovated house with blue shutters) and have found that we can forage for so much (i.e. all kinds of herbs, juniper berries, nuts, fruit, fennel) and want to get to know the mushrooms, too. And the sea is so close that we can go buy fresh fish and seafood from the boats.

Poland definitely sounds challenging. And we don't travel anywhere in July and August - I do not function well in heat nor do I like the crowds.

When do you return to the U.S.?

Your house in Istria sounds amazing. So jealous. I think Croatia will have to wait until our next posting in Europe...Looks like Rome is up next for us vacation-wise and I can't wait! Then Scotland in late April as our daughter has never been and it is one of my husband's and mine favorite places in the world. Then we're out of time since we return to the States in late June/early July. The time will fly...

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Your house in Istria sounds amazing. So jealous. I think Croatia will have to wait until our next posting in Europe...Looks like Rome is up next for us vacation-wise and I can't wait! Then Scotland in late April as our daughter has never been and it is one of my husband's and mine favorite places in the world. Then we're out of time since we return to the States in late June/early July. The time will fly...

We adore our quaint house. It is not big but perfect for the two of us. The kitchen is so tiny that it feels like cooking in a camper but we usually cook over the fire in our outdoor kitchen (there is also a small oven out there). Our garden is so pretty and filled with roses, lavender, rosemary, figs, acacia trees and we cannot see any other buildings or anything as we face solid trees.

Anyway, you will LOVE Rome! On our first trip there we thought it would be the only one but we enjoyed it so much that we have now been there four times and each time is as amazing as the last. If you go to Rome for several days I would recommend the book called, "Secret Rome" as it contains many things that you would not otherwise notice such as a significant little statue here or a pillar there. But only if you are there for quite awhile as there is so much to see there. The Pantheon is my favourite thing. It is 2,000 years old but looks like it was built last week.

I, too, love Scotland. It will be so nice for you to see it through your daughter's eyes! All the majestic castles, beautiful scenery, history, culture...an incredible place.

Have a fantastic time on your travels! :)

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