Transport for London decided to extend the new East London line to Bratislava...
23rd July 2007
Slovakia (euro trip part 7)
Current mood: Shocked
Category: Travel and Places
We arrived at our hostel on a tram which, like Vienna, allowed us the pleasure of not paying the fare which was blinding cos I hate paying for public transport.
You know they say back in London public transport is the most expensive in Europe. They're right of course, though it's not so much cos of London Transport charging an arm and a leg but cos travelling elsewhere in Europe without paying is easy. I recommend it to all of you whoever makes their way out there to the Eastern Bloc, only don't mention my name when you do finally get caught and banged up in a prison with no human rights.
Del trains for Londons 2012 Olympic Diving Team - he drowned soon after this photo was taken...
Back to Bratislava now. I read in the Lonely Planet Guide that once you come out of the station your first intake of Bratislava is that the place is a bit shite, which it was, and upon seeing our hostel made the hostel in Tarantino's movie seem like a 5 star Hilton.
Okay maybe I'm making a slight exaggeration here, but a 3 star Hilton at least. But what of Bratislava I hear you ask? Well, after the initial intake I can place my hand on my eyebrow and honestly say the place is great. In fact Bratislava was such a hidden gem we decided to stay longer and travel round the country a bit to see what else was there. As for now and Bratislava, right then, off I go blowing this so called myth of Slovakia being a pants place. When you're serving up good meals that cost between 2 to 3 quid, you've definitely got my vote. And that's not even mentioning the beers from only 55p, which I've now just mentioned come to think of it. And who says Whetherspoon's 2 meals for £6.50 is a good deal? For sights there's the ironically named Bratislava castle, ironically named cos it coincidently happens to be in a city called Bratislava and above all, and (this site completely and unashamedly made me cream my pants) we stumbled across our very first Tesco on our travels.
Oh boy did we take advantage of that one and I'm surprised I didn't meet my ma' in there and all.
Slovakian genetic scientists suceed in cross-breeding a local tram with a London Route Master...
As I mentioned before, the hostel we were staying in was a load of elephant turd and thus it was only inevitable that the next morning we packed our backpacks and headed to Backpackers Hostel. It was well nice it was, with a great garden, clean interior and staying was the odd person we had already met on our travels, but fuck me if I didn't get the shock of my life when I clapped eyes on this fucking monster of a dog that was taking up residency there. Bloody massive it was with a head like a dinosaur and no doubt probably shat out small children twice a day. You guys would really have to see this lump with guts shovelled into it to believe it. We later learnt there was also a cat residing at the hostel but bugger us if we ever saw it which wasn't surprising, it's bad enough sharing a place with a dog never mind having to put up with Frankendog.
The next day then we found ourselves bunking the tram and heading towards a lake that allowed us to go for a swim – or a bath depending on which way you looked at it. And what a big lake it was too, with this big island out in the middle which I was going to attempt to swim out to but decided against it cos in all probability I would have drowned, and that's the sort of thing that could completely ruin my trip.
So it was that we hired out one of those pedalo things, you know, one of those water bicycles that no matter if you're pedalling like Lance Armstrong on all those performing enhancement drugs he was supposed to have taken, you still end up going wherever the current decides to take you. But nonetheless the pedalo was great fun. We managed to do pirate impressions towards other pedalos, Pirates Of The Slovakian we called it, and I also managed to do some superb swallow dives off the end of it. That's where I do a spasticated dive and end up swallowing a load of lake water.
Back at the hostel we saw a sign saying 'thinking of going Banska Stiavnica? Then blah blah blah…' talking about all sorts of crap I can't remember. As it was we were liking the country and after a quick one question and one answer session, this one being:
'Want to go to this Stiavnica place?'
we soon found ourselves buying a bus ticket out there.
Though not before I ate a very dodgy traditional Chinese cooked by Slovakians which I was to later very much regret.
After an arse numbing 3 hour bus ride we arrived at Banska Stiavnica and had to walk several hundred metres up this stupidly massive hill that would put to shame the hill used in Gloucestershire for the annual cheese rolling festival. The only conciliation of the journey was the amazing scenery of the high beautiful mountains which brought back memories of pictures I saw of Brazil on the internet. Anyroad, this was a real quiet town with such a reduced population it made me suspect there were some loose vampires flying around at night picking off the locals, though what with the recent foot and mouth outbreak on British beef I was confident the dental freaks were smart enough to pass on this meal. Anyroad, there's nothing like a local cuisine is there?
With all the travelling, having no locals to have a chinwag with, there was nothing left to do but sit down and take advantage of the cheap beers that were now costing us less than 50p a pint, the cheapest yet.
With prices like this I could picture myself back home in a Whetherspoon's pub kicking off when they try and charge me a couple of quid for a pint.
The next day we had planned to visit the local mines for Amanda to perform some Zoolander impressions whilst I was aiming to start my very own Jurassic Park empire, though I wasn't looking for stupid mossie’s trapped and preserved in amber – I was taking the shortcut way and searching for a whole dinosaur caked in the tree juice. Unfortunately you may have noticed I wrote the word 'planned', planned cos when we got the train station the train didn't leave until 2:30pm and took 6 hours to get there. Fucking hell, so much for 'local' mines, I was going to ask where the convenient store was to get some bread but thought better of it. Instead we carried on drinking but I was finding it difficult to take advantage of the great prices as the Chinese I ate in Bratislava was beginning to cause havoc with my stomach.
Soon we were on the train towards Budapest Hungary, which was tad fucking ironic cos at that point everything I ate was going right through me.
Incidentally, the toilets on the train heading towards Hungary flushed the contents out onto the track, and I couldn't help wondering how my little friend in Vienna’s train station, the toilet lady attendant, was getting on, ha ha. Boy if I had her number I could offer her a guaranteed employment for the rest of her life along that rail track.