Bratislava & The Danube
Today was mainly a travel day. I was exhausted from the day before, so I slept as long as I could, and got an early afternoon train from Munich. I had to transfer in Salzberg, Austria and then again in Vienna, in Vienna it would be from one station to another in fact, but from there it's quite close to Bratislava. My train from Munich ran about 15 minutes late. Just late enough to make me miss the connection in Salzberg. The next one was scheduled to come along in about half an hour, so that was no big deal. Anyway, that chain reaction continued, late train, missed connection, all day, and I didn't get to Bratislava until about 9:30 PM.
Man At Work sculpture
I had no reservation, or even any idea of where any hostels or hotels would be, but I figured I could always find the UFO restaurant, so I set out that way. I thought I might catch a cab or bus or something, but I just walked, a path lead me to the river, and the UFO and ultimately old town. After spending a few days earlier in Vienna, which left me speechless, and then the awe inspiring sights of Munich and Neuschwanstein, I entered Slovakia and Bratislava with some trepidation that it would just be too hard of an act to follow. But that was absolutely not the case. Bratislava was amazing!
The walk from the train station was, I don't know, maybe 30 minutes ... I wasn't really keeping a watch of what time it was. And I walked around old town for perhaps another 30 minutes looking for some place to stay, but everything was booked.
Old Town bustling
The only place I found near old town that had rooms available was a Hotel Ibis. Seeing it was around 10:30 at this point, and I didn't feel like going too far from old town, and I had stayed on (and in some cases, under) budget, I decided tonight could be the night to splurge. As it turns out, that was my most expensive hotel on the trip, but also, by far the nicest! No complaints.
Once checked in, I walked around old town more leisurely. It was a Thursday, approaching 11 PM, and there were many people sitting at tables outside cafes, restaurants and pubs. The atmosphere was just wonderful. Sculptures dotted all about old town - probably the most famous being "Man at Work". Eventually I came upon the "Slovenská filharmónia" building.
I don't suppose it was particularly better or worse looking than any of the other buildings around, but it brought up some very strong memories of planning this trip. About a year earlier, (when the extent of my planning was "Europe, next summer" and saving money from each paycheck) I was keeping in fairly regular contact with an "email pen pal" from central Slovakia - Andrea (who I was set to meet the next day). After one of her trips into Bratislava, she sent me pictures of the city. So right there, standing in front of the Slovenská filharmónia, able to touch it if I so desired, brought back memories of seeing pictures of it and thinking, hmmm, maybe I should make an attempt to see Bratislava. Well, after all that, I only got one picture of that building, and not a very good one at that.
Anyway, I ended up the night sitting outside at a restaurant on the bank of the Danube, and ordering a Zlatý Bažant (Golden Pheasant - beer), but they were out & I think I ended up with a Heineken.