Tricky Words in this week's OVI
I have translated "Rytierske slávnosti" as "Festival of Chivalry", although if you look up "rytier" in a dictionary, it will give you the English word "knight" /najt/. All these words are logically
related. "Rytier" is related to the German "Ritter", which suggests a man who rides a horse, a rider. If you add the military aspect, the armor (brnenie) and the weapons, then it means a
horse-rider who fights.
The English "knight" comes from the German "knecht", which originally meant a boy servant, then a young man serving a knight, then a (young) man-at-arms (armed with weapons) serving the king, and
finally the (young) champion who wins the queen's favor (priazeň, náklonnosť). To achieve this, the knight would have to be brave, courteous (zdvorilý) and a bit romantic, which are the qualities
of chivalry -a term derived from the French word for horse (cheval) and originally meaning "the art of horse-riding".
Having just spent the weekend in the High Tatras, including a walk around Štrba Tarn (Štrbské pleso), passing by the Kempinski Hotel, I got interested in this name (the name always comes first in
English), especially because I saw a billboard saying (writing is a permanent form of speaking) "Kempinski - hoteliers since 1897", so I started thinking that maybe there was a Kempinski Hotel at
Štrbské Pleso a hundred years ago.
Everybody tells me, however, that it's a new hotel, rebuilt out of one of the older traditional spa houses called Hviezdoslav. Never mind who the developers are; the name Kempinski was originally
Polish, meaning a person who comes from Kępno, which means a place like a little island or a little hill with trees growing on it - rather apt for the lakeside location at Štrba Tarn.