Bratislava Travel Blog› entry 11 of 34 › view all entries
Bratislava : 4/8/09
This is the first time for me into so one new country for me so far on this trip and Melinda’s third new country. On the train ride from Vienna to we shared our compartment with a Slovakian girl that is working in Germany and was traveling back home. She spoke very good English and were able to have a good chat about our countries, Europe and traveling. She was impressed that we were going to travel through Romania ; she thought it was full of scary people and said she would never travel there. When I hear people say such things I think that is even more reason to travel to such places. Sure we are all different in ways, but after many years of traveling all over Europe I have found that in the common ways we are all the same and really can see eye to eye when we strip away all the cultural context that governments and companies work so hard to instill in us. I gave her a 2002 Olympic Pin before parting ways.
The train station in Bratislava was a funky one in more than just the smell. We worked our way out and down the street heading towards the hostel. Unlike in years past I decided to use Google Earth & Maps to scout out the cities beforehand. So a lot of it looked familiar just from satellite images, but that does not even come close to actually experiencing walking down the streets. We checked into the hostel; our room is the Italy room with Italian Flag colors on the walls, posters, stickers of Italian auto makers and the like on the lockers. Since we are only staying here one night we quickly got ready and walked down into the old part of the city; stopping along the way to take pictures of a royal palace with two guards standing out front.
The rest of the day was spent walking the entire city taking in all the sights and seeing just about every square meter that one can possibly take in during a single day visit to Bratislava . We ended up at the castle that has a very good view of the city and the river Danube . The castle is under a major renovation so it is completely covered in scaffolding. We hung out up on the grounds to enjoy the nice warm sunny day and just relax. I found a recommended restaurant in my ‘Let’s Go’ book and so we set off to find this place. After walking right past it twice we finally figured out that….”You will never guess!”…Yuppp…UNDER CONSTRUCTION! There was a sign in the window but we could make neither heads nor tails of it so we just ducked into the café across the street and had some food. Melinda ordered up a cool chocolate drink that she had see on a travel special about this area. It looked way good, but it is a hot drink and by now my throat was dying for a cold drink. There are some cool statues in Bratislava ; we tracked them all down getting pictures with some and pictures of the rest. The rest of the afternoon was spent shopping in the shopping district and enjoying some gelatos in the large public squares. I picked myself up a Slovakia country patch for my pack. I have a patch from each country I have been to on my pack along with some patches from my favorite cities in Europe .
Around 17:00 we were beat and ready to head back to the hostel for a little rest before heading out for dinner. We took a back way to the hostel and walked through a run down park that had a large central fountain that was not working. While walking through this park I had a very strange feeling of the “Communist Pride” that the city planners must have had when building this park and how grand it must have been. This feeling was countered by the larger modern building in the distance with a large banner draped over it with a large Euro coin on it. Slovakia just adopted the Euro at the beginning of this year.
Traffic here is unreal; I would not want to drive here! The evening rush was on and cars were backed up for blocks.
After a short rest at the hostel we headed back into the city to eat at the 1 Bratislava Pub. We wanted some traditional food and a good atmosphere, we found it here. The food is so cheap over here it is unreal!! We had our meal, a few drinks and desert before walking back to the hostel in the dark. By the time we made it back to the hostel we both fell into bed dead from the day. As Melinda put it…”We walked the hell out of this place!”
Dobru noc from Bratislava ....