Day 3: Anyone up for an adventure?
Bratislava Travel Blog› entry 5 of 14 › view all entries
We woke up in Salzburg and decided to make our way to Bratislava. We had thought we'd go to Prague first, but going to Bratislava was an easier trip, and we wouldn't spend the whole day on a train. We planned to spend the night in Bratislava and travel to Prague on Saturday.
We were on the train with a lot of students (they seemed to be 13-17 years old). It was really entertaining to observe them interacting with each other! We decided that boys will be boys no matter where they live, and girls will be girls! Teenagers are the same around the world! Boys were rough-housing with each other and picking on the girls. The girls were whispering and giggling about the boys.
We saw huge fields of windmills for generating electricity. It was an amazing sight that I had never seen before. I was actually surprised to see them there.
We got off the train in Bratislava, and I had such a weird feeling. Growing up in the Cold War, it was so strange to be in this place. I thought to myself, "Wow...I'm actually behind the Iron Curtain!" As we stopped to get a bottle of water and went to the tourist office, we also had the realization that almost no one spoke English. And those who did didn't speak it very well. Yikes!
We quickly decided that it would probably be best if we didn't stay the night in Bratislava. We didn't have previous lodging arrangements, and we decided a night train to Prague would be the best option for us.
It was really kind of sad, because we started seeing life (as you picture it in your mind) in a former Communist state. There was tenement after tenement, fraffiti on every flat surface, and no joy in the faces of the people. They just all looked so...stoic. My heart ached.
After a while, the bus stopped, and everyone got off. Even the bus driver started getting out. It was at this point we realized something was very wrong; there was no train station, no castle, no obvious tourist spots.
The bus driver (who also spoke not a word of English) managed to figure out our problem, and we managed to figure out our mistake: right bus, wrong direction! (You'd think we'd never travelled before!) So, we walked to the nearest bus stop and waited for another bus 93 (going the other way, of course) to come by. I gues you could say we got a nice tour of the city!
We got in line at the train station to get tickets for th eovernight train to Prague. We spent the next 30 minutes (at least) trying to explain to the ticket agent (who, of course, also didn't speak a word of English) that we wanted 2 1st class tickets in a sleeper on the 23:44 train to Prague. I actually started feeling really bad for her, because she was abviously getting exhasperated! We finally got our tickets, but I was not convinced we ahd a sleeper.
We decided to give it up until that night and go on into the Old Center where the castle and tourist areas were. We meandered our way down and took in the sights. The sun was starting to set, so we didn't get to go to the castle, although we got some pretty pictures from Old Centrum. There were lots of old streets and allyways in Centrum that just wound their way all over the area. It was fun just wandering and window shopping. We had some great coffee at one shop, a lovely dinner at a nice restaurant, and a yummy dessert at another cafe.
A lot of places, probably the majority, were decorated in modern style, which was strange to see in such old places. It was obviously a very popular style, though.
One of the most entertaining sights we saw was a recurring theme of bronze sculptures of a man doing various things. We found him as a Paparazzi (outside the Paparazzi Cafe), climbing out of a manhole, leaning against a bench wearing a Napolean hat, standing with a welcoming guesture, and on guard in a guardhouse! We had fun finding him!
We made our way to an internet cafe we we could email our friends and family and upload pictures. While we were there, we tried a local draft beer that the bartender suggested.
We meandered our way back to the train station where we found a ticket agent who spoke enough English to confirm my suspicion that we did not have a sleeper car but that the conductor could sell us one if there was room. Thankfully, there was. I was exhausted and immediately crashed, waking only to show my passport at the Czech border. I didn't sleep well.