The finish line......and the beginning of my Slovak Adventure

Bratislava Travel Blog

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Driving down the highway in Austria......what the ???

Soon I was crossing the border into Austria. The border stations were still up, this many years later….surprising. You have to slow to a crawl but, you just continue through.

I have a soft spot for Austria and having another opportunity to drive across it was wonderful. I keep passing Melk Abbey, on my list of musts, but haven’t had the chance to see it. Maybe on my return journey, I can stop.

Among the rolling green hills and valleys with colorful villages with the prerequisite church steeple, I came upon a strange sight. In my rearview mirror, I thought I saw …….a 4-wheeler, all terrain vehicle…..surely not. Then it passed me as I am traveling at 135 kph…..and going fast. He was insane, weaving between the other cars. I don’t know how he didn’t flip over.

Croosing the finish line....and the beginning, crossing the Danube into Bratislava's old town
The thing that was even more insane was that it had a license plate on it. I am quite surprised that the Austrians allow this but…..I guess there must be a redneck in the transportation department.

Soon I was entering the outskirts of Vienna ( a personal fav ) and as I crested a hill, I could see the whole city as it lay before me…!

Leaving Vienna, I was faced with such a cool sign. I will miss such trivial things……the highway sign before me was pointing the way to Bratislava, Slovakia , Prague, Czech Republic , and Budapest, Hungary. I never tire of seeing such things. It gives me goose bumps!

As Bratislava isn’t far from Vienna…..I was fast approaching the Slovak border.

I had to change the TomTom over to the Eastern European Maps so that it would pick up Slovakia…….and the directions to the hotel.

I was a bit surprised to see the TV tower, so quickly but….It’s only about 30 minutes between the two cities. Then I saw the castle and it’s fresh coat of paint. I’ve never had this perspective on the city. I’ve always taken the train.

The train trip takes you though some really rough parts of the city, where the highway journey into the center really give you “the treatment”. You see the good and the amazing. It was nice to have a different perspective on this place that I enjoy so much.

I was so excited, I realized that I was crossing the new (UFO) bridge, which I have never been on. The view it affords you of Bratislava is one of history and beauty.

Cup from Orava region ULUV purchase
You have the ancient, the old, and the new, all in front of you. It seems they are there for your inspection.

Traffic was not rough but, steady as it was 5 pm and I was trying to decipher the directions to the hotel. After a couple of tries on my own, and getting no where, I go out of my car (on the right street) and went into 3 stores before finding and English speaking person. She told me that the hotel was not where it was listed but it was close (at the bottom of the hill). I found it quickly as it was only a few hundred meters away.

After checking in, I rushed to find the ULUV shop in Bratislava. They are a group that help artisans to become skilled in the arts and craft traditions of the regions of Slovakia. They then sell the products and provide income and pride for their people and the country.

Cross from Detva ULUV purchase
There are several location in Slovakia. I will have the opportunity to see a few.

Anyway, I was rushing to get to Bratislava visit their shop before it’s closing time of 6pm. I was very close (5:45pm). The shop is in the center and on one of the main streets. It is well worth your time to visit, even if you don’t purchase. Beware though… will want to leave with a treasure or two.

They showcase many of the traditions:

- embroidery

- wood crafting

- lace

- ceramics

- leather goods

- musical instruments

- dolls

- painting on glass

- traditional costumes

- metal art

- wire art

I’m sure that I’ve forgotten some things but… must visit if you are in Bratislava.

I had a very hard time deciding….

Wood carving ULUV purchase
very hard. I ended up with on piece that was the whole reason for my return and two that captured my attention.

- a carving of Constantine and a bishop and the double cross

- a cross whose design is unique to the village of Detva in Central Slovakia

- a wooden cup carved from a single block of wood, with amazing details

Feeling almost giddy from my finds, I walked back to the hotel stopping briefly for a few pics of a church and from a bridge with a view of St. Martins and the UFO bridge. The sky was clear and blue and it was warm and breezy. The city was beautiful and felt comfortable…….I like it here.

So, I made it from Amsterdam to Bratiaslava in just under 12 hours and 752 miles, averaging just over 30 mpg, all of that is startling to me!

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Driving down the highway in Austri…
Driving down the highway in Austr…
Croosing the finish line....and th…
Croosing the finish line....and t…
Cup from Orava region 

ULUV pur…
Cup from Orava region ULUV pu…
Cross from Detva 
ULUV purchase
Cross from Detva ULUV purchase
Wood carving
ULUV purchase
Wood carving ULUV purchase
Austria near Melk Abbey
Austria near Melk Abbey
Approaching Vienna
Approaching Vienna
One of the simple ordinary things …
One of the simple ordinary things…
Approaching Bratislava
Approaching Bratislava
Bratislava Old Town
Bratislava Old Town
Bratislava Castle
Bratislava Castle
View from my window
View from my window
photo by: EmyG